Gusto vs Square Payroll

A quick and easy comparison guide

Gusto vs Square Payroll

The right payroll software ensures that you can pay your team with ease. But which provider should you go with if you’re a small business owner?

This guide explains the differences between Gusto and Square payroll so you can see exactly how these two tools overlap and differ when it comes to running payroll, managing benefits, and other back-office tasks.

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Compare pricing and features: Gusto vs Square Payroll

Square Payroll
Monthly feeStarting at $40/mo + $6/mo per person
Starting at $29/mo + $5/mo per user
Setup feeFree
Unlimited payrollsCheckmark
Automated federal and state tax filingCheckmark
Direct depositCheckmark
File W-2sCheckmark
File 1099sCheckmark
Multiple pay rates and schedulesCheckmark
Multiple statesCheckmark(Plus and Premium)
Contractor paymentsCheckmark
E-sign I-9 and W-4Checkmark
Lifetime access for employeesCheckmark
Household employer payrollX
International payrollDollar(International contractor add-on)
Health benefitsPay premiums only
Pay premiums only
Workers’ compPay premiums only
Pay premiums only
Available add-ons
  • Broker integration
  • 401(k) retirement
  • Commuter benefits
  • Life and disability
  • HSA and FSA
  • 401(k) retirement
  • Pre-tax benefit
HR tools
Time trackingCheckmark(Plus and Premium)
Team directory and org chartCheckmark(Plus and Premium)
Time-off requestsCheckmark(Plus and Premium)
Online offer lettersCheckmark
Secure document vault and e-signingCheckmark
Custom employee handbookCheckmark(Premium and HR add-on)
Job description and policy templatesCheckmark(Premium and HR add-on)
Proactive compliance updatesCheckmark(Premium and HR add-on)
Certified HR prosCheckmark(Premium and HR add-on)
Direct phone line for dedicated supportCheckmark(Premium and HR add-on)
Custom Onboarding ChecklistCheckmark(Plus and Premium)
Software ProvisioningCheckmark(Plus and Premium)
Google (G-suite) SSOCheckmark

*Competitive data on this page was collected as of June 27th, 2022 and is subject to change or update. Gusto does not make any representations as to the completeness or accuracy of the information on this page. All Gusto services listed in the payroll features comparison chart are provided by Gusto or by one of Gusto’s trusted partners.

Clipart of three people
Clipart of three people

What to consider when choosing a payroll provider?

  • Think about the size of your team.

    You might find a payroll company that can help you pay your team today—but what happens if you bring on more employees and contractors? Choose a payroll service that works for your business today, and one that can scale as you expand and your payroll gets more complex.

  • Consider what’s included in the price.

    Many payroll platforms offer additional features for growing businesses, but you might have to go beyond your budget to get more. When you run a small business, you need a payroll platform that doesn’t cram hidden fees into every small upgrade you make.

  • Take the switch into account.

    Transferring payroll data between different software platforms can be a huge task. The best payroll services make the migration process easy and guide you through each step. When shopping for payroll, ask your sales representative about their data migration capabilities.

  • Ask about integration with other software platforms.

    It’s important to double-check that your payroll service integrates with other software that tracks expenses, time off requests, and other essential tasks you’ll need.

  • Make sure you can get help when you need it.

    Before finalizing your payroll decision, check if you get free access to a support team and knowledge base. Verify the company’s business hours for phone, email, and live chat support, along with the links to their help center and FAQ pages.

Comparison details: Gusto vs Square Payroll


Setup and monthly fees

Gusto is completely free to get started. The base fee is a straightforward $40 per month, plus an additional $6 per month for each employee on your team. Read more about our four plans and current promotions.

Square Payroll costs $29 per month as its base fee, plus a monthly fee of $5 per employee.

Gusto Square Payroll
Monthly feeStarting at $40/mo. + $6/mo. per userStarting at $29/mo. + $5/mo. per user
Set up feeFreeFree
Create account


Running payroll

With Gusto, you can run payroll in just a few clicks. You can manage payroll for all types of workers, including W-2 employees and 1099 contractors. Set up AutoPilot to run payroll automatically, which makes a simple task even easier to manage. We don’t have a limit to the number of payrolls you can run each month—whether you’re the only employee or have a team of 100, we’ve got you covered.

Square also allows you to set up and run payroll for employees and contractors. Direct deposit and paper check options are available as well.

Tax filings

Gusto automatically calculates, files, and pays your payroll taxes every time you pay your team. With coverage in all 50 states, you can run payroll compliantly no matter where your employees report to work. Federal, state, and local taxes are all covered.

Square works similarly to Gusto, calculating filings automatically for federal and state taxes. However, they do not cover local taxes like Gusto.

GustoSquare Payroll
Unlimited Payrolls
File 1099’s


Employee benefits

We have more than 3,500 health insurance plans for your employees to choose from. Each plan comes from highly regarded insurance companies like BlueCross BlueShield, Humana, and United Healthcare. Our online dashboard allows you to easily administer all your employees’ plans from one place. We don’t charge any administration fees to enroll in health benefits–you’ll only pay the premiums.

Health insurance isn’t the only benefit we offer. Gusto also provides financial perks like 401(k) retirement plans and commuter benefits. Learn more about pricing for benefits.

Square offers similar benefits beyond payroll, including health insurance, workers’ compensation, 401(k) plans, and pre-tax benefits through Alice.

Financial benefits

Gusto Cashout™ lets your employees borrow money in between paydays, interest-free. This free benefit from Gusto helps your team cover unexpected financial hardships without worry, and without impacting your books. Square Payroll does not offer this type of financial benefit.

GustoSquare Payroll
Health benefitsPay premiums onlyPay premiums only
Workers’ compPay premiums onlyPay premiums only

The Cashout Program is issued by Sunrise Banks, N.A., Member FDIC. The Sunrise Banks, N.A. Privacy Policy can be found here.

HR tools

Team management

Gusto’s Plus and Premium plans include access to simple time tracking tools to help you track your employees’ hours and time off requests. Those plans also include team management features like anonymous employee surveys, which allow you to collect feedback from your team and use the results to take action.

Square Payroll offers a time tracking tool called Timecards, which enables employees to track their hours worked. Tracked time can be viewed, edited, and deleted as needed by a manager.

Customer service

Support team

At Gusto, we offer best-in-class customer support. Our support teams are available by phone, email, and live chat Monday through Friday. We also have an FAQ and Help Center, available at any time.

Square Payroll offers a payroll-specific FAQ page which answers the most common questions about the platform, plus live chat and phone support.


Integration capabilities

Our payroll software easily integrates with other platforms. Gusto supports almost all accounting, point of sale (POS), business operations, expense management, and time tracking platforms, including Accelo, Homebase, Expensify, Intuit QuickBooks, and FreshBooks. View our complete list of compatible platforms.

list of software integration logos

Square offers product integrations with several platforms like Homebase and QuickBooks.

*Competitive data on this page was collected as of June 27th, 2022 and is subject to change or update. Gusto does not make any representations as to the completeness or accuracy of the information on this page. All Gusto services listed in the payroll features comparison chart are provided by Gusto or by one of Gusto’s trusted partners.

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