Best Background Check Companies
Background check companies compile reports with information about the background and history of individuals. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) has certain requirements for companies that do background checks, and you should use your own diligence to ensure the company you are hiring complies with all relevant laws.
Compare Top Background Check Companies
Read 974 Reviews
Founded in 2015, TruthFinder gives you access to millions of public records. By using machine learning and complex algorithms, Truthfinder searches data all over the web to give you background information on just about anyone.
Read 3,545 Reviews
Instant Checkmate offers background check services. Users can search a wide variety of databases, including state and federal records, to get information about themselves as well as their friends or relatives.
Read 614 Reviews
GoodHire offers personal & employment background checks. GoodHire allows thousands of employers to find quality employees, empower job seekers, and help employers avoid unintentional bias when hiring candidates.
Read 327 Reviews
BeenVerified offers affordable and accessible background checks using public data. According to the FCRA, BeenVerified is not a consumer reporting agency and cannot be used for employment screening.
Read 1,231 Reviews
MyLife is a website offering a service for people concerned about information on their background reports. For a fee, MyLife monitors your background report and allows you to enhance or correct publicly available information.
|Intelius||Read 455 Reviews|
Intelius is a well-known background check service that allows people to do a reverse phone lookup. This service allows users to find out who owns a phone number and whether any public records are associated with that person.
Read 697 Reviews
Spokeo is a service that provides White Pages listings, public records and social media information. This service is intended to help people who have lost touch to find one another again and reach out to restore relationships.
Read 143 Reviews
PeopleFinders offers users the ability to search for public records by name, email address or phone number. It also offers special services for businesspeople who want to do a large number of background checks.
Read 25 Reviews
PeopleSmart offers users a way to easily search for people by name, email address or phone number. With this service, users can connect with long-lost friends or relatives as well as conduct background searches.
Read 143 Reviews
Founded in 1994, USSearch.com is a people finder website based in Washington. Users purchase public record information including name, address, criminal records and more; fees vary depending on how much information you request.
Read 82 Reviews
CoreLogic Rental Property Solutions helps landlords find out critical information about their tenants. Reports include information such as rental history, criminal background and other relevant details for landlords.
KnowX allows users to quickly and easily run a background check by putting in a person's first and last name. With this service, users can also investigate property values prior to making real estate transactions.
NAPBS accredited Crimcheck.com offers a wide range of background check services, including criminal screening, drug tests, data checks and reference checks. Choose from five packages, depending on your industry and needs.
BackgroundReport.com provides instant background reports online. In addition, people can sign up for background monitoring, which lets them know about any changes to the information in their background reports.
How to choose the right background check service
Background check credentials
Many background check companies are able to offer background screening services, and some have different official credentials than others. Understanding what these credentials are and why they matter can help you identify legitimate background check companies.
- NAPBS members: Some background check companies are members of the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS). This means the company complies with all the current rules and laws about background checks and is closely monitored.
- Unaccredited: Some background check companies don't have official credentials, but they are still able to run background checks on individuals. Note that these types of companies might have restrictions for when they can and cannot be used by individuals.
- Contact information: There are several fake background check companies who are happy to take money from unknowing consumers. To make sure you are not involved in an illegitimate background check, verify that the address and contact information for the company is accurate and current.
Types of background checks
Background screening companies often differ from one another based on the kinds of background checks their company can perform.
- Credit checks: Credit checks are run to see a person's financial history. Companies use this information to determine how likely the individual is to make payments. Landlords, lenders and insurance companies often request this type of screening. Some employers run this type of check as well.
- Criminal background: Many background check companies research court, police and other records to determine whether the subject has a criminal history. Background check companies frequently use county and/or state records when conducting criminal background checks. They can also use federal records.
- Driving records: Companies that hire drivers who need to have a clean record will request this type of check to learn about the candidate’s driving history and ensure their license is current.
- Litigation records: Some companies may run a check on litigation records to determine how likely a job candidate or tenant is to file a lawsuit.
- Drug testing: Many employers require drug testing for job candidates and employees.
- Employment and education check: Many background checks include verification of a candidate’s employment and education history to ensure the candidate has all the qualifications required by their employer.
Background check companies aim their services at different client types. Knowing which type of client you are will help you narrow down your options to find the background check company that can best address your needs. Most background check companies have options for a range of needs.
- Employers: Some background check companies target their services to employers researching potential employees. Note that employers cannot use information gained through background checks to discriminate against employees, and they must request the same types of background checks for every job candidate.
- Landlords and property managers: Background check companies often target their business to landlords who run background checks on potential and current tenants. Note that landlords must adhere to the laws regulated by the FCRA and cannot use information learned from background checks to discriminate against potential tenants.
- People hiring an in-home nanny or housekeeper: Some background check companies specialize in running background checks on housekeepers, nannies and other household employees.
Background check services
Most background check companies run checks for clients, and some companies set themselves apart by offering additional services.
- Strictly testing companies: Some background check companies simply run background checks and compile the results to give to people requesting the test. These companies generally are run fully online, making them accessible to anyone with an internet connection.
- Full-service companies: Full-service background check companies learn about a company's recruiting strategies and desired employee type, and they help a client understand test results and further develop a recruiting strategy. Larger corporations that have a high number of job candidates going through background checking may want to utilize a full-service background check company.
- Testing and consulting companies: Some background check companies run checks on candidates and offer advice to clients about how to interpret the results.
Background check report type
Background check companies deliver a large amount of information to clients after running checks, and they often vary from one another based on how they deliver this information and in what format.
- Online reports: Some background check companies run checks online and provide online reports.
- Printed reports: Background check companies that provide printed reports give clients hard copies of the results they find in their tests.
- In-person reports: Many full-service background check companies will provide clients with in-person updates about their screening results, in addition to printed material.
Background check cost
Fee amounts and types vary significantly between companies, often based on the types of checks done and the scope of services required.
- Base price and fees: Some companies charge clients a base price for their services, in addition to fees for each individual report.
- Flat fee companies: Flat fee background check companies offer comprehensive background services for one fixed price.
- Custom fees: Some background check companies can come up with custom fees and payment plans for companies. These plans are particularly common for big companies that need to run background checks often.
- Price by search volume: Many background check companies offer tiered pricing based on the number of searches required. Larger companies and those who will be asking for multiple background checks at one time will want to look into getting a volume discount.
Types of background check companies
Household employee background check companies
Household employee background check companies provide background checks for people who are looking to hire people to work in their households.
Tenant background check companies
Tenant background check companies run background checks for landlords who want to screen potential tenants.
Comprehensive background check companies
Comprehensive background check companies run background checks on potential employees, and they offer full reports – including criminal history, driving history, credit history and more – in their results.
Online background check companies
Online background check companies allow people to check the backgrounds of potential employees and tenants online, and they offer fast and immediate results.
Employment background check companies
There are specific laws employers need to follow when they run background checks on potential and current employees. Therefore, employers who want to research job candidates should work with a background check company that specializes in employment background checks.
Who performs background checks?
HR representatives at large companies
HR representatives at large companies often use background check companies to research new employees. Many HR representatives have close relationships with background check companies if the employer has a large staff and/or experiences significant turnover.
Some background check companies target their services to employers researching potential employees. Employers should verify that the background check company they use offers all the different types of background checks they need and follows federal and state laws.
Landlords and property managers
Background check companies can provide relevant financial and personal information before landlords or property managers agree to rent their property.
Individuals hiring domestic employees
People hiring an employee who will work in their home, such as nannies or housekeepers, might run a specialized background report to check on that employee's history. Specialized background check companies exist for domestic employers.
People utilizing online dating sites
People who use online dating sites can utilize background check services to learn more about their matches.
Individuals concerned about their own history may want to utilize a background check company to see what information shows up on their report. This information can be useful to know before applying for employment.
Parents may want to use background check companies to find information on nearby sex offenders and research the criminal history of their children’s neighbors, coaches and/or friends’ parents.
Background check FAQ
- Is there a totally free background check?
- You can conduct a background check yourself — to a point. Search engines, social media networks and publicly accessible government databases can turn up lots of information about a person or business. For further details, you may want to consider paying for a background check service.
- Are online background checks accurate?
- Yes, online background checks are usually accurate as long as there’s no case of mistaken identity and the provider uses the right sources. Before hiring a background check company, ask about its credentials, like accreditation from the Professional Background Screening Association, and whether it verifies the information it gathers. Check that the company has a real physical address and phone number, as well.
- Can you do a background check on yourself?
- You can run a background check on yourself by doing things like checking your credit report, searching court records, going over your social media footprint and searching for your name on Google. You can also hire a background check company to do a self-background check.
- Can you do a background check on someone without their permission?
- It depends. In personal situations, such as with babysitters, romantic partners and roommates, you can run a background check without that person’s consent. But employers, lenders and landlords must obtain permission and follow strict regulations.
- How do you get a background check?
- To obtain a background check, find a background check company with professional associations and accreditations, good reviews and the ability to find accurate, up-to-date information. Make sure the company you choose offers the right services and provides the type of reporting you need.
- What shows on a background check?
- It depends on the company and service you choose. A background check may produce some or all of the following personal information:
- Full name
- Age and date of birth
- Contact information
- Criminal and arrest records
- Driving records
- Drug testing
- Educational and employment history
- Social media profiles
- Credit history
- Will someone know if you do a background check?
- If you are performing a background check for personal reasons, then probably not. But in certain situations, it is against the law to run a background check without the subject’s consent. Employers, for example, must get permission before getting a background check on a job applicant.
- How can I get a free tenant screening report?
- Some companies offer tenant screening services for free. Check what’s provided as part of a free tenant screening report service; you may have to pay extra for the information you need.
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Background check company reviews
Instant Checkmate searches public records to provide information about DUIs, arrests, driving convictions, sex offenses and other criminal records. Their services cannot be used for employment screening, including household workers or tenant screening. They also cannot be used to assess professional services or determine qualifications for education-related financial assistance, credit or insurance eligibility.
Been Verified is a people search site based in New York, NY. It aggregates public records into an easy-to-read report. According to the laws of the Fair Credit and Reporting Act (FCRA), BeenVerified is not a consumer reporting agency. This means there a number of restrictions in the way you can use BeenVerified. Consumers are restricted from using BeenVerified for: employment screening, hiring of household workers, tenant screening, educational qualification, credit or insurance and business transactions initiated by an individual customer.
Truthfinder is an online public record search service. Use it to find information about neighbors, sex offenders, friends, online buyers and sellers and more. Price depends on which membership package you choose but the Truthfinder website says you can get unlimited background check reports for less than $20 per month.
Spokeo operates as a search engine for people. Individuals and companies can use Spokeo and Spokeo Enterprise to find and validate people, including potential employees. They do not provide financial information, so users cannot use Spokeo to screen individuals for credit checks or insurance.
PeopleFinders is a Data-as-a-Service company that has access to public records on nearly every adult living in the United States. They also offer reverse phone lookup services and criminal record search. Based in Sacramento, California, the company has been in operation since 1988.
CoreLogic provides a variety of services related to the real estate industry, including background checks, property tax management, loan modification, foreclosure audits and more. CoreLogic Rental Property Solutions acts as an advisor for multifamily property owners, including offer screenings for potential tenants.
Intelius was founded in 2003 as an information commerce company. They offer businesses cloud-based background check solutions that can be accessed on desktop and mobile devices.
US Search offers several services, including people search, background checks, criminal record search, social network search, property record search and reverse phone lookup. Individual reports can be garnered instantly for under $3 each. US Search is not a Consumer Reporting Agency and should not be used to make decisions related to employment, tenant screening or other purposes outlined in the FCRA.
PeopleSmart is an online search engine of public records, and it specializes in reuniting lost friends and family members. They also offer reverse phone lookup and access to public records.
KnowX is a LexisNexis background check company that was created in 1997. It provides customers with access to public records in the U.S. They have options for individuals and businesses.
BackgroundReport.com is a comprehensive online background check company based in Bellingham, Washington. Their reports do not include credit information or screening.
The Level I package at pre-employment screening specialist Crimcheck.com includes a Social Security number search and a criminal records trace. The company also specializes in due diligence screening, as well as vendor and contractor screening. Its clients have the ability to customize their searches, and Crimcheck.com is accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners.
Information in this guide is general in nature and is intended for informational purposes only; it is not legal, health, investment or tax advice. ConsumerAffairs.com makes no representation as to the accuracy of the information provided and assumes no liability for any damages or loss arising from its use.
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