Payroll by Wave

A complete review of Payroll by Wave, including pricing, comparisons to other payroll solutions, and frequently asked questions.

Updated on November 16th, 2021

The SMB Guide is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Updates:

Updated 28th of October 2021

We've updated our article with an in-depth review and comparisons to top payroll software competitors.

Payroll by Wave is a web-based payroll software created for small business owners. The software was designed to help small business owners simplify and automate payroll processes while remaining compliant with taxes and deductions. This is an additional service that is only available in the U.S. and Canada.

Also Consider

Gusto Payroll Software

Get 1 month of Gusto FREE!

Start Free Trial

No extra fees.

Made for mobile.

Auto tax filing and digital paystubs.

Pricing:

Plan

Pricing

Tax Service States*

$35.00 /mo. + $6.00 /active employee or $6.00 /independent contractor paid.

Self Service States

$20.00 /mo. + $6.00 /active employee or $6.00 /independent contractor paid.

Canadian Territories (Except Quebec)

$20.00 /mo. + $6.00 /active employee or $6.00 /independent contractor paid.

*Tax service states include Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.

Review:

While Wave's main product is the free accounting platform, Payroll by Wave is a paid, mid-tier solution that comes loaded with standard features like automatic payments and multi-state filing. Although Payroll by Wave lacks the flexibility of different payroll schedules, it is still a budget-friendly solution for small businesses.

Pros:

  • Payroll by Wave offers some nice-to-have features like contractor payments and new hire reporting.
  • The site features an employee portal where employees can access their pay stubs and tax forms.
  • Users can view detailed payroll reports.
  • Employers can generate 1099 and W-2 tax forms and make use of automatic tax filing.
  • The platform features timesheets to track time and attendance for payroll purposes.
  • Payroll will automatically integrate with Wave Accounting, Invoicing, and Payments.
  • The site offers live chat and email support, as well as advisors for tax filing help.

Cons:

  • The site cannot handle multiple pay rates or flexible payroll scheduling.
  • Wave doesn't handle reimbursements or garnishments.
  • Users will have difficulty running off-cycle payrolls.
  • There is no phone support.

Reputation:

Wave Financial Inc. is an accredited business with the Better Business Bureau and has an A+ rating from the company. However, Wave has received a customer review rating of 1.65 out of 5 stars on BBB, based on 20 customer reviews. These reviews cite withheld payments on invoices and suspended accounts as reasons for the negative reviews.

A total of 10 customer reviews on TrustRadius for Payroll by Wave shows an average rating of 8.8 out of 10 stars. These mostly positive reviews praise the platform's simple UX, good pricing, and customer support.

G2 shows 20 customer reviews of Payroll by Wave with an average rating of 4.3 out of 5 stars. Positive reviewers have enjoyed the platform's easy integrations and the simplified payroll process. Some negative points mentioned are the two-step process of paying 1099 contractors and the lack of international payrolls.

At-a-Glance:

Feature

Payroll by Wave

Price

$20.00 /mo. + $6.00 /active employee or $6.00 /independent contractor paid.

Integrations

Wave Accounting, Invoicing, and Payments

Pay 1099 Contractors

E-Signatures

x

Digital Paystubs

Payroll By Wave Vs Gusto Comparison
Payroll by Wave vs. Gusto:

With a base price of $39.00 per month, Gusto is the costlier option compared to Wave's base price of $20.00 or $30.00. Gusto is a quality, reliable software, as is Wave, but Gusto features multi-state payroll functions, automatic net-to-gross calculations, and lifetime accounts for employees, which Payroll by Wave lacks.

Payroll by Wave vs. Gusto Comparison:

Feature

Payroll by Wave

Gusto

Price

$20.00 /mo. + $6.00 /active employee or $6.00 /independent contractor paid.

$39.00 /mo. + $6.00 /employee.

Employee portal

Automatic tax filing

✓ (Tax service states)

Compliance assistance

x

Dedicated support

Live chat and email support.

Online and phone support.

Payroll By Wave Vs Quickbooks Comparison
Payroll by Wave vs. QuickBooks Payroll:

QuickBooks Payroll is more expensive than Payroll by Wave, with a starting base price of $45.00 per month, compared to Payroll by Wave's $20.00 base price. Both QuickBooks Payroll and Payroll by Wave lack compliance management, but Payroll by Wave features a detailed employee portal, which QuickBooks Payroll lacks.

Payroll by Wave vs. QuickBooks Payroll Comparison:

Feature

Payroll by Wave

QuickBooks Payroll

Price

$20.00 /mo. + $6.00 /active employee or $6.00 /independent contractor paid.

$45.00 /mo. + $4.00 /employee.

Employee portal

Automatic tax filing

✓ (Tax service states)

Compliance assistance

x

Dedicated support

Live chat and email support.

Online and phone support.

Payroll By Wave Vs Zenefits Comparison
Payroll by Wave vs. Zenefits:

Zenefits is one of our top choices for payroll services as they offer a wide range of services for an affordable price. They feature lifetime accounts and expense integrations and federal R&D tax credits, which Payroll by Wave lacks. Zenefits is also more affordable than Payroll by Wave, with a base monthly price of $10.00 compared to $20.00.

Payroll by Wave vs. Zenefits Comparison:

Feature

Payroll by Wave

Zenefits

Price

$20.00 /mo. + $6.00 /active employee or $6.00 /independent contractor paid

$10.00 /mo. + $6.00 /employee

Employee portal

Automatic tax filing

✓ (Tax service states)

Compliance assistance

x

Dedicated support

Live chat and email support.

Phone, email, chat, and online support.

Key Information:

Legal Name

Wave Financial Inc.

Founder

Kirk Simpson

Founding Date

Jan 01, 2009

Address

235 Carlaw Ave, Ste. 501, Toronto, ON M4M 2S1 Canada

Number of Employees

250

Number of Customers

3000000

Email

support@waveapps.com

Telephone

1 (416) 521-9141

Website

https://www.waveapps.com/

FAQs:

Can I do payroll with Wave?

Yes, Wave offers a web-based payroll software.

What does Wave Payroll cost?

Payroll by Wave's pricing starts from a $20.00 base fee per month plus $6.00 per active employee or $6.00 per independent contractor paid.

Is payroll free with Wave?

No, Payroll by Wave is a paid service.

Does Wave do 1099?

Yes, Payroll by Wave generates 1099 tax forms.

What are some Payroll by Wave alternatives?