You know that visceral feeling you get when you’re looking at someone in the eyes and you know they’re lying to you? It’s the worst! Sometimes you can’t verify the information you’re being given but with a little patience and creative detective work, you can get to the truth in mere seconds. The best background check service is one that gifts you with peace of mind. Sometimes, all you need is a little more information about a person’s employment history to make sense of their story. Other times, you may need to do a criminal background check to better understand who you’re dealing with.
While the Fair Credit Reporting Act limits your ability to use the information you find, background check companies make it easy for you to pull the mask off a person and find out everything you need to know. A quick online search will reveal several background check services, but how do you know which one you need? Each background check company is a little different, though most offer similar services. To uncover the best background check company, we did the work for you. In this article, we highlight how each background check service works, what type of information you can expect to uncover, and what your membership options look like. If you’re ready to learn the truth about someone, you’ve come to the right place.
Top 4 Background Check Services
- Truthfinder – Top-Pick for Best Background Check
- Instant Checkmate – Runner Up
- Peoplefinders – Honorable Mention
- Spokeo – Informative Provider
Why Did We Choose These Four Companies?
When you’re looking into someone from your past or someone who is in your present, having proper information on background reports is crucial. We looked at the following factors when choosing the best background check services.
- Easy Navigation for Background Checks
The best background check services are simple to use, with a search box conveniently situated at the top of the page, allowing you to begin your search straight away.
- Customer Support
For us to include a background check company in our best background check services list, they must have excellent customer service teams. While you can search independently and be satisfied, if something were to occur that requires support, great customer service makes all the difference.
- Background Check Types
We chose websites that provide a wide range of records, so you can find the one that best meets your needs. Under certain circumstances, a thorough search of criminal records and potentially arrest records is more important than financial history. Other times, your search may require special attention to contact information and possible relatives. Whatever your need, we included background checks that cater to you.
- Company Reputation
We looked at client reviews, testimonials, and industry expert analyses to make sure the companies on this list are well-known and committed to providing high-quality background check reports and assistance.
Top Background Check Services – Reviews
Truthfinder – Top-Pick for Best Background Check
- Search using different pieces of information
- Reconnect with lost loved ones with background checks
- A deeper dive than regular online searches
- Includes social media details
- International information unavailable
How Truthfinder Works
As soon as you hop onto the Truthfinder website, you can search using a simple first name and last name along with the city and state. Truthfinder then immediately searches through their public records to provide you with a full background check on the person you are inquiring about. They offer different membership types, which means you can search in a variety of different ways. No matter what type of membership you choose, you are provided with thorough background check reports.
Information Included in Background Check
The details provided by Truthfinder include information that not only helps you identify the person you’re looking into, but also includes information regarding their location, any possible relatives or associates, their criminal records and/or arrest records, their employment background checks, and education history, and even their social media data. Whether you’re looking into someone you’re dating or someone you want to do business with, you’ll find information about their dating profiles, their assets, and even information like their birth records.
Truthfinder allows you to purchase a standard membership, which means that you have access to unlimited background checks. If you’re not ready to commit to a long-term membership, no problem. Truthfinder also allows you to buy a membership that only lasts between one and two months. Pricing varies depending on the type of membership you purchase; however, when you have a membership with Truthfinder, you gain access to unlimited background check searches. Look into anyone you want, including yourself. If you need to cancel at any time, you can do so online or by getting into contact with their customer service support line.
Why Truthfinder Made the Top 4 List
Truthfinder has a fantastic reputation. They have over 60,000 five-star reviews from verified customers who have nothing but good things to say about the service. Not only do they find the background checks full of important information, but they also recognize that great customer service makes their experience even better. You can look into information from social media and dive deeper into criminal records, including arrests. Truthfinder is also regularly recognized by popular publications. They’re available from 7 AM to 7 PM PST Monday through Friday.
Instant Checkmate – Runner Up
- Specialized sources provide data
- Customer privacy prioritized
- Unlimited background checks for members
- 128-bit encrypted connection
- Single background check purchases unavailable; membership required
How Instant Checkmate Works
Instant Checkmate makes it super easy for you to access a variety of databases using just a name or a phone number. All you need to do is enter a few details of the person you’re inquiring about, and Instant Checkmate does the rest. They use advanced algorithms to search public records and immediately provide you with a robust set of findings. Their search bar is extremely easy to use and once you have entered the few details you have, just click on the green search button. The search is completed in seconds and Instant Checkmate provides you with a background check report that is full of identifying information, contact information, and more.
Information Included in Background Check
You can expect a full background check report from Instant Checkmate every time. They’ll give you information about a person’s location, including any of their previous addresses, no matter what state they’ve lived in within the United States. They also provide you with a list of telephone numbers associated with that name, whether those numbers are current or previous. Additionally, you are provided with links to any other possible relatives, including an option to look further into anybody they possibly know personally. Identifying information includes ethnicity/race, height, weight, hair color, and eye color. If the person you’re inquiring about has any kind of social media profile set up, you’ll be privy to that information as well.
Instant Checkmate does require a membership to use their services but it’s completely worth it. You’ll be able to figure out all the information you need about people in your social circle and even people in your professional circle. To sign up, all you have to do is create a username and password and Instant Checkmate sets up your account right away. If you know that you’ll be using the service for several months, you can set up a quarterly membership or you can set up a month-to-month membership if that’s preferable. If you’re interested in the service but you’re not sure you’re ready to commit to a membership, Instant Checkmate makes it easy for you to try out their service completely free for five days. During this time, you can get acquainted with the system and decide if it’s something that you want to follow through with. If you would like to cancel before your membership starts or even after you have a membership, it’s an easy process. You can cancel online, or you can email them to request cancellation. However, once you recognize how thorough Instant Checkmate is, you’ll want to keep your membership active.
Why Instant Checkmate Made the Top 4 List
Instant Checkmate makes the background check process check simple. You don’t have to do much other than enter a few pieces of information to get access to records that make the difference between a sound decision and a poorly informed one. If you were to look up this information yourself, you may spend hours online, even visiting downtown (with all those one-way streets!) where you’d have to submit a written request for many of the documents Instant Checkmate provides right away. Instead of wasting your time, Instant Checkmate provides you with an avenue to gain access to public records within seconds. They utilize modern technology to make your life a lot easier, especially if you’re looking into more than one person.
PeopleFinders – Honorable Mention
- User-friendly website interface
- Background check service with over 40 billion records
- Website and app access for background checks
- Thorough information included
- Membership cancellation may only be completed by phone
How Peoplefinders Works
To use Peoplefinders, you just need a name, an email address, phone number, or even just a property address. Hop on your laptop to complete a search or if you’re on the go, just log on to the background check site using your phone. As soon as you enter whatever information you have, Peoplefinders immediately pulls up results by accessing a wide variety of both public and private records. In no time at all, you’ll be provided with a full background check report that shines the spotlight on the person you’re inquiring about.
Information Included in Background Check
When you use Peoplefinders to pull up a background check report, you’ll get several pieces of information. First, you’ll be able to identify the person you’re looking into by learning about their contact information, including any of their current and past addresses. You’ll also immediately be provided with phone numbers associated with that name, any criminal records they have, and even some financial information, including bankruptcies. You are provided with information regarding their possible relatives or associates and can learn more about them through their social media profiles and any of their known aliases.
This is one of the top services because Peoplefinders allows you to reconnect with people from your past. Whether it’s a long-lost friend, a long-lost lover, or a family member that you haven’t heard from in a while, Peoplefinders makes it easy to get connected. Their background check site is extremely simple to use. All you need is a name, an email address, or a phone number, and right away you can be transported into your past. You’ll be provided with information about that person‘s criminal records, which is always a good idea if you’re looking to reconnect with someone from your past! You’ll also be provided with their contact information so that you can reach out to them right away.
Why Peoplefinders Made the Top 4 List
New users can take advantage of introductory offers that Peoplefinders makes available, which saves you a lot of money on a monthly membership. Peoplefinders also recognizes that you may not need the service long-term, so they make the cancellation process easy. As long as you have the information you need, Peoplefinders is happy to serve you.
Spokeo – Informative Provider
- Easy format for background checks
- Enterprise capacity available
- Award-winning background check service
- Easily track phone numbers
- Membership required for background checks (easily cancellation process)
How Spokeo Works
Just like the other services mentioned in this article, Spokeo makes your search simple. All you need is a name, an email address, a property address, or a phone number to start. Use whatever you have available to you and Spokeo takes care of the detective work. Once you use their search bar, just click on the “search now” button and Spokeo immediately goes to work to provide you with the information you need.
Information Included in Background Check
A background check from Spokeo means you got information like criminal records, possible relatives, possible associates, social media information, and even lifestyle interests. You can learn about a person’s income, employment history, and any other information available through public records, including contact and location information.
The great thing about Spokeo is that they don’t require membership for you to pull a background check. Instead, they allow you to purchase single background checks! This is perhaps one of the favorite features of this background check site for many of its users. If you are interested in a membership, however, they do offer the ability to access background checks throughout the month by paying their monthly fee. You may find that their membership format is a little bit more convenient, especially if you’re looking to find information about a person’s social circle. Instead of just accessing a single background check, you can dig deeper by pulling multiple background checks. This allows you to look into the possible relatives and possible associates of the person you’re inquiring about to gain a broader perspective.
Why Spokeo Made the Top 4 List
One of the amazing perks of Spokeo is that they provide you with live background checks. This means that from the moment you pull a background check, you are opening the internet portal to any information related to that person. This means that any new information that becomes available through public records is provided to you at no additional cost. For example, if you are looking into a person’s criminal records but they haven’t been updated yet, Spokeo makes sure to keep you updated with any new information that comes across their platform. Not only do they do the detective work upfront, but they also make sure that they keep you updated with all the information you need on the person you initially inquired about.
What Are the Different Types of Background Checks?
There are many different types of background checks. The best background check is the one best suited for your specific needs. Most of the information below is included in a single report depending on the service you use.
Background Checks Including Criminal History
Background checks include information on a person’s criminal history. The services scour a wide variety of public databases to uncover information usually found in national criminal databases, county criminal court records, and even domestic and global terrorist watchlists. A criminal background check includes details on any prior offenses and convictions and may sometimes include information related to sexual offenses. These details are vital when meeting new people, when dating online, or when needing to find out more information about a person you may be spending a lot of time with.
Background Checks on Previous Employment
Background checks also include previous employment information. Sort of like the way previous employment is listed on a resume, background checks outline confirmed places of a person’s previous employment. This information can help you verify if what a person is telling you is truthful. This could be somebody that you recently started dating or a new friend who is sharing a lot about their previous employment. With background checks, you can confirm that what they’re saying is true.
Background Checks on Education
A background check may also include education information. Just like people may lie about their previous employment, they may also think it’s no big deal to fib about where they went to school. A check confirms previous schools, which means you’ll know up front if the person you’re connecting with is being honest about their educational past.
Social Media/Online Presence Background Checks
Perhaps one of the most fun aspects of the background check is the social media/online presence section. This section usually pulls up any known profiles, whether they were created years ago or are currently active. You can use a person’s online presence to verify their identity because they typically post photos of themselves. If photos are available, they are included in the background check report for you to review. These photos also allow you to confirm previous acquaintances or relationships and can help you dig a little bit deeper into the social circle of the person you are inquiring about.
Background Checks on Driving and Traffic Infractions
Driving and traffic information includes anything related to traffic accidents, driving record points, the status of their driver’s license, any DUIs, and other traffic law violations. This information is especially helpful if you are part of a carpooling system, or if you send your children off on play dates with other parents. Knowing what a person’s driving record looks like can help put your mind at ease, especially when entrusting yourself or one of your loved ones to their care on the road.
Sexual Offender Registry Background Checks
If a person is listed on the sexual offender registry, this will immediately show up on a background check report. This information is made public for public safety and can come in handy wherever you are. If you have just moved to a new neighborhood, this is always important information to know, especially if you have children. Additionally, any person you bring into your life should be screened to ensure they don’t have a criminal history of this degree.
What Does a Background Check Show?
Above we discussed the different background checks available through each of the services we highlighted and below, we break down the information you are likely to uncover when you pull a background check from any one of these sites.
Usually, when you pull a background check, you only have a few pieces of identifying information. This could be a first name and last name, phone number, or email address. The first pieces of information you’ll see on a background check report include personal information that helps you verify the identity of the person you’re looking into. Here, you’ll also be provided with their birthdate and any known aliases. It could be that the person has deceived you about their age or their name, and this information helps you verify that you are looking at the correct background check report.
Possible Relatives and Relationships
Listed close to the top of the background check is information regarding any possible relationships. This includes any relatives, which can also help you confirm the identity of the person you’re looking into and may even list possible relationships, which gives insight into their social circle. Often, you’ll be provided with the ability to look up the background check of any of their possible relatives or relationships, sometimes at no cost.
Especially if you’re looking to reconnect with a long-lost loved one, contact information is a great perk of a background check report. You may be provided with their current address, any known phone numbers, and any known email addresses. These key pieces of information can help you get in touch with somebody from your past so that you can start the process of reuniting.
Property history includes any known property details, including single-family residences and investment properties. This information could help verify the past of a person you’re inquiring about and can also help you make sound decisions when vetting a potential business associate.
Criminal information includes anything from misdemeanors to felonies, which are the more serious of the two. Details could include the person’s crime and their arrest date as well. You may also be able to uncover case-specific details, including the name of the court where the person was convicted along with any case numbers associated with their criminal records.
Some background checks also include financial history, including any assets the person owns. If you are dating and worried about a person misrepresenting themselves or their financial status, this is a very helpful aspect of a background check. Similarly, if you are looking to build a business relationship with someone, knowing a bit about their financial history can give you a better perspective from which to decide on how to move forward with them.
How Long Does a Background Check Take?
In the time it takes you to check your email or your favorite social media channel, you can expect to acquire the information you require from one of the best background check services. Some bits of information may take longer to retrieve in rare circumstances. However, you’ll find that most of the information you’d require in a background check is supplied almost instantaneously.
If you’re in a rush, the background check sites we list above can get you results faster than you’d think! They are each equipped with complex algorithms that quickly take a deep dive into the net. Whether you’re in a bind requiring information right away or a background check is part of a standard process for you, the results you need are only a few clicks away.
What makes the best background check service?
There are a few things to think about while deciding on the best background check services. Because not every service is perfect for your needs, we’ve provided some facts to think about before choosing the best background check service for you.
Instant access is a priority for many people when searching for a background check online. This is especially crucial if you’re working on a tight deadline. Make sure you know how long the turnaround time will be ahead of time so you can acquire all of the information you require when you need it. Keep in mind that some kinds of information may take longer to obtain than the standard instant background checks.
Additionally, you should be able to access the report you pull at any time, from any computer. One of the most significant features of a background check service is the ease of access, so make sure you can create a login and receive the information you’ve already looked up. Your background checks will most likely be downloaded and used that way, however, if your data is corrupted, you can rely on your online access to obtain any of the background checks you’ve previously run.
Sometimes, customer service centers can only be reached by phone. However, on many occasions, they can be reached by online chat, or via email. Each service lists its hours of operation so you know when you can contact them to reach a live person. If it’s after hours, sending a quick email can be helpful so you can wake up to a response by morning. A solid customer service team helps to make your experience easier, can help you navigate the website, and can even help you pick the best membership option for your needs. On some occasions, particularly when they’re running a promotion, customer service can help you save on their services!
Budgets are important considerations no matter what you’re purchasing. Although monthly memberships offer the most value, you may find that a single background check better fits your needs. If you’re more interested in looking into several different people at once, a membership is your best bet. You can review different pricing models, check out the background check types they offer and make your final determination.
Types of Background Checks Offered
Every background check website is different. Aside from the fundamental information provided by a background check, several companies provide extra services. One site, for example, might specialize in offering detailed criminal histories, including court records. Another site might be preferable for learning more about a person’s financial and real estate background. Another form of service might be more suited to digging through social media profiles and determining any probable relationships the person you’re looking into has. Before deciding on the best background check services for your needs, make sure to have a solid understanding of what they each offer.
Are background check services legal?
Yes, so long as you abide by the Fair Credit Reporting Act! You may not use any of the information retrieved through these services to make employment decisions. However, if you’re searching for personal reasons to better inform yourself of the people in your vicinity, then you are well within the law. Even if you pull up employment history, the information should only be used for personal reasons. The best background check services dig deep and deliver criminal records, court records, and other important details for you to make determinations about whether you want to keep a connection. It’s not always the case that you use a background check process to look into a person new to your life. There are also occasions when a background check helps you reconnect with someone you lost touch with years ago. So long as you continue abiding by the Fair Credit Reporting Act, you are all set!
Background check services are like turning on the light in a dark room. Not only do you gain access to important information like court records, but background checks give you the insight you need to make sound decisions about who you let into your life. The best background check service is the one that delivers the details you decide you need; whether you’re more interested in a thorough criminal report or if you’re more intrigued to learn about a person’s financial and property history. Whatever you decide on, background checks will eliminate any lingering doubt you may have—and that’s priceless.