Best Background Check Site

By Bojan Jovanović January 25, 2021

In a world where anonymity is slowly becoming unattainable, you have a choice: try to hide or make use of the possibilities. And the possibilities have never been greater: you can find long-lost classmates, estranged family, your upcoming blind date, or your new coworkers. Residence, email, phone numbers, criminal records – all this data is ready to be plucked from various databases. 

For better or for worse, you can dig up information on anyone now, and you should choose the best background check site to do so.

Best Background Check Site in 2021

  • FCRA-approved results
  • Extremely quick results
  • Best employer screening service
  • Very pricey
Price $29.99/check
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  • Accurate results
  • Trustworthy company
  • Great reports
  • Pricey
Price $34.78/mo
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  • Quick results
  • Cheap
  • Simple and easy to use
  • Very basic criminal background checks
Price $13.95/mo
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  • Free basic search
  • Teaches you how to obtain public information
  • More transparent than competitors
  • Can’t buy single reports
Price $26.89/mo
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  • Access to numerous databases
  • Cheaper than Instant Checkmate
  • Easy-to-use UI
  • Lack of pricing transparency
Price $26.89/mo
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  • Quick results
  • Sources updated daily
  • Simple and user-friendly
  • Many report information omissions
  • Poor customer service
Price $20/mo
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  • National and international employment verifications
  • User-friendly website
  • Comprehensive people searching tools
  • No transparent pricing
Price $$21/check
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On the legality and use of background check sites

Before we delve deeper into the comparison of the best online background check site contestants, let’s take a look at what background check companies can and cannot do. To do that, we need to differentiate between simple background checkers, like the ones we review here, and the in-depth ones used for employee or tenant screening.

The difference isn’t simply cosmetic – these two categories are treated differently by the FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act). Companies used for official screening processes – e.g. for loan, employment, or tenancy decisions – are known as consumer reporting agencies and adhere to a specific set of regulations that aim to uphold fair and precise reporting. Biased and incorrect reports made by consumer reporting agencies can lead to legal consequences and have resulted in multi-million-dollar settlements in the past.

On the other hand, our best background check site reviews mostly focus on service providers that don’t qualify as reporting agencies. The information they provide cannot be used by potential employers or HR departments to screen and turn down candidates. Banks are also not allowed to base their loan decisions on the information available on these sites, nor can they be used to inform decisions on awarding scholarships or housing. If you have such specific screening needs, you have to resort to government-regulated consumer reporting agencies.

Because unofficial background checks do not adhere to the same regulations as consumer reporting agencies, there is no guarantee that the information they provide is accurate or up to date, but these platforms do have their uses.

Any site that claims to be the best site for a background check (and they all do) can obtain a bunch of data on a person of interest relatively quickly. Going on a date with someone you don’t know very well? Do a quick background check. New colleagues at work? See what they’re all about. As long as you’re not using the information provided to make a formal decision vis-à-vis employment, renting, or the like, you’re free to do what you want with that knowledge.

1. GoodHire

" Best for employers "

goodhire logo
  • FCRA-approved
    Yes
  • Result speed
    Less than a minute
  • Free search
    No
  • Nearly 100% accuracy
  • Huge variety of background checks

Things we liked / disliked:

  • FCRA-approved results
  • Extremely quick results
  • Best employer screening service
  • Very pricey

Things we liked / disliked:

  • FCRA-approved results
  • Extremely quick results
  • Best employer screening service
  • Very pricey
  • FCRA-approved
    Yes
  • Result speed
    Less than a minute
  • Free search
    No
  • Nearly 100% accuracy
  • Huge variety of background checks

GoodHire is both a consumer reporting agency and the best background check site for a company. As the name suggests, it specializes in providing background screening services looking into would-be employees, allowing employers access to all the relevant information on people applying for a job at their company.

Features

GoodHire is a company dedicated to providing extensive employee screening services. It is FCRA-approved, meaning you can safely use the information provided in its reports to determine whether you’ll hire someone or not. This also means that the information it provides has to be extremely accurate: GoodHire boasts a dispute rate of just 0.05% on the information it provides.

Naturally, GoodHire isn’t a cheap background check service. The company’s offer isn’t really suitable for running one or two checks, although it offers that option as well. It allows companies to run quick and efficient background checks by giving them access to a customizable interface and automating their workflow.

GoodHire’s employment background check covers a lot of different types of information, depending on the plan you opt for. These range from basic information checks to credit checks, criminal and court records, employment and reference verification, healthcare sanctions, and even background checks for international employees.

The amount of information provided, coupled with extreme accuracy, is what makes GoodHire worthy of the mantle of the best site for a criminal background check and official background checks in general.

Furthermore, GoodHire claims that most of its results come in less than a minute, and the company’s API integrations allow HR departments to integrate GoodHire’s search engine with their own software seamlessly.

Pricing

There are four pricing plans, each one bringing more screening possibilities to the table than the last. The first three are tailored to those performing no more than 25 checks per year, but the last option expands on that. On top of these costs, there is a $49.99 setup fee, so if you need the best free background check site, keep looking.

  • Basic – $29.99 per background check. Includes SSN trace, a nationwide criminal database search, and a National Sex Offender Registry search.
  • Standard – $54.99 per check. Everything from the Basic package + a domestic watchlist search and a county criminal court search.
  • Premium – $79.99 per check. Everything from the Standard package + education and employment verification.
  • Custom – GoodHire offers to create a custom plan for you. You can negotiate services and get a quote by contacting the company.

The Standard and Premium plans might have third-party fees from various institutions, although these won’t be charged without your prior approval. That’s the cost of in-depth FCRA-approved searches, which are part of why GoodHire is also the best criminal background check site.

Final Thoughts

GoodHire is the optimal choice for companies looking to get quick, FCRA-approved background checks for employee screening. While these services don’t come cheap, the quality of results is unmatched by GoodHire’s competitors.

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2. Instant Checkmate

" Best all-round option "

instant checkmate logo
  • FCRA-approved
    No
  • Result speed
    10+ min
  • Free search
    No
  • In-depth reports
  • Good accuracy
  • User-friendly site

Things we liked / disliked:

  • Accurate results
  • Trustworthy company
  • Great reports
  • Pricey

Things we liked / disliked:

  • Accurate results
  • Trustworthy company
  • Great reports
  • Pricey
  • FCRA-approved
    No
  • Result speed
    10+ min
  • Free search
    No
  • In-depth reports
  • Good accuracy
  • User-friendly site

Instant Checkmate is the first item on our best site to run a background check list. It performs background checks by scanning various public databases to create comprehensive reports containing all the data it could acquire. While the databases it uses are freely accessible to anyone who wants to take a look, what would otherwise take hours of manual searching can supposedly be obtained in 10 minutes with Instant Checkmate. Aside from some dubious marketing practices, Instant Checkmate is a tried and true background checker.

Features

Instant Checkmate’s site follows the traditional UI layout found on the best online background check websites. As soon as you enter the platform, you’re greeted by the USA people search bar in the middle of the screen. On the top bar, you can swap between People Search – a source of general info on a given person without specific constraints – and Criminal Search, which encompasses warrants, criminal or arrest records, and more.

Instant Checkmate does not scan any hidden or private databases – all the records it compiles are public and can be otherwise accessed by anyone. However, getting all that data yourself would take hours or days. By using this background checker, you’re effectively letting Instant Checkmate do the legwork for you.

What makes Instant Checkmate possibly the best background check service is the sheer amount of information included in its reports. These reports include basic information such as name, age, possible relatives, contact information, date of birth, location, and social media accounts. Furthermore, you’ll find criminal history data regarding arrests, warrants, or convictions. Instant Checkmate also scans the National Sex Offender Registry, displays employment history, and tells you whether the contact has had any bankruptcies, evictions, or other potentially unsavory dealings in the past.

While the UI is flashy and fairly pleasant to use, conducting a search via Instant Checkmate is far from instantaneous. Although it’s considered by many to be the best background check site, it takes several minutes to several hours for you to get your results. There are various prompts during the search process that you have to answer to refine your search, so you have to keep an eye on it the whole time.

Instant Checkmate clearly states that it is not a consumer reporting agency and that the data gathered through its site cannot be used for selection purposes.

Pricing

Instant Checkmate does not display its pricing outright – it doesn’t even tell you that the service will cost you money until after you go through the complete search process. However, this somewhat underhanded approach to billing is the industry standard. The prices are nothing to sneeze at, either: though possibly the best site to check a person’s background legally, it’s on the expensive side.

You can sign up for a five-day trial for $1, but the regular cost of Instant Checkmate’s services is $34.78 per month, with discounted fees if you subscribe for longer.

Final thoughts

Instant Checkmate provides accurate data packaged in easy-to-read reports. However, getting results takes considerable time and the company doesn’t display its pricing transparently.

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3. Spokeo

" Best budget option "

Spokeo logo
  • FCRA-approved
    No
  • Result speed
    Less than a minute
  • Free search
    No
  • Very cheap
  • Ultra-quick results
  • Allows single report purchases

Things we liked / disliked:

  • Quick results
  • Cheap
  • Simple and easy to use
  • Very basic criminal background checks

Things we liked / disliked:

  • Quick results
  • Cheap
  • Simple and easy to use
  • Very basic criminal background checks
  • FCRA-approved
    No
  • Result speed
    Less than a minute
  • Free search
    No
  • Very cheap
  • Ultra-quick results
  • Allows single report purchases

While many background check sites employ fear-inducing marketing tactics, scaring you with the prospect of meeting or working with potential serial killers or hardened criminals if you don’t run a background check beforehand, Spokeo focuses on connecting people. And unlike other platforms on our best background check site list, what it lacks in detailed criminal background checks, it makes up for in customer-friendly pricing.

Features

Spokeo’s site is fairly simple in design. The UI is minimalistic, with a single bar in the middle of the screen used for any type of search. True to its utilitarian design, it gets the job done quickly.

You run a people search by entering either the person’s name, email address, phone number, or physical address. Once you type in your search parameters, you’ll receive a list of matching results. Besides the first and last name, every result includes state and county information, as well as age, which helps you pinpoint whether you’ve found the right person.

Like other platforms in the best background check site race, Spokeo’s reports contain a treasure trove of useful information about the people you look for. The data found in the reports often include personal details like relationship status, contact information, location history, social media profiles, and court records.

We were pretty amazed by the speed at which Spokeo retrieves results. It only takes 10-15 seconds for it to compile information and present you with a report. As far as the quality of its data is concerned, Spokeo can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with most other names on our list.

However, Spokeo is definitely not the best site for a background check for renters or employers, nor can its data be used for those purposes. After all, Spokeo is not a consumer reporting agency as defined by the FCRA.

Pricing

Like most background check sites, Spokeo obscures its pricing until you conduct your first search. You’ll be pleased to know that a monthly membership costs $13.95 – significantly cheaper than its competitors. If you want access for longer, you can subscribe for a lower monthly price. However, if your search is more of a one-time thing, you can choose to purchase individual reports for as little as $0.95.

Final thoughts

While Spokeo won’t get you more detailed reports than its competitors, it will provide them in a much quicker time frame and for significantly less money.

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4. TruthFinder

" Best for finding accurate information "

truthfinder logo
  • FCRA-approved
    No
  • Result speed
    10+ min
  • Free search
    Yes
  • Provides the most accurate info
  • Offers a free People Search
  • Dark web scan

Things we liked / disliked:

  • Free basic search
  • Teaches you how to obtain public information
  • More transparent than competitors
  • Can’t buy single reports

Things we liked / disliked:

  • Free basic search
  • Teaches you how to obtain public information
  • More transparent than competitors
  • Can’t buy single reports
  • FCRA-approved
    No
  • Result speed
    10+ min
  • Free search
    Yes
  • Provides the most accurate info
  • Offers a free People Search
  • Dark web scan

TruthFinder is the best free background check site on our list. While it does have a subscription-based service that unlocks full reports and an extensive background check, it offers its People Search free of charge. Additionally, it has features like the dark web scan, which helps it stand out from the competition.

Features

TruthFinder is not a consumer reporting agency, either. While it does scan official government databases and archives and strives to provide the most accurate information possible, this data cannot be used for screening candidates. However, it is widely considered to be the best site to check criminal background thanks to the in-depth reports it compiles.

In addition to criminal background checks encompassing previous arrests, warrants, and so forth, TruthFinder also provides access to court filings, a variety of personal information like names of relatives, date of birth, bankruptcies, tax liens, weapons permits, property records, and much more. However, this kind of federal background check is a paid option.

The free People Search only provides you with tidbits of basic information, but that can also be extremely useful if you’re trying to locate a lost relative or get in contact with a former colleague. In our opinion, this makes TruthFinder potentially the best site to do a background check, as most of its competitors tend to be much stingier. TruthFinder also gives you pointers on how to obtain the various public documents yourself, should you wish to do so.

Furthermore, TruthFinder allows you to conduct a dark web scan. This search engine is used to see if your personal data has been leaked on the dark web – a great addition to the usual search options.

Speed-wise, TruthFinder is smack bang in the middle – not particularly fast, but on par with its paid competitors. The accuracy of the information provided is its strong suit, made more interesting with facts not usually on offer, like astrological compatibility.

Pricing

By now you’re probably used to the fact that even the best criminal background check site obscures its pricing until you run an actual background check, and the same is true of TruthFinder.

The monthly fee for unlimited searches is $27.78, or you can get a two-month bundle for $46.04 ($23.02 per month). You can also buy a reverse phone number check membership for $4.99/mo.

Final thoughts

While similar to other background check services, TruthFinder stands out with its dark web search, greater transparency, and free People Search.

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5. BeenVerified

" Best for criminal background checks "

beenverified logo
  • FCRA-approved
    No
  • Result speed
    20+ min
  • Free search
    No
  • Great criminal background check
  • Thorough searches
  • Trustworthy results

Things we liked / disliked:

  • Access to numerous databases
  • Cheaper than Instant Checkmate
  • Easy-to-use UI
  • Lack of pricing transparency

Things we liked / disliked:

  • Access to numerous databases
  • Cheaper than Instant Checkmate
  • Easy-to-use UI
  • Lack of pricing transparency
  • FCRA-approved
    No
  • Result speed
    20+ min
  • Free search
    No
  • Great criminal background check
  • Thorough searches
  • Trustworthy results

BeenVerified is a fairly popular background check site that helps you find who you’re looking for. Like many a contender for the title of best site for a background check, it doesn’t provide any information that you couldn’t get otherwise, but it does save you an incredible amount of time and effort by compiling all this data and presenting you with complete reports.

Features

BeenVerified is not a consumer reporting agency, and the site has multiple disclaimers stating this to avoid any confusion or improper use. As such, you are not allowed to use the information acquired via BeenVerified for employee or tenant screening, loan approval, and so forth. To address those needs, look for the best background check site for landlords or other specialist companies.

These disclaimers are important, as there has been legal action in the past against sites that failed to make this distinction clear. Before you run your search on BeenVerified, you have to comply with FCRA regulations for using the provided data.

While a decade ago you’d be forced to personally scour courts, police stations, and other government institutions to get this info, now most of it can be obtained online. Still, it would take an incredible amount of time to obtain it, so BeenVerified does this for you – for a price.

It may not be the best background check site for employers, nor can it legally be used that way, but BeenVerified does provide you with a variety of potentially useful knowledge. This includes addresses, phone numbers, social media accounts, photos, and criminal/court records.

One significant pitfall of BeenVerified is its slow searching pace: During our test, we waited for 20+ minutes to get a report. Still, this doesn’t seem too unreasonable considering how long it would take to manually rifle through all those databases.

Pricing

After the site runs its seemingly free criminal background check and other scans, you’re greeted by the payment page – a trick we’ve already seen with Instant Checkmate and the other best employment background check site options.

BeenVerified charges a monthly fee of $26.89, for which you get access to unlimited searches. The price goes down to $17.48 per month if you subscribe for three months ($52.44 in total).

Final thoughts

Sourcing its info from public government databases, BeenVerified provides mostly accurate data and is cheaper than Instant Checkmate. However, it suffers from the same pitfalls – slow speed and a lack of transparency.

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6. US Search

" Best for detailed property records "

US search logo
  • FCRA-approved:
    No
  • Result speed
    Less than a minute
  • Free search
    No
  • Trial membership available
  • Affordable basic search
  • Hassle-free cancellation

Things we liked / disliked:

  • Quick results
  • Sources updated daily
  • Simple and user-friendly
  • Many report information omissions
  • Poor customer service

Things we liked / disliked:

  • Quick results
  • Sources updated daily
  • Simple and user-friendly
  • Many report information omissions
  • Poor customer service
  • FCRA-approved:
    No
  • Result speed
    Less than a minute
  • Free search
    No
  • Trial membership available
  • Affordable basic search
  • Hassle-free cancellation

Founded in 2016 and headquartered in Seattle, Washington, US Search gathers personal information in no time and focuses mostly on property details. Customer reviews suggest that this thorough search service might lack accuracy, but it comes at an affordable price.

Users do not identify US Search as the market’s very best site for running a background check, but the company’s simple, stodgy interface is undeniably easy to use, and you’ll get swift, detailed responses to your data requests.

Features

The US Search website doesn’t appear to be built with cutting-edge technology, but it offers a wide range of information. You can find out a person’s date of birth, phone numbers, address history, government license information, properties, related persons, public arrest records, social media profiles, email addresses, and even nearby sex offenders.

You’ll be prompted to choose from six somewhat unclear submission options. Differences are almost non-existent, as the search button leads you to results pages that appear to be the same. The information is spotty and not reliable.

The only thing you really need to type into this relatively affordable background check website is the name, city, and state of the person you’re looking for. You’ll get results in the blink of an eye. But you’ll have to submit your email address and agree not to harass or stalk the individual you’re searchign for.

US Search attests that all the information it collects from you is kept absolutely confidential.

After you have signed up, you can view your report online or download and print it.

Pricing

After US Search has combed through publicly available databases, what you’ll get is a free report with two basic pieces of information: age and possible relatives. If you want more data, you’ll have to pay.

US Search charges $1.99 for a five-day trial. That’s a good price, and if you’re looking for data on just one person, that could be all you ever pay. But if you want full membership, you’ll be charged $19.86. US Search charges more as searches become more detailed. At the top of the menu is a $39.95 option.

You can pay with your credit card or PayPal, and you can cancel your subscription at any time without much hassle.

Final thoughts

We were a bit disappointed with the bare-bones results we got from US Search. This service may not be the best background check for employers checking their employees’ background, business searches, or landlords. But if you want to know who is behind the phone number that keeps calling you, or if you need a basic level of peace of mind regarding a new tenant, you might opt for this public data check company.

US Search may seem a bit shady, but rest assured that it’s legit and legal, though not approved by FSCA.

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7. Checkr

" Best for employment verification "

checkr logo
  • FCRA-approved
    Yes (as a credit reporting agency (CRA)
  • Result speed
    Less than a minute
  • Free search
    First search only
  • Criminal records checks
  • Verification checks
  • Civil searches

Things we liked / disliked:

  • National and international employment verifications
  • User-friendly website
  • Comprehensive people searching tools
  • No transparent pricing

Things we liked / disliked:

  • National and international employment verifications
  • User-friendly website
  • Comprehensive people searching tools
  • No transparent pricing
  • FCRA-approved
    Yes (as a credit reporting agency (CRA)
  • Result speed
    Less than a minute
  • Free search
    First search only
  • Criminal records checks
  • Verification checks
  • Civil searches

Our search for the best background check site continues with Checkr, a company that uses AI-powered technology to improve background checks and ensure a safer and more detailed hiring process. Checkr is a San Francisco-based company that was founded in 2014. Throughout the years, Checkr has expanded its features to accommodate the needs of businesses of all kinds. Today, its solutions serve healthcare, hospitality, retail, tech, and manufacturing industries, as well as some non-profit organizations.

Features

Checkr’s background check screenings include criminal background checks, verification checks, drug and health screenings, driver screenings, civil searches, and registry searches.

A detailed criminal background search is one of the crucial elements for each company competing to become the best background search site around. This feature works by compiling local and national records to help employers check their candidates for possible criminal backgrounds.

The employment history checks and verifications give employers a chance to verify the candidate’s previous employment details. With it, employers will have an insight into their potential workers’ prior experience and ability to meet the industry standards.

The county and federal civil searches check into the candidate’s legal history, including restraining orders or breach of contract suits. This is an important feature that can help protect your brand’s reputation and maintain workplace safety.

Being the best background check site for employers requires more than just some basic features, and Checkr understands that perfectly well. Apart from the previously mentioned searches, Checkr also has the pre-employment drug and health screening test and the driver and motor vehicle report employment check.

The pre-employment drug and health screenings aim to determine a candidate’s eligibility for a specific role and overall health. It includes the controlled substance checks and occupational health tests. The driver and motor vehicle reports (driving background checks) give employers an insight into the candidate’s driver’s license status and class, driving records, violations, suspensions, and more.

Pricing

Checkr may not be the best free site to check the criminal background of your current or potential employees, as there are no free versions of the software available. You can, however, get one free search by registering on the platform.

Another downside to Checkr is that the company does not display any prices online. To get the pricing details, you need to reach out to their customer support and get a customized quote. The prices we got were as follows:

  • Employment and education verification checks are only $9 each.
  • Standard background check costs $21, while the Pro check is $29.
  • Employment Pro check will set you back $47.
  • A standard driver check is $25, while the Driver Pro check is $33.

These prices may change, so we advise you to contact Checkr’s sales department to see if this is the best online background check site for your business and get a custom quote for your desired search.

Final thoughts

Checkr has one of the most comprehensive sets of people searching tools we have ever seen on a background check site. Its thorough criminal background check procedures, civil searches, and verification checks make it one of the best all-in-one databases on the Internet. However, its lack of transparent pricing can be a big turn-off. There is an extensive knowledge center and a contact form through which you can directly get in touch with the support team, but we do wish there was a quicker way to find out the costs and fees involved in using Checkr’s services.

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Methodology

Finding the best site to do a background check can be a difficult task. As a highly sought-after service, background checking has created a pretty crowded market. Picking the right one out of the bunch is nearly impossible without the right tools to tell companies apart. That’s why we’ve outlined our evaluation methodology below.

FCRA compliance

We’ve already covered how the FCRA regulates different kinds of background check companies. In our reviews, we considered whether companies advertising themselves as consumer reporting agencies are fully FCRA-compliant. If they’re not a CRA, any site that strives to be the best site to check someone’s background without legal consequences should have clear disclaimers that they do not provide official reports to be used in selection processes. Failure to do so is unlawful and could lead to legal repercussions both for the site and those using it improperly.

Result quality

In our quest to find out what is the best background check site, one metric stands out from the rest: the quality of the results. No background checker is worth much if the results it presents are completely inaccurate. While there are absolutely no guarantees when it comes to non-CRA providers about the accuracy of the information, we try to find companies that provide top-quality data.

Result speed

Every provider on our best site to check a background list differs slightly in the speed at which it processes results. This depends on multiple factors; the search engine used and the type of search conducted can greatly impact the speed, as more in-depth searches – such as criminal background checks – take longer. Furthermore, the site’s interface itself can take a toll on speedy result retrieval.

Search options

Background check companies can offer a variety of different search types and have access to a wide array of databases. These can include a criminal record check, reverse phone searches, vehicle registration, public records, dark web scans, and more.

The best and most comprehensive background check site or app needs to have exhaustive and varied search capabilities, combined with the ability to provide these results quickly and accurately.

Pricing

Most background check companies charge for their services. While free options certainly exist, they are few and far between, and usually offer low-quality search results. For the majority of these services, you should be prepared to dish out some cash, either in the form of a monthly fee or paying a one-off price each time you run a check.

One common occurrence in this market is companies providing you with your first background check for free, then charging you for any subsequent ones.

FAQ

Is there a totally free background check?

If you’re looking for the best free background check site, backgroundchecks.org is probably the optimal choice. However, it mostly tells you how to scan various databases yourself, and does not wield the power, quickness, or accuracy of paid background check options.

Is BeenVerified a reliable site?

While BeenVerified does not have to guarantee the accuracy of its results, it has proven to be extremely reliable in our tests.

What background check do most employers use?

The most important background checks employers use are criminal background checks, credit checks, and employment history checks.

What is the best way to do a background check on someone?

While you could do a background check by going through the plethora of publicly available databases yourself, we recommend using a provider from our best background check site list. With them, you’ll save an incredible amount of time and effort while gaining very accurate reports.