Whether you have just started dating someone online or are looking for the perfect job candidate, a background check can let you know whether the person being screened is worth your trust. The only problem is that trustworthiness is an issue with background check companies as well.
To help you avoid wasting time and money on inaccurate reports, we introduce you to the best background check companies, thoroughly researched and vetted by our team.
BeenVerified is a background check provider with a decade-long tradition, more than 100,000 subscribers, and millions of satisfied users. It allows you to conduct a vast range of searches and obtain comprehensive and highly accurate reports, with basic information provided in minutes. At the moment, you can use BeenVerified to search people by name, phone number, email or physical address, business name, website, and even LinkedIn URL. The information you can obtain depends on the search and report type you choose.
With BeenVerified, you can find out a person’s name and aliases, date of birth, current and previous addresses, email addresses, phone numbers, potential relatives, social media accounts, professional history, criminal record, arrest history, property and tax records, motor vehicle record, and more.
The service is perfect for reconnecting with old friends, running checks on love interests, potential customers, and online sellers, finding someone’s fresh contact information, screening potential roommates, and acquiring public court records.
You can also use BeenVerified to run a background check on yourself. That way, you can see what others can learn about you, find out if there is any unclaimed money that belongs to you or discover whether your email address is being (ab)used on the dark web.
There are only 2 major downsides to BeenVerified. The first is that it is not a consumer reporting agency, which is why it cannot be used for conducting formal background checks. This means that you cannot use it for purposes of education qualification, issuing credit or insurance, business transactions, and screening job or loan applicants or prospective tenants.
The second important downside is that the service cannot be used to obtain a single report. Instead, you need to opt for a monthly subscription. The good news is that the subscriptions are rather affordable.
With the 1-month subscription, you can conduct an unlimited number of searches for $26.89 per month. The 3-month subscription lets you enjoy the same benefits for just $17.48 per month. Therefore, if you frequently have the desire or need to check up on someone, BeenVerified is an affordable screening solution that can put your mind at ease.
Like our previous choice, Spokeo is a reputable background check company with more than 10 years of experience and millions of users. It allows you to obtain information from more than 12 billion consumer, property, business, court, and historical records, as well as over 120 social networks. It is ideal for searching for old friends, relatives, celebrities, and various acquaintances. You can use it to search people by name, email address, username, phone number, address or social media handle.
The data you can acquire with Spokeo include a person’s name, phone number, email address, location history, property details, public, birth, death, traffic, and criminal records, family members, associates, professional history, social media accounts, and even income and lifestyle interests.
Additional features Spokeo offers for an extra fee include court record and historical record searches, Search Concierge that lets you obtain information via phone, email or chat, Spokeo Connections designed to give you insight into all known social media accounts of your friends, and Spokeo Enterprise intended for business purposes such as forming connections and validating associates.
Although not guaranteed, the accuracy of Spokeo reports is high. Basic information is provided near-instantly while more detailed searches rarely take more than a few days. However, you should know that Spokeo is not a customer reporting service, which means that it cannot be used for formal purposes like assessing a person’s eligibility for housing, loans, insurance, and employment. Its reports are exclusively suitable for personal use.
You can use Spokeo free of charge if you want to obtain only basic information like a person’s location, age or potential relatives. For more detailed reports, you need to pay a fee. What is great is that you can get a single report for just $0.95. Alternatively, you can opt for the standard 1-month or 3-month subscription and perform up to 100 searches per month for a single fee. The 1-month subscription costs $19.95 per month while the 3-month subscription comes at a price of $12.95 per month. The service offers a 7-day free trial that lets you test out premium features before you make a purchase.
In case you are looking for a business subscription, you can get the Basic membership (200 reports) for $35.95 per month, the Professional membership (500 reports) for $69.95 per month, and the Enterprise solution (1,000 reports) for $119.95 per month.
PeopleFinders is one of the first background check companies in the US and it has been around for more than 2 decades. Its impressive database includes more than 43 billion public records containing information on over 250 million American citizens. It lets you search people by name, address or phone number and receive all publicly available information.
With PeopleFinders, you can discover someone’s location history, phone numbers, email addresses, potential relatives and associates, property details, criminal record, bankruptcy filings, liens, traffic citations, business licenses, marriage and divorce history, and other relevant public data. If you wish to use PeopleFinders as a data-as-a-service (DaaS) solution, you can turn to its enterprise division for batch, data append, API, and related services. The service is commonly used by the likes of investigators, collection agencies, and law firms.
The main reason why users love PeopleFinders is that it is fast and accurate. It lets you perform instant basic searches and the vastness of its database ensures you can get the right information on virtually anyone.
However, since PeopleFinders is not a consumer reporting agency, its reports cannot influence decisions regarding hiring, issuing credit or insurance, loaning money, and similar business activities. Therefore, you can only rely on PeopleFinders if you are not making any formal decisions based on the reports you receive. It is only intended for personal use.
PeopleFinders can provide certain basic information free of charge, such as age, location history, and known relatives. For a full background check report, you need to subscribe.
You can get the standard individual membership for $24.95 per month and conduct people searches and reverse phone lookups. The premium individual membership costs $29.95 per month and includes people searches and reverse phone lookups along with background checks and public record, property record, and criminal record reports.
It is good to know that the service regularly offers discounts for new customers that allow you to get your subscription for half the usual price. If you are not sure you want to invest immediately, you can make use of the 5-day free trial.
For those interested in a business subscription, PeopleFinders offers Enterprise Light (1,000 reports) for $72 per month and Enterprise Power (5,000 reports) for $159 per month.
Intelius is a background check service that has been operating for nearly 2 decades. Its reports are based on information found in more than 20 billion public records. You can use it to search people by name, address or phone number and receive the latest information on anyone of interest.
The service’s offer is diverse and includes everything from reverse phone lookups to background checks and identity protection. You can receive reports including a person’s name, age, phone numbers, address history, date of birth, potential relatives, email addresses, social media profiles, marriage and divorce records, employment and education information, criminal and civil records, bankruptcies, liens, judgments, lawsuits, and other relevant data.
Furthermore, Intelius’ Identity Protector service can help detect and prevent identity theft while its Classmates service that started out as a separate company allows you to reconnect with your high-school classmates.
Our tests have shown that the data you receive from Intelius is usually highly accurate and the service is fast and efficient. This is further confirmed by its A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.
However, you should keep in mind that Intelius does not operate as a consumer reporting agency, so if you are looking to screen a prospective employee, tenant, loan applicant or similar candidate, you need to look elsewhere. This service is all about discovering more about the people in your personal life. You can use it to check up on coworkers, buyers, and sellers, but you cannot make formal decisions related to activities such as hiring and loaning based on the obtained reports.
What is great about Intelius is that it lets you purchase both single reports and memberships, depending on your needs. It offers 2 monthly subscriptions that let you conduct unlimited searches yielding information including a person’s name, aliases, date of birth, relatives, addresses, employment and education details, phone numbers, email addresses, and social network profiles.
The first subscription is called Intelius Premier. It provides all the perks listed above and it comes at a price of $19.95 per month. The other subscription is Intelius Premier Plus, which comes with all the Premier benefits, plus one background check voucher per month. It costs $29.95 per month and comes with a 7-day paid trial that costs $7.95.
Individual reports start at $3.95 for a people search report and go up to $49.95 for comprehensive background checks.
While the prices are not low, it is worth noting that the service offers regular discounts that can exceed 50% of the standard prices.
For more than 20 years, Backgroundchecks.com has been providing reliable and detailed background check reports based on more than 650 million criminal records. It is FCRA-compliant and primarily used for screening employees and other candidates. However, you can use it to run a check on yourself or anyone else you want to learn more about. Information accuracy is guaranteed and you can usually get results in 15 minutes to 3 days, with no major delays.
The service offers nearly 2 dozen kinds of searches, verifications, and additional reports. Criminal background checks come in 10 different variations, with reports including information on felonies, misdemeanors, convictions, nationwide wants and warrants, and virtually everything else regarding someone’s criminal history.
As far as verifications go, Backgroundchecks.com can provide employment, education, professional license and certification, and reference verification. You can further use its services to obtain driving record reports, credit reports, county and federal civil history, bankruptcy reports, and all known names and addresses associated with a social security number. You can even use it for drug screening.
Since the service is FCRA-compliant, it is suitable for all purposes permissible by law. Therefore, you can use it to screen tenants, make hiring decisions, run checks on loan applicants, and much more. Of course, personal checks on yourself and your friends and acquaintances are available as well, but they are not regulated by the FCRA.
With Backgroundchecks.com, you can obtain a single report whenever you need it or you can opt for a subscription. The company offers 3 different subscription plans for businesses ranging from $29.95 to $64.95. Individual users who seek reports intended for personal use can get basic information such as age and location history for free. If they want a full background check, driving record or criminal background report, they can expect to pay between $12.50 and $39.95. Individual reports, verifications, and additional services cost between $3.50 and $36. However, the service does offer regular discounts and promos that can significantly lower report prices.
Buildium is a property management software particularly suited for effortless tenant screening. It has been on the market since 2004 and its product and service range is incredibly vast. In addition to providing detailed background check reports on potential tenants, it specializes in accounting, business management, maintenance request tracking, property inspections, and a number of related services.
When it comes to tenant screening, you can expect to receive comprehensive background check reports including all publicly available credit, criminal, and eviction data. For easier tenant selection, you can enter custom credit score requirements that the software uses to provide recommendations. Automated notifications are sent out to accepted applicants and each tenant is added to the tenant management system for payment realization.
Buildium’s tenant screening reports are accurate and provided in accordance with the law. They are generated quickly and you can check the status of the screening at any time. You are informed when the tenant’s identity is verified, when his or her input is required, and when you can view the report. This is a great feature that is particularly useful when screening multiple tenants.
Other services offered by Buildium are not related to background checks, but we will mention them due to the fact that they are included in the company’s subscriptions packages. As a member, you can expect assistance with accounting, budgeting, reporting, online payments, common expense allocations, leasing management, tenant-owner communication, maintenance management, and event tracking for violations. Other features you get to enjoy include electronic leases, board member tracking and permissions, onboarding, and of course, tenant screening.
As a Buildium user, you can opt for one of the 2 monthly subscriptions, including Core and Pro. The Pro subscription lets you enjoy all the services listed above, includes bonuses like 30 free electronic leases per month, and costs $156 per month. The Core subscription does not include the onboarding feature and it requires you to pay extra for services such as electronic leases and mobile inspections. It costs $78 per month.
The Core subscription lets you perform basic tenant screening for $15 per report. The Pro subscription brings you premium tenant screening for $18 per month, complete with reports generated in seconds, customized recommendations, and more.
Like Buildium, RentPrep is an excellent choice for tenant screening. It provides reliable tenant background check reports exclusively generated by FCRA-certified screeners. In addition to high information accuracy, one of its most attractive features is that it has adopted a no-fee policy. That means that you only pay per report, with no membership fees. It provides two types of tenant screening reports, differing in the amount of information included.
You can opt for the RentPrep Background Check, which provides social security number verification and address history and information on evictions, bankruptcies, judgments, and liens. It requires no tenant involvement. If you need more information, you can purchase add-ons including a credit decision report and nationwide criminal and sex offender search.
Alternatively, you can go with the SmartMove Full Credit Report, which goes beyond the basics and brings you a complete credit report with the prospective tenant’s full credit score and a rental background check. Add-ons available with this report include judgment and lien reports.
While primarily designed for small landlords, RentPrep has an enterprise division as well, which handles portfolios with 50 or more rental units. Another advantage worth noting is RentPrep’s tenant screening API that allows for a seamless integration of user websites with RentPrep services.
If you choose RentPrep, you can be sure that your tenant screening reports are as accurate as possible and you can usually receive the results within an hour. Even the most comprehensive reports are normally completed within 1 business day.
RentPrep Background Check reports cost $18.95 while you can expect to pay $35 for the SmartMove Full Credit Report. As far as add-ons go, judgment and liens reports are available for $4.95, criminal and sex offender searches cost $4, and the credit check add-on comes at a price of $9.95. Landlords with more than 50 units get custom quotes based on their needs.
PublicData is a background check company that has been providing easy access to publicly available records since 1997. It provides accurate information extracted from vast databases including records collected by local, state, and federal agencies. It caters to both individuals and businesses and lets you run a check on anyone based on any information that you may possess, including the person’s name, date of birth, and even license plate number.
The kind of information you can get in your PublicData report depends on the database you want to search. You can request data from civil court, criminal, DMV, driver’s license, most wanted, warrants, crime stoppers, professional license, property tax, secretary of state, sex offenders, unclaimed property, and voter databases. If you are interested in federal searches, you can get information from agencies like the Bureau of Tobacco, Alcohol, and Firearms, the Federal Aviation Administration or the National Credit Union Orders.
Regardless of whether you opt for an area, state or federal search, you can obtain an incredible range of data. You can get information on the person’s name, age, sex, appearance, offenses, trials, address, ethnicity, and even potential tattoos, just to name a few of the numerous details available in different databases.
What you should know is that PublicData is not a consumer reporting agency. Therefore, you can use its reports to satisfy your curiosity, but you cannot use them to make any business-related decisions like job candidate or tenant selection.
PublicData offers various subscriptions for different personal and corporate uses. With monthly subscriptions for individual users, you can get 600 lookups per month for $14.86 or 1,250 lookups for $24.86. If you are interested in an annual individual subscription, you can get 700 lookups per year for $34.86.
The monthly corporate subscription plan costs $85 per month and includes 5,700 lookups per month. With an annual corporate subscription, you can get 1,200 lookups for $120 per year, 3,000 lookups for $250 per year, and 10,000 for $500 per year.
9. Direct Screening
Direct Screening is a background check company that specializes in criminal background checks. It is FCRA-compliant and boasts a large database containing more than 600 million records from all US states. It promises high data accuracy, with information obtained from reliable sources, including courts, state central repositories, and county and criminal justice systems. Although information-rich, its reports are easy to read and navigate.
At the moment, Direct Screening allows you to opt for a social security number check, a state background check, a national background check or a regional criminal search. The information provided in your report depends on the kind of check you order. Generally speaking, the service provides identity information, social security number validation, address histories, criminal records, sex offender searches, terrorist watch list searches, fugitive searches, and more.
Since the service is FCRA-compliant, it can be used for business purposes. Therefore, you can rely on its reports when screening tenants, checking up on loan applicants, choosing the right candidate for a vacant position at your company, and similar situations. The results are available almost instantly, so you do not have to worry about any annoying delays.
For more good news, Direct Screening does not charge any membership fees. You are not locked into a contract and you only pay for the reports you receive.
Social security number searches are the most affordable and cost just $4.95 per report. Regional criminal search reports cost $14.95 while state criminal search reports can be obtained for $12.95 per report. If you need an enhanced state criminal search report with extra information, you need to pay $23.95.
National criminal search reports are available for $16.95 per report, but enhanced reports of this kind cost as much as $38.95. Be sure to choose the report type carefully because the service does not issue refunds.
10. ShareAble For Hires
As its name suggests, ShareAble For Hires specializes in pre-employment background checks. It provides information extracted from more than 100 million employment records, 379 million criminal records, and 230 million credit histories from all over the United States. It is FCRA-compliant, which makes it a 100% valid choice for hiring purposes.
The service currently offers 3 types of reports. You can get the national criminal report to check whether there is any criminal history or prior convictions you should worry about. It provides information from felony and misdemeanor criminal records, as well as the National Sex Offender Public Registry, the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration, Homeland Security, and other relevant agencies.
The detailed credit report provides insight into the candidate’s financial situation and money management abilities and habits. It includes the person’s full name, potential aliases, address history, employment history, payment history, and potential derogatory account data.
Finally, the identity report lets you verify the information provided by the candidate during the application process. You can use it for name, address, social security number, and date of birth verification, as well as additional identity checks.
The service offers 3 pricing packages designed for different needs. The most affordable package is Background Check Basic, which costs $35. It includes TransUnion subject selection and identity verification, the National Sex Offender Registry search, federal watch lists and national most wanted searches, instant state and county checks, plus FCRA and state filters.
The Background Check Plus package costs $50 and includes everything above along with a deceased person’s social security number check, fraud alerts check, and a name and social security number match report.
Finally, for $60, you can get the Background Check Pro package, which includes everything the Plus package provides, plus address history, employment history, and a detailed credit report.
Which Background Check Company Is Right For You?
All the companies on our list are trustworthy background check providers with long traditions and numerous satisfied customers. However, they are not equally well-suited for all kinds of background checks. In our experience, BeenVerified is the company that best satisfies the needs of most users who do not need reports for formal purposes.
Still, which one of our top picks is the right choice for you depends on your needs and budget, that is, the propose for which you are doing a background check, how often you do background checks, and how much you are willing to pay for the service.
Based on our extensive knowledge about background checks as well as user feedback, we have identified several major categories of background check users, in accordance with their needs and preferences. Keep reading to discover which category you belong to and which service is the perfect solution for you.
Small Business Owners
If you run a small business and seek an easier way to screen potential candidates, you can turn to ShareAble For Hires as a convenient solution for pre-employment screening. It does not force you to subscribe but instead lets you run a background check whenever you need it and you can decide exactly how much information you need and how much you are willing to pay depending on your budget.
Large Business Owners
If you own a large business and frequently hire new employees, Backgroundchecks.com can be an excellent choice. It provides extremely detailed and accurate pre-employment background check reports that are available both with and without a subscription. It offers everything from credit reports to drug screening, which makes it perfect for large companies who seek thorough and customized checks on large numbers of candidates.
If you have bad previous experiences or suspect that one of your current employees may be involved in criminal activity, Direct Screening was made for you. This FCRA-compliant service can help you easily discover whether there is any reason to worry and whether your employee’s criminal history is raising any major red flags.
If you are looking for tenant screening services, but you do not rent out many units, RentPrep was made for you. There are no subscriptions, so you can use the service as often or as rarely as you want and only pay per report. You get to decide on the scope of the background check report and choose in accordance with your needs and budget. Plus, you can get results in just an hour. If you ever expand your renting business, RentPrep’s enterprise division can easily accommodate your needs.
Big Property Owners
If you rent out a large number of units, Buildium can be a great fit. It does not only offer thorough and accurate tenant screening reports but also provides a variety of property management services that can make your life much easier.
Loan companies need to be careful when approving loans and a background check including a credit report and criminal history can be of great use when selecting applicants. Backgroundchecks.com can be of great use here since its reports include everything a lender needs to know before approving a loan.
Cautious Online Daters
Online dating is exciting, but you can never know what the person you are chatting with is really like unless you do a background check. BeenVerified can help you easily screen everyone you meet and determine whether you should move on to offline dating or end your online relationship on time.
Old High-School Friends
If you are dreaming about reuniting with your high-school friends, Intelius has just what you need. Its Classmates service can help you discover your old friend’s fresh contact information, reconnect with them, plan reunions, and more.
If you are suspicious of the new neighbors that just moved in next door, PublicData can help ease your mind or confirm your suspicions. It lets you use any information you have on hand to find out whether your neighbors have skeletons in their closets.
In case your investigations require frequent searches that are too time-consuming to conduct all by yourself, PeopleFinders can be a perfect solution. It provides detailed reports and has details on more than 250 million Americans, so it is sure to be of use no matter where your investigation is taking you.
Curious Users On A Budget
If you are just curious to learn more about someone in your personal life and do not want to waste a lot of cash, Spokeo was made for you. Whether you are interested in discovering their social media profiles, real age, full name or a lot more, this service provides accurate and information-rich reports that can help you clear all sorts of doubts.
What Is Included In A Background Check Report?
The scope of a background check depends on the company you opt for and the purpose for which the check is conducted. Generally speaking, a background check report can include information pertaining to the person’s identity (e.g. name, date of birth, address, and contact information), social security, social media presence, credit history and financial standing, criminal offenses, civil legal history, marriages and divorces, education, motor vehicle record, and employment history.
The range of information featured in a background check report varies because not all companies provide all the data listed above and users themselves get to choose what type of information they want revealed.
Will someone know if you did a background check on them?
Background checks can be anonymous, but this is not always the case. It all depends on the reasons why you are doing a background check. For example, if you are trying to learn more about a friend, partner, colleague or neighbor, you can do a background check on this person without anyone knowing about it.
On the other hand, if you are screening a potential employee, client, loan applicant or tenant, the background check cannot be anonymous. In such cases, the person needs to authorize the check and it cannot be conducted without express consent.
Therefore, when you do informal background checks on friends, love interests, and other people with whom you share personal relationships, the individuals you screen are not notified about the checks and you remain completely anonymous. Conversely, if you need to conduct a formal background check for the purpose of hiring, renting or any other business-related activity, you are required by law to inform the person about the background check, obtain consent, and honor your responsibilities as a user of such services as prescribed by the Fair Credit Report Act.
How long does it take to get a background check report?
The average turnaround time for background check results is 1 to 5 days. However, the process can take much longer, depending on information availability.
Since background check companies obtain data from various sources, how fast you can get your report depends on the responsiveness of the suppliers of the required information. Sometimes, the process may take more than 2 weeks, especially if the person who is the subject of the background check has lived in multiple states or countries.
It should be noted that certain companies promise instant detailed reports. This is often a bad sign. Keeping in mind the amount of work normally required to produce a comprehensive background check report, you can usually expect to receive a report that is less than accurate and/or information-poor.
It is further important to know that in most cases, instant reports do not comply with the FCRA guidelines. This makes them exclusively suitable for personal, non-business use.
If you need a report as soon as possible, be sure to look for turnaround time information on the official website of the background check company of your choice or contact the company directly to request an estimate.
Can you request that a background check company deletes information on you?
All legitimate background check companies allow you to have your information removed from their databases. The procedure differs from one company to another, but there is usually an opt-out page on the official website of the service. In some cases, you may need to email the company’s support staff and request the removal of your information.
If you are having a hard time figuring out the opt-out procedure, you can always contact the company in question via email, phone or chat and ask for instructions.
What do employers look for in a background check?
When doing a background check on a prospective employee, most employers focus on identity and education verification, criminal and civil records, and employment history with potential references. Depending on the job description, they may wish to look into additional details relevant to the position. For example, a credit history may be included in the background check report if the job involves handling money. Motor vehicle records are frequently included as well, especially when driving is an important part of the job description.
Can an employer decide not to hire you based on a background check?
Employers do background checks for the purpose of deciding whether they should hire a certain candidate. Therefore, it is most certainly possible for an employer to decide against hiring someone based on what is revealed in a background check. This is completely legal and justified, as long as the employer does not ask for different background information based on race, sex, and ethnicity and does not resort to illegal discrimination.
Before conducting a background check, the employer must ask the candidate to provide written permission. Additionally, the employer should let the candidate know if he or she is not being hired because of something that showed up in a background check report and allow the candidate to access, verify, and contest the information in the report.
Can a landlord deny a tenant based on a background check?
A landlord has the right to deny tenancy based on a background check. However, before the check is conducted, the landlord has to request authorization and inform the potential tenant about the kinds of data to be gathered and information that could result in a denial.
Furthermore, the prospective tenant should receive contact information for the background check service used. Landlords are also required to familiarize tenants with their right to dispute the validity of the information provided in the background check report.
What is the FCRA?
The FCRA or the Fair Credit Reporting Act is a US government legislation that regulates the provision and use of consumer reporting services. It was passed in 1970 with the goal of ensuring that agencies provide reports that are accurate, private, and fair.
In accordance with the FCRA, consumer reporting services must strive to provide information that is as accurate as possible, give consumers access to information about them, and allow them to dispute information validity. If information is contested, services must take all the necessary steps to verify its accuracy. Should it prove inaccurate, it should be removed and excluded from future reports. Furthermore, agencies are required to remove delinquency and tax lien information after 7 years and bankruptcy information after 10 years.
In addition to providing strict guidelines by which consumer reporting agencies must abide, the FCRA prescribes rules to be followed by providers of consumer information as well as users of consumer reports.
Providers of consumer information are required to offer data that is complete and accurate. In case of a dispute, they should investigate, verify, and correct or delete data if needed within 30 days after receiving a dispute. They also have 30 days to notify a consumer about negative information that is to be or already is included in a report.
Users of reporting services are required to obtain consumer information for permissible purposes only and with consumers’ express consent. They need to inform consumers about potential adverse actions taken based on the information obtained and allow them to get in touch with the reporting service used and view and contest the information in question.
Since not all background check companies follow the FCRA guidelines, you should make sure you opt for one that is FCRA-compliant if you want to receive an accurate, fair, and private report.
What is a court runner service?
A court runner service allows you to receive legal information that can only be obtained in person. Court runners go to courthouses and government and attorney offices in order to acquire and deliver public documents such as liens, deeds, and mortgages. Background check companies usually charge extra for providing reports containing information that needs to be obtained by a court runner.