Payroll is an absolutely crucial business process, and because it’s often complex and tedious many entrepreneurs rely on a professional payrollser ...
Breadth of Services
Help and Support
Ease of Use
Written by: Natalie Fell
Natalie is a writer with experience in operations, HR, and training & development within the software, healthcare, and financial services sectors.
Reviewed by: Daniel Eisner
Daniel Eisner is a payroll specialist with over a decade of practical experience in senior accounting positions.
Updated on July 14, 2023
If you’re starting a business and hiring employees, mastering payroll is likely to be one of your first major hurdles. Dealing with payroll is often quite complex and time-consuming, which is why many entrepreneurs turn to a professional payroll service.
Payroll providers handle the entire payroll process for you, making it nearly seamless and automated while offering additional services so that you can focus on building a successful business.
One of the top options is Square Payroll. But is it the best service? And is it the right choice for you? This review takes a closer look — putting ourselves in the shoes of an entrepreneur — to help you determine whether this is the payroll service that will keep your business on the road to success.
Breadth of Services
Help and Support
Ease of Use
Square Payroll is part of Square, Inc., known for their merchant payment services and an established and respected corporation. Square Payroll offers full payroll services, including withholding and payroll tax filings.
Square Payroll is one of the few payroll companies that have a plan for paying contractors only. Many competitors offer payments to contractors in their payroll plans, but you have to pay the same price as their employee payroll plans.
Square Payroll offers two different service levels, one for employees and contractors, and one for contractors only. We explored all of the options, as detailed below.
|Employees and contractors||Contractors only|
|Unlimited pay runs||✓|
|Full service payroll||✓|
|Automatic payroll tax calculations||✓|
|All tax filings and payment||✓|
|Live support for account setup||✓|
|Time cards and employee app||✓|
|Track and import tips and commissions||✓|
|Check, direct deposit, or CashApp||✓||✓|
|U.S. based customer support||✓||✓|
|Free seasonal inactivity||✓||✓|
The Square Pay Employee and Contractor plan allows you to pay both employees and contractors, and takes care of payroll tax filings and payment.
The Square Payroll Employee and Contractor plan offers full service payroll for your employees, as well as payments to contractors, which is not something that all payroll services support.
They also mail in your 1099s and W-2s and take care of federal, state, and local tax filings and payment. The plan is a fairly good value compared to similar competitor services.
The Contractor Only plan allows you to pay all your contractors at only $5 per person paid per month.
If you just want to pay contractors, this plan, which is rare in the industry, allows you to pay them for $5 a month per person paid. You can pay by direct deposit, paper check, or CashApp.
The plan also includes the mailing of your 1099s.This plan is a great value, and not offered by most competitors.
The payroll service offers a complete suite of services to take many tasks off your plate, such as federal, state, and local tax filings, and your W-2s and contractor 1099s.
You also have the option of paying employees by direct deposit, paper check, or CashApp.
The payroll process is complex, so using Square Payroll can save you considerable time and ensure that you are in compliance at all levels.
The site is user-friendly. The plans are easy to find, with good detail on features and pricing. You can even get more information on each individual service. It’s laid out well and easy to understand.
Once you view the plans, you can select one to get started.
Once you make your selection you’ll enter your name, email, and a password.
Then you’ll go through a series of questions about your business, starting with your business name and type, business address, and number of employees.
Once you enter all the information, your account setup is complete and you’re taken to your dashboard.
To start the service, you’ll enter tax information, employee details, and bank account information. The whole process was quite simple and streamlined.
We received a welcome email within a few minutes of signing up.
Square Payroll has a mobile app for employers, where you can manage your payroll, import hours, and view the details of your account including tax filings. They also have an app for employees to clock in and clock out, manage their schedule, and view earnings.
Both apps are convenient and offer more than some competitors.
Square Payroll offers the following instructions for closing your account and cancelling:
“You can pause or close your Square Payroll account at any time, but it’s important to note – closing your Square Payroll account is irreversible. After your Square Payroll account is closed, you will not be able to pay employees or contractors with this account again.”
Follow the steps below to close your Square Payroll account:
The site is quite user-friendly overall, and information is easy to find. If you have all your information handy, you can complete the signup and start the service within about 30 minutes. The site does not try to upsell you any products during the process.
We tested all three forms of Square Payroll customer support.
The chat feature on the site is automated and just gives you various topics to choose from to get more information. It was not very helpful. However, you can type in “contact” and it will take you to a form on which you can ask your question.
“Do you offer the option of direct deposit or paper checks with your payroll service?”
We asked the question early on Friday afternoon and by Monday midday we had still not received a response.
The only way we could find a phone number for Square was through the automated chat feature. When you type in “contact” it gives you the option of email or phone contact. When you select phone, it gives you the number.
We were on hold for about one minute before our call was answered. We asked the same question about paper check and direct deposit options. The representative had to put us on hold while she checked on the answer. It took less than 30 seconds for her to come back on the line and tell us that yes, both are available. She was very friendly and professional.
There is no email support other than the form we filled out to get an email response when we tested the chat feature.
To understand how real Square Payroll customers feel about the service, we examined customer reviews at the Better Business Bureau and Trust Pilot.
Square, Inc., the parent company of Square Payroll, has an A+ rating from the BBB with 1.08/5 stars in 499 customer reviews. They have been an accredited BBB business since 2021. They have received 5,162 complaints in three years, all of which have a closed status.
Square offers many financial services in addition to payroll, so the reviews are about all of their services. We scanned all the reviews and were unable to find any focused on payroll.
You can read reviews on the BBB website.
**The Better Business Bureau is a private nonprofit that uses an A+ through F grading system to rate BBB’s degree of confidence that the business operates in good faith and will work to resolve customer issues and complaints filed with the BBB. BBB accreditation means that the business has undergone vetting and been approved and now pays dues to ensure its good standing with the BBB and gain use of the BBB logo in marketing materials. Over the years, several businesses have complained that the BBB gave them a poor letter grade, such as a D or F, largely because they refused to pay the fee to become an accredited member. Thus, these ratings should probably be taken with a grain of salt.
The Trustpilot score for Square is 4.3/5 stars, out of 3,482 reviews.
Square Payroll reviews at Trustpilot break down as follows:
We scoured the reviews and could not find any positive ones about the payroll service. We did find a few negative reviews.
“Don’t use the Payroll service from Square! Horrible! Support is terrible. First off they don’t handle 501(c)3 organization tax exemptions. Secondly the reports are incorrect on PTO time paid. First I was told to wait until 8 PM when payroll is done syncing. I did and called back and now I’m being told I have to wait until June 7th. Huh??? Federal WH is not being calculated even though employee W-4 data is filled in.”
“square payroll sucks.. they have NO customer service what so ever.. you try to call you get automated crap for 20 minutes only to get to wrong department. when you finally get someone on phone they can’t help and say someone from “another dept” will call back but they never do. I have not been able to run payroll for my employees and half quit because of it. STAY FAR AWAY FROM SQUARE PAYRLL!!!!!!!”
You can read reviews on the TrustPilot website.
Overall, Square Payroll’s services offer advantages and drawbacks, as detailed below.
Square, Inc. was founded in 2009, and is now Block, Inc. They employ more than 8,500 people and take in more than $17 billion in annual revenue. Square is best known for its point of sale merchant services.
Patriot Payroll has similar offerings and their pricing is nearly the same as Square. Patriot has a bit better customer service and also has an A+ rating with the BBB, though their customer review score is low.
SurePayroll also has similar offerings and is slightly less expensive than Square. Both offer a solid customer experience. SurePayroll also has an A+ rating with the BBB, but a low customer review score.
Gusto is a more expensive option, but its plans include more HR services and employee benefits. Gusto, however, has an F rating with the BBB.
We take our responsibilities seriously. We understand that countless entrepreneurs, and business owners, rely on our judgments and insights, particularly when it comes to creating their business.
As a result, our writers do their utmost to gain a comprehensive understanding of the services offered and the actual customer experience. In this case, we:
Thanks to this full immersion in the actual customer experience, our reviewer and team are able to provide the most complete and insightful review of Square payroll services.
Overall, we were pleased with our Square Payroll experience. The site is easy to use, information is readily available, and sign up is fast.
Their customer service is a little lacking, as they don’t have live chat support and we did not receive an email response when we asked a question via their site. The customer service phone representative, however, was prompt and polite.
Square Payroll’s services are a good value compared to competitors, even though we were unable to find any positive customer feedback. Based on our thorough research and broad experience, we recommend Square Payroll to business owners.
Payroll providers handle the payroll process for you, making it nearly seamless and automated while offering additional services that make life easy for a business owner. Square Payroll takes care of all the red tape so you can focus on your business.
Square Payroll focuses on payroll only and does not offer hiring and onboarding tools.
Benefits administration is not included in the plans offered by Square Payroll but can be added at an additional cost.