Top 401k Providers for Startups and Small Businesses - March 2021

The best 401k solutions along with key features, benefits, recommendations, and more.

Author Phil Strazzulla, HR Tech Expert, Harvard MBA, Finance and Software Nerd
Phil Strazzulla,HR Tech Expert, Harvard MBA, Finance and Software Nerd - Oct 15, 2021

If you run a startup, offering a retirement plan as part of your employee benefits package is a good way to attract and retain top talent, especially in today's increasingly challenging job market.

  • 88% of employees say a 401(k) is a must-have benefit when looking for a job.
  • 76% of workers who are offered a 401(k) retirement plan participate in it.
  • 6 in 10 workers (62%) are likely to switch to a nearly identical job if it offers a “retirement plan/a better retirement plan.” It’s important to note that this study found flight risk to be greatest among millennials as 71% of them shared that sentiment.

While the benefits of offering 401(k) plans to employees are many, administering those plans is fairly complex. Companies can easily set themselves up for penalties and audits if they don’t follow all the rules and requirements set in place by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Department of Labor (DOL). 

To reduce your liability and streamline the administration of your retirement benefits, you may want to consider adding a 401k solution to your HR Tech stack. This guide is meant to help your team pick the right 401(k) solution for your business while avoiding the relevant pitfalls.

We spend hundreds of hours researching the best HR and recruiting software so you don’t have to.  We never take money from vendors during our research phase and rely heavily on practitioners and experts to help us recommend the right software.  However we may earn a fee if you click on vendor links on this page.

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A Quick Breakdown: Top 401k Software

ForUsAll is a great choice for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) because it is very quick to set up and quite affordable.
401GO is comprehensive but also extremely affordable; it charges up $9 per participate per month without any base fee, administration fees, filing fee or compliance fee.
Human Interest is a scalable platform that works for both small businesses and large operations. It’s also quick to set up and offers transparent pricing.
Guideline is one of the biggest vendors in this space. It is robust, comprehensive and easy to use. Its low fees are also a bonus.
What sets Betterment apart is that it isn't just a 401(k) platform, it offers holistic advice across all saving and investing goals.
Ubiquity is very quick to set up. Any company can create an account and have it ready for use in as little as 15 minutes.
Paychex is an integrated platform that covers a great deal of HR needs. Having payroll and retirement benefits be managed on a single platform makes things a whole lot easier for businesses, especially small ones.

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Hours Researched
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Experts Consulted
14
Vendors Reviewed

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Top 401k Software Solutions for Startups and Small Businesses

We track thousands of HR Tech solutions. Here are the best 401k Providers as of March 2021

Guideline

Review

Guideline is a full-service, user-friendly and affordable 401(k) platform. Offering both traditional and Roth 401(k) and acting as your 3(16) and 3(38) fiduciary, Guideline takes care of all your retirement plan needs from administration, investment management, compliance testing, and recordkeeping.

When it comes to investments, Guideline offers 40+ index funds including Vanguard funds and ones from other low-cost providers. Alternatively, participants can choose a managed portfolio with blended average fund fees under 0.07%.

Guideline

Stats

  • Used by over 10,000 small companies
  • 95% customer satisfaction score
  • Syncs with 180 payroll solutions

Guideline

Pricing

Guideline offers two pricing plans:

  • Startup: $39 per month (base fee) + $8 per participant 
  • Prime: $99 per month (base fee) + $8 per participant

Best For

Small businesses looking to offer or enhance the administration of their employee retirement benefits.

Worth Checking Out:

Betterment

Review

Betterment is a cloud-based financial and investment advisory platform with 3(16) and 3(38) support. It gives personalized, fiduciary advice for retirement planning, wealth building, and other financial goals so participants can invest wisely and make the most returns. Employers can use Betterment for Business to offer Traditional 401(k), Roth 401(k), Safe Harbor plans, and profit-sharing plans.

Betterment

Stats

  • 16% higher contribution rate
  • $20 billion in assets
  • 460,000+ investors

Betterment

Pricing

Betterment offers two pricing plans:

  • Standard: $42 per month (base fee) + $4 per participant 
  • Premium: $125 per month (base fee) + $4 per participant

Best For

Small and medium sized businesses looking to offer or enhance the administration of their employee retirement benefits.

Worth Checking Out:

ForUsAll

Review

ForUsAll is a cloud-based 401(k) administration platform for small and medium-sized businesses. Acting as both your 3(38) and 3(16) fiduciary, ForUsAll ensures you stay compliant while automating manual tasks such as contributions, 401(k) loans, eligibility tracking, hardships, and notifications. You can integrate ForUsAll with most cloud-based payroll systems for an automatic synchronization of your data. Payroll integration also allows it to automatically update deferrals, notify new participants when they become eligible, and more.

ForUsAll

Stats

  • 43% average saved on 401(k) fees
  • $5MM compliance guarantee
  • 85% average participation rate

ForUsAll

Pricing

ForUsAll’s pricing is not disclosed on their website. However, you may use their price calculator to get an estimate according to the size of your team and scope of your needs.

Best For

Worth Checking Out:

401GO

Review

401GO makes 401k administration easy and efficient with its automated and comprehensive platform for businesses of all sizes. Acting as your 3(16) and 3(38) fiduciary, 401GO handles everything from record-keeping, notifications, compliance testing, and day to day administration.

401GO

Stats

  • 8 minutes setup time

401GO

Pricing

401GO has two pricing plans:

  • Basic: costs $9 per month per participating employee. This plan is designed for companies with fewer than 50 employees or new startup plans.
  • PLUS: costs $5-9 per month per participating employee. This is designed for larger businesses (50+ employees), existing 401k plans, or those with more complex needs.

Best For

Small businesses looking to offer or enhance the administration of their employee retirement benefits.

Worth Checking Out:

Human Interest

Review

Human Interest is a comprehensive, affordable, and scalable 401(k) provider made for growing businesses. It offers Traditional and Roth 401(k)s, 403(b)s, Safe Harbor plans, and profit-sharing plans. As for investments, Human Interest offers a good selection of mutual funds and target-date funds.

Human Interest

Stats

  • 2x the industry average participation rate
  • Integrates with 50+ payrolls
  • Access to 30,000+ investment funds

Human Interest

Pricing

Human Interest has three pricing plans:

  • Essentials: $120 per month base fee + $4 per eligible employee
  • Complete: $150 per month base fee + $6 per eligible employee
  • Concierge: $150 per month base fee + $8 per eligible employee

Best For

Small and medium sized businesses looking to offer or enhance the administration of their employee retirement benefits.

Worth Checking Out:

PayChex

Review

Paychex is a robust all-in-one payroll and benefits system. It offers several retirement plan options including 401(k), 403(b), SOLO 401(k) for sole proprietors, and SIMPLE IRA. From plan enrollment to maintenance, Paychex takes care of the details for any size business.

PayChex

Stats

  • Paychex is the chosen recordkeeper for over 90,000 customers 
  • 200+ compliance experts: federal, state, and local regulations
  • 600+ HR professionals averaging 8 years of training and expertise

PayChex

Pricing

Paychex’s pricing isn’t listed on their website. However, you may reach out to their sales team for an estimate according to the size of your team and scope of your needs.

Best For

Worth Checking Out:

Ubiquity

Review

Ubiquity is a scalable platform for 401(k) administration. It facilitates contributions, profit-sharing, and allows for loans to be borrowed by employees against their retirement accounts. For an additional fee, Ubiquity also takes care of submitting your annual tax forms and providing tax compliance support. Do note though that it doesn’t select the investment funds for your portfolios. You will need to either choose a self-directed brokerage account or select a third-party broker/custodian.

Ubiquity

Stats

  • 15 minutes setup time
  • Used by over 100,000 small business owners and workers since 1999 to invest over $2 billion in retirement savings accounts

Ubiquity

Pricing

Ubiquity has 4 plans starting at $75 per month: 

  • Single(k): For businesses with no full-time employees except the owner/spouse/partner
  • Saver(k): Expert-picked plan provisions in one easy-to-manage package
  • Express(k): Small businesses and startups looking for simplicity and tax savings
  • Custom(k): Business owners who want a fully customized plan to maximize their tax savings

The exact pricing of the above plans isn’t disclosed on Ubiquity’s website. However, you may reach out to their sales team for an estimate according to the size of your team and scope of your needs.

Best For

Worth Checking Out:

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Final Thoughts

401(k) software solutions are an affordable and easy way for small businesses to offer retirement benefits to their employees. Before choosing a vendor, we always advice that you:

  • Identify the type of retirement plan you want to offer your employees then select a software product that supports it;
  • Request a trial account to test the platform’s features first-hand and see if they cover all of your needs;
  • Schedule demo sessions with different vendors to get all of your questions answered.

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