Background checks are a necessity in today's world. Whether you're going on a blind date, thinking of hiring someone, or making sure that your tenant doesn't trash your place, it's a good idea to do some research.
The only thing you need to be very careful about when choosing the best background check site is what type of agency you're going with. For example, the law mandates that landlords and hiring staff need to use FCRA-compliant agencies and notify the person being checked. But don't worry; we've done the legwork for you and identified one top choice from every field. Take a look.
- Social media coverage
- Unlimited reports
- Regularly updated database
- Quick turnaround
- Batch processing
- Good prices
- Extensive searches
- Single-report option
4. Instant Checkmate
- Extensive results
- Great criminal background searches
- $1 trial mode
*Consumer Reporting Agency (CRA) as defined by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). The sites listed on this page can’t be used for employment, credit or tenant screening, or related purpose.
To help us separate the wheat from the chaff and find the best background check service on the web, we've created a special methodology. Here are the five main factors you should consider when making your decision.
First of all, we have to take a look at the interface. There's no point in having a powerful search tool if the site layout is impossible to maneuver, unintuitive, and simply time-consuming. You want an interface that's easy to use and logical. We check to see how long it takes to deliver results and how much clutter you must go through to see it.
It goes without saying that we expect the best website for background check functionality to be bug-free and well-optimized. There's nothing more frustrating than staring at the loading screen after every click of the mouse.
Search Result Quality
This is what it's all about - the results. Does the service simply google your requested information, or is the process much more intricate? What are the sources? How reliable are they? Is the database regularly updated, or are you always reading through obsolete data?
Does the website offer only contact information, or will you also get potential criminal records, marital status, employment background checks (including uncovering whether someone has a recognized professional license, for example), and personal history? Can the site do a reverse address lookup, uncover an alias or find divorce records?
Agencies can sometimes be shy about their research methods, but usually, the most extensive background check websites will gladly show off their skills.
How long do you have to wait to get the results? Are we talking minutes, hours, or days? The speed of these background checks often depends on the quality of the search engine, the design of the website, and the type of search.
Basic contact information should be delivered in minutes, while more detailed pre-employment check-ups can last up to five days. While keeping all of this in mind, we still expect the top background check companies to deliver ahead of schedule without compromising the quality of the service.
At this point, we've already determined that the online background check service we're reviewing means business. But is there something else that makes it stand out from the crowd? Are there any additional features or a special part of the package that makes the offer irresistible?
This is where we pay tribute to the agencies that go the extra mile. Whether it's the option of integrating the service with an HR program or the inclusion of identity protection, agencies that have a few aces up their sleeves deserve mention in our reviews.
Subscription Model and Fees
Lastly, how much are you supposed to pay to get the best online background check? Is it a one-time fee, a subscription, or a combination of both? We support agencies that are transparent with their pricing plans and don't rely on sneaky hidden fees.
After all, there's nothing worse than paying for a service only to be greeted by another paywall. You'll find out in our reviews whether the price is worth the service or if you're just getting ripped off way above the standard industry price.
Best Background Check Services 2022
- Instant Checkmate
Background Check Reviews - Top 5 Companies
- ⦿ Dark web scan
- ⦿ Optimized mobile app
- ⦿ On-site guidance
With more than 17 years of experience in the field, TruthFinder is still one of the most popular online services in the industry. The platform offers a reliable background search with some of the most accurate data you'll find online. The interface is simple and user-friendly, with many filters and search options.
With a single subscription, you'll get an unlimited number of reports, and you can set it all up through the well-optimized TruthFinder app that has Android and iOS versions, too. If you're looking for the best background check site with solid sources and no hidden fees, this might be your perfect choice.
Like many other agencies in this niche, the TruthFinder website has a fairly simple, straightforward design. There's a minimum amount of eye candy with a fairly pleasant color scheme throughout the layout.
You can start the People Search straight from the homepage or switch to a different type of service through the bar at the top. Almost every page on the site will give you detailed explanations so you can understand how it all works.
The basic background check usually takes a couple of minutes. During that time, you can answer a few more questions to help narrow down the results. At the end of the background check, the best results will be displayed at the very top with age, location, and possible relatives.
Every item on the list will also include a likeliness match and an option to open the full report. This process will take another 10 minutes, after which you'll be asked to sign up for an account and opt for a membership.
It should be mentioned that TruthFinder has one somewhat annoying element in its interface that it shares with similar online services. Namely, you'll often encounter clickbaity pop-ups and notifications warning you about the sensitive content you might see. While these scare tactics might be effective for some parts of its target audience, in most cases, it just hurts the agency's reputation as one of the best background check sites on the market.
One of the most interesting features TruthFinder has to offer is its dark web scan, powered by Experian. It notifies you if your personal information ends up on the dark web so that you can protect yourself from identity theft.
A typical background check report will also look at criminal history (including felonies), civil court records, motor vehicle records, social media accounts, address lookups, employment history, and more.
The agency's biggest flaw is probably the fact that you can't perform a single background check. You have to choose one- or two-month memberships that cost $27.78 and $46.04, respectively.
If you decide you want to unsubscribe from these background check services, you'll need to contact the customer service team to ensure full TruthFinder opt out. Some users have mentioned this as a potential problem.
- ⦿ Customizable software
- ⦿ Pre-integrated tools
- ⦿ Numerous add-ons
In case you're on the hunt for a reliable consumer reporting agency, GoodHire should be at the top of your list. It is a US-based company founded back in 2013 that mainly focuses on small firms. One of the main reasons why this is considered the best website for background checkers is because it allows for batch processing.
This allows you to integrate the software with your CRM and set up a fast and easy screening system in no time.
From the outset, GoodHire's website gives off a much more polished vibe than the average background check agency you might come across online. Everything is a lot more streamlined, and the interface is very clean, even more so than sites like Spokeo.
The registration process is basically a set of questions about your company and your yearly needs to help you pick the right package. It's fast, direct, and as transparent as possible.
One thing you'll immediately notice about GoodHire is that it is a strong candidate for the best background check service in terms of the user interface. The software is extremely easy to use and doesn't require any special training.
Whether you want to do a criminal background check, verify an individual's personal or employment history, or check out their social media accounts, it's all at your fingertips.
The same can be said for the turnaround time – you'll get your results in a fraction of the time most of the competition can manage. We have to mention the option of batch processing as an extremely useful feature for companies that need to go through dozens of candidates at once.
GoodHire background check software leaves a lot of room for customization. You can use the software's API to come up with a couple of different tools containing only the elements you need. That way, you don't need to pay for the whole package but simply pick the top background check options you need. This is quite a refreshing approach, as many other companies aim to sell you as many features as possible.
The agency is pretty open about its prices – it offers three GoodHire pricing plans for companies that need fewer than 25 checks per year. Anything over that number, and you'll have to talk to the support team to get a custom quote. The most affordable option is the basic one at $29.99 per report.
It comes with a one-business-day turnaround and covers Social Security number trace. It also searches through the national criminal database and sex offender registry. This is the best site for a background check if you're interested in additional features such as motor vehicle checks and drug screening, which you can pay for separately.
- ⦿ Identity protection
- ⦿ Reverse phone lookup
- ⦿ Intelius opt-out option
Intelius is easily one of the most recognizable names in this niche, with more than 17 years of experience to back it up. Seeing as it is not a consumer reporting agency, you can't use its results to screen your potential employees, but it will provide you with the best background check for dating at a reasonable price.
The service is subscription-based, but Intelius also has an option for single reports, which is rather useful for casual users. With a good turnaround time and a couple of handy features, it's easy to see why an Intelius background check could be an excellent choice for you. Let's see how it works.
As far as the site's design is concerned, this agency doesn't stray too far from industry standards. It's all fairly minimalistic, with the option to search via name, address, or phone directly from the homepage. The drop-down menu in the top bar gives you a few more specialized searches and information about customer support.
Even the best sites for background checks don't shy away from fake-looking animations during the search process. This is an opportunity to ask you a few more questions and narrow the search parameters.
Intelius people search results are pretty good, but if you want more details, you'll need to opt for a full report. The reports cover contact information, data about family members, social media profiles, and any other public records available. Throughout the process, you'll need to click a couple of buttons to give your consent to viewing graphic content and acknowledge that you might see some shocking info.
As strange as it may seem, this clickbait practice is quite common among background check websites. It has angered dozens of users by creating a sense of danger and urgency when it's essentially just a sneaky marketing trick.
The agency offers both a subscription-based service and single reports, so you can take your pick. Intelius Premier gives you unlimited background checks for a monthly fee of $19.95. The single people search option starts as low as $0.95 per search, which puts it miles above the competition.
In their reviews, users have often complained about the unfair pricing system, where even a single search might unwittingly subscribe you to the service. At such a low price, there's no doubt that Intelius is the best one-time background check solution, but make sure to read the fine print.
Instant Checkmate Review
Instant Checkmate Review
- ⦿ Criminal records by state
- ⦿ Inmate search
- ⦿ Crimewire blog
After a decade, Instant Checkmate still sits at the very top of the industry, with exceptional service and glowing user reviews. The site is well-optimized, so you can use the service from any device you want or make use of the excellent dedicated app for Android users. You get extensive results with a bit more emphasis on crimes and misdemeanors, which is why it's often considered the best criminal background check software for casual users. Let's dive in.
First of all, we have to mention the agency's reputation, as it's quite often its main selling point. It has an excellent A+ reputation with the BBB and an average score of 4.4 on Consumer Affairs.
In addition to that, the agency has a 3.9 rating on TrustPilot, according to nearly 300 reviews. We would say this is good enough to answer the question: Is Instant Checkmate a scam? No, it's a trustworthy, reputable company and has plenty of ways to prove it.
The best background check site has to have a good, intuitive interface that easily responds to user demands. Instant Checkmate understands this, which is why you won't have any problems finding your way around the site.
Start the background check directly from the homepage knowing that your searches are protected with 128-bit encryption and Norton antivirus. The top bar lets you switch to people searching or dive straight into criminal records.
If you scroll all the way to the bottom, you'll find links to other interesting features like the sex offender database or inmate search. In addition to basic stuff like searching phone numbers and names, Instant Checkmate, Inc. lets you search through arrest records or learn more from the Crimewire News blog.
With all of these exceptional features, it's pretty clear why this is the best criminal background check site out there. The reports are quite thorough, covering basic contact information, photographs, criminal records, potential bankruptcies, and numerous other details.
The site will even provide you with a detailed sample showing you everything that might appear on the report.
When it comes to price, Instant Checkmate also lacks a bit of transparency, like many other agencies in this industry. The site will only show you the Instant Checkmate cost when you get your first results, which might be custom-tailored to your search.
In general, the one-month membership for the best online background check site will cost you $22.86. You can get various discounts if you subscribe for a longer period. For example, six-month membership will cost you just $9.86 a month. There is no Instant Checkmate free trial, but you can use the testing period of five days for just $1.
Before they can do any background checks, employers need to make sure they're using reliable, FCRA-compliant agencies like GoodHire, Employment Screening Resources, or HireRight. Because the employer is legally required to notify the potential employee and ask for consent, many of these agencies will include this in their service. The best background check site for employers will do all the work for you while still going through the proper channels.
The first and the easiest step is to google them yourself. There are many unreliable agencies on the web that will try to charge you money for doing essentially the same thing. You can avoid getting scammed by doing some basic research yourself using the biggest search engine out there.
Where you go from there depends on your specific needs. If you're looking for the best background check site for dating to find out who your potential partner is, you can contact any reputable background check agency.
However, if you're doing it for professional reasons, like when you're hiring someone or renting out your apartment, you need to follow the guidelines and use FCRA-compliant agencies.
Most of what you'll find using a free online service is no different than what you can find out yourself through a simple web search. These are either scam sites looking to earn profit from gullible internet users or a trial version showing you just a fragment of what it can do. Sometimes it can be difficult to discern one from the other.
The bottom line is that even the best free background check site won't give you the service you're expecting.
It really depends on the agency you choose to do the job. Background checks can be reliable if the information in the database is regularly updated and checked for accuracy. It is extremely important that the agency directly uses legitimate, official sources and doesn't rely on circumstantial guesswork. If possible, try to learn more about the agency's modus operandi before contacting it.
Legitimate companies will rarely scurry away from showing you how it all works. In fact, they'll proudly mention all of the trouble they had to go through to come up with the results. It's their badge of honor.
Truthfinder is often dubbed the best background check site because it gives you an unlimited number of reports and offers a user-friendly mobile app. However, Truthfinder is not a consumer reporting agency, so you can't use its findings for business purposes.