To help mitigate risk, background check services allow you to easily screen someone's identity and verify their information. There are a variety of reasons you may choose to run a background check on someone, whether it's a new roommate, potential hire, or to search for family members you've lost contact with.
The best background check services go a step beyond the typical Google search and sort through every piece of public data available on the internet. Background checks can provide information regarding a person's criminal history, employment history, education background, previous addresses, as well as contact information and social media profiles.
While many of these background check providers are easy to use, they're not all equal in terms of value and precision. You should use a company that only uses reputable sources, ensures integrity and transparency in its methodology, practices responsive communication with its customers, and offers diverse pricing models that allow for both monthly subscriptions and one-time checks. To determine the best options available, we analyzed the best background check services based on these high standards. Here's what we found.
The Best Background Check Services for 2021
1. Truthfinder - Overall best background check service
2. Intelius - Best value for the price
3. Instant Checkmate - Best for detailed reporting
4. Publicseek - Best for criminal searches
5. VeriFirst - Best for tenant background screening
6. BeenVerified - Best background check service for beginners
7. PeopleLooker - Best search tools and features
8. InfoTracer - Best for facial recognition search
Truthfinder offers extensive data search options, providing detailed and accurate information to its users. This background check service offers a range of key features, searching through public and private databases for both background checks and self-monitoring reports.
Truthfinder background check reports include a plethora of information, such as phone numbers, email addresses, aliases, address history, date of birth, arrest and civil court records, government license data, social media accounts, drug screening results, and more. Overall, the details provided in each background report are impressive.
Truthfinder does not offer a free trial period or complimentary search when first getting started. You'll have the option to choose between two subscription packages available on the site. You can purchase the service for one month at a time, which will cost you around $28/month. Or there's a 3-month membership for $78, or $26/month. Both options will afford you unlimited reports, instant search results, various self-monitoring tools, and more.Pros:
- Dark web monitoring at no extra cost
- Both online and mobile app account access
- Customer privacy guarantee
- Responsive customer support and good user experience
- Transparent practices and data
- No free trial offered or comp search
- Expensive service
Intelius is a great option if you're looking for a platform that can do it all - from a reverse phone lookup and address lookup to extensive people search and background check capabilities. Like many other background check services, Intelius can find a person simply by their name, address, or phone number. With an A-rating among the Better Business Bureau, Intelius is known to be an accredited and legitimate business. The site also complies with the Fair Credit Reporting Act, ensuring that they abide by the restrictions and warn users not to use consumer credit information for illegal purposes.
The company provides in-depth reports that include a vast amount of valuable information - such as criminal records, warrants, court records, liens and bankruptcies, and other significant details. By using public records and other resources available on the internet, Intelius can track and compile telling information in a matter of minutes.
The Intelius pricing model is quite impressive, offering numerous plans and subscription options. You can buy a one-off people search report or reverse phone lookup for $0.95 or a single background check for $39.95. You will also have the option to get a monthly subscription for around $29.95/month.Pros:
- Comprehensive and accurate reports
- Transparent and reliable company practices
- Affordable subscriptions with the opportunity to buy a one-off search
- Good customer service and user support
- Difficult to find prices on the site
- Flashy and misleading advertisements
The Instant Checkmate people search features investigate various records and databases to provide a wide range of information, including criminal history, employee background, and other valuable details when conducting a background screening. The company is a well-trusted, reliable resource in the background check industry.
Instant Checkmate can search for someone simply based on the person's full name, city, and state. When conducting a background check, Instant Checkmate will present you with a list of possible matches and the option to pull a comprehensive report on each individual. The platform also offers a reverse phone lookup feature, if you're receiving phone calls from unknown sources.
Overall, Instant Checkmate is a leading background check company, offering broad search features and dependable results.
There is no free trial available, but there is an offer that lasts around 5 days and costs around about $1. You must remember to cancel after the free trial period has ended; the site will not remind you and will automatically charge you for a full month.
After the 5-day offer period, members must pay a monthly subscription of around $34/month. This will give you unlimited searches, as well as unlimited background checks.Pros:
- Quality search tools
- Accurate and detailed reporting
- The site is easy to navigate
- Affordable subscriptions
- No payment option for a one-off report
The Publicseek database is notable compared to some of its competitors. Each time a user requests a background check report, the company sorts through over 10 billion records in multiple databases. These records are trustworthy, making sure the supplied information is not only reliable but up-to-date as well. Publicseek updates its records every 24 hours to ensure you're equipped with first-hand, accurate knowledge. Plus, the background checks provide instant access to the person's date of birth, phone numbers, address history, related family members, criminal records, social media profiles, and sex offender status.
Customers of Publicseek can buy an individual background check or opt for a membership plan for around $26/month. The subscription will afford you various search options and unlimited background checks. You can also pay an additional fee for upgraded Premium Reports, which provide supplemental information and date.
You can test this background check service with a one-day trial that can be canceled at any time. The trial only costs $1 and gives you access to the full site. You will be charged for a full month following the end of the offer period.Pros:
- Both one-time purchases and subscription plans available
- ID protection with IDSafeGuard, which helps prevent identity theft and fraud
- Reliable data from trusted sources
- Unclear pricing
VeriFirst is the ideal choice for those running a search for real estate and rental tenant purposes, offering multifamily property and student housing solutions. The site offers comprehensive employment background checks and verification services for rental companies, small businesses, and corporations.
When verifying the identity of a potential tenant, it's important to get a better understanding of that person's financial background and the corresponding risk associated. This tenant screening service will examine a person's employee background, criminal record, sex offender status, and various financial records. VeriFirst will run a tenant reliability screening, which shows any past evictions, and a rental history check through its RentForecast feature. Additionally, this background check service offers backend debt collection services through its sister company, BYL Collection Services.
Before purchasing any services or products, customers can opt for a sample tenant and employee background check. That way you'll know what goes into a report and what you can expect from one.
The customer service team will also give you a free quote to sign up for their service. To request a quote, you must provide some basic information, like the company name, contact information, website URL, as well as the type and amount of screenings desired per year.Pros:
- Sample reports and free quotes
- Flexible subscription plans
- VeriFirst Compliance Cloud with applicant notification services
- Reliable tenant screening service that's FCRA-compliant
- Not the best choice for a one-off background check
PeopleLooker is a background check service that provides accurate information gathered from various reliable databases. The information used to compile a report stems from millions of public records nationwide - including information from actual government and law enforcement agencies.
PeopleLooker background checks will examine criminal records, social media profiles, contact information (phone number/ email address), date of birth, possible family members, court records, etc. In terms of social media, the platform will sort through the actual social media profiles, as well as websites and blogs, pulling information directly from those sources. It's able to find these accounts through its satellite imaging feature that can identify a person from a simple photo.
Subscriptions with PeopleLooker start at just $20/month, sometimes less depending on the service used. This subscription-based pricing model charges the customer monthly, versus for individual files or reports.
You can choose to pay per month or three months in advance for a discounted price. With a membership, you'll be afforded a suite of search tools for background checks, reverse phone lookups, sex offender registry scans, dark web monitoring, and more.Pros:
- Broad public record search capabilities
- Court runner service
- Removal service for false information
- Address lookup service
- No hidden fees
- No live chat website service
InfoTracer is a background check service that goes the extra mile to ensure every search is accurate, detailed, and meaningful. Its robust search tools can help you find someone by name, phone number, email address, or residential address. From there, InfoTracer combs through various public sources to provide targeted information, excluding any irrelevant details.
The company conducts an in-depth search for every single report, analyzing arrest records, county criminal records, credit checks, and more. Its substantial reporting will also check for social media accounts, forum posts, occupational licenses, business associates, and even political donations.
What makes InfoTracer unique and arguably the best background check service is its facial recognition feature. This advanced technology can identify an individual with a single image, helping to dig up some personal details and important information regarding the individual searched. To use this feature, you simply upload a clear image of the person's face, with no obstructions present, and InfoTracer will work its magic to find them.
There a few subscriptions to choose from:
- 5-day trial period for $2.95: affords you unlimited searches and unrestricted access to all site features
- 1-time report for $19.95: one standard background check
- Monthly plan for $19.95/month: unlocks premium search results
- 24/7 customer care, with the option to call, email, or live chat
- Mobile app available
- Checked for malware every 24 hours
- Better Business Bureau accreditation
- Dark web scanning capability
- Option to get a single report only
- Some reports have missing details and blank spots
Different Types of Background Checks
The information provided in a report varies based on the type of background check obtained. Deciding between the multiple options will ultimately depend on your needs and what information you're looking to get.
The most common types of background checks include:
Credit Check Report
Credit check reports investigate an individual's credit history and score and are used mainly by rental companies, insurers, and financial institutions.
Criminal Record Background Check
Criminal record background checks verify a person's criminal record and criminal background.
Civil Judgments Check
Civil judgments checks investigate any court judgments or liens against the person.
Driving Record Check
Driving record checks examine the individual's driving record, including accidents, traffic violations, and license suspensions.
Employment and Education Verification Check
Employment and education verification checks are used to corroborate previous employment and education information found on a potential hire's resume and cover letter.
Identity Verification Check
Identity verification checks verify someone is who they say they are through various public record documents.
What's the Best Background Check Site?
A good background check site will provide you with thorough, up-to-date, and accurate information. You may want to pull a background check to learn more about a person's criminal record, employment background, court records, etc.
It's important to ensure the background check service you're using is giving you information that you can trust. You can look for background check companies that are NAPBS-accredited. Additionally, there are some other ways you can ensure report quality and find the best background check services.
Background check services are not considered credit reporting agencies, meaning they aren't required to abide by the Fair Credit Reporting Act and they do not need to be accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners. However, if the company is both FCRA-compliant and NAPBS-accredited, it shows that they are legitimate, established, and likely providing factual information in their reporting.
The Value For Money
Most background check services offer users an unlimited amount of reports when signing up for a monthly subscription. While this sounds like a bargain, oftentimes customers only need to purchase one background check or people search. Some of the best background check services will offer flexible pricing models that are affordable and accommodate all consumer needs.
You want to choose a background check service that has shown positive customer reviews across multiple platforms, including the company's site and the Better Business Bureau. Services that make the process easy, while also responding to your questions and concerns promptly, are some of the best background check services in the industry.
Background checks can provide you with some valuable information. Background check sites will search through the public and confidential records needed to properly investigate an individual's history and background.
Detailed background reports could give you a look into someone's criminal records, property records, marriage and divorce records, social media accounts, phone numbers, as well as dark web personal information. These reports could then be used to verify a person's identity and corroborate the information they are telling you.
Before the internet age, conducting a comprehensive background check took a lot of time and effort. This type of investigation entailed visits to several entities, including various financial institutions, courts, private companies, law enforcement agencies, and other government offices.
Luckily, this information is no longer only available on-site, as many of these records are stored online. That's where many of these internet-based background check services come into the picture. They provide a simple and easy way to conduct a background check, with quick turnarounds and affordable pricing.