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The Best Background Check Services

Where Can You Get the Most Accurate and Affordable Background Checks?

You're already well aware of the fact that you can find out lots about people with a simple Google search, but what if you need to know more? There are plenty of reasons to pay for a background check, from vetting your newest love interest to making sure a childcare provider doesn't have a criminal past.

These paid platforms can access records that won't show up in a traditional search - and they save you time by pulling together information from thousands of databases into one place. When you run a background check, most services will give you two tiers of pricing: basic and "premium" . What's the difference? A basic search typically renders results showing a person's known aliases (like maiden names) and relatives, address history, phone number, email addresses, and possibly social media accounts.

Friday, July 19th

2024 Background Check Service Reviews

PeopleFinders Review Top Consumer Reviews Best-In-Class Blue Ribbon Award 5 Star Rating


5 Star Rating Top Consumer Reviews Best-In-Class Blue Ribbon Award

PeopleFinders is the best all-around choice for background checks, from basic information searches to comprehensive reports. Each service includes an inexpensive trial and monthly pricing under $30 should you choose to become a member. PeopleFinders has earned a 5-star rating from over 1000 users, and it's our preferred way to get accurate, affordable background checks.

Spokeo Review 4 Star Rating


4 Star Rating

Spokeo's background search engine takes a bit more time at first, but the accuracy of the results make it worth the effort. You'll be able to see if they've matched the person you're looking for, to determine if you should pay for access. You'll only get 150 monthly searches with the membership plan that includes court and historical records, but unless you're a business or LEO that should be more than enough. Spokeo is in our top three picks for effective, accurate background checks.

Info Tracer Review 4 Star Rating

Info Tracer

4 Star Rating

InfoTracer gives you access to accurate data, an inexpensive week-long trial, and fantastic 24/7 customer service - including search help from their support team, if you need it. The basic search capabilities here are included in an affordable monthly fee, but you'll pay anywhere from $9 to $25 on a per-report basis for the more in-depth searches typically included in a background check. You may want to use a different service if you're researching lots of individuals, but InfoTracer is a provider you can trust either way.

Direct Screening Review 3.5 Star Rating

Direct Screening

3.5 Star Rating

If you need a background search that is FCRA compliant for tenant/employment/volunteer screening, Direct Screening is a great choice. You'll need the individual's SSN, birthdate, and consent to run their report, but you'll only pay for each report you request: no monthly membership fees here. Direct Screening has a good track record with the BBB and is a service you can trust, but it's more limited than most of the background check platforms in our review.

Find Out The Truth Review 3 Star Rating

Find Out The Truth

3 Star Rating

Find Out The Truth puts background checking in the hands of professionals - literally. When you submit a report request here, it can take up to 24 business hours for results because a licensed investigator will personally see to it. Pricing is what you'd expect for such detailed work. The company has an "A+" from the BBB and has been around for over 20 years, but there's not enough feedback from clients to earn Find Out The Truth one of our highest ratings.

US Search Review 2.5 Star Rating

US Search

2.5 Star Rating

When deciding among the four sister sites in our review - US Search, Intelius, Truthfinder and Instant Checkmate - US Search is probably the best route. You won't spend more than $20/month for basic searches, and a five-day trial is only $1.99. Like the other three sites, you'll pay extra to search the kind of records typically included in a background check, and they don't disclose how much that is until you've paid for a trial. But, if you insist on using a PeopleConnect service, this is the least objectionable of the four.

Intelius Review 2.5 Star Rating


2.5 Star Rating

Intelius doesn't really stand out with respect to background checks. Most searching only connects you with the most basic of details, and the service doesn't disclose upfront that you'll have to pay for "premium" database access. As one of four services owned by PeopleConnect (which also includes US Search, Instant Checkmate, and Truthfinder), Intelius shares the same "barely average" rating among providers of background checks.

Truthfinder Review 2 Star Rating


2 Star Rating

If all you need is basic information, Truthfinder has several background check options: a one-time fee for a single report, a five-day trial of unlimited basic searches, or subscriptions of 1-2 months. The results here are more accurate than many comparable services, and you'll get a preview sufficient to verify that you've matched up with the right individual's records. Unfortunately, Truthfinder users report that their own background check results are inaccurate, and there are some problems with billing disputes. We don't recommend Truthfinder for performing background checks.

Instant Checkmate Review 2 Star Rating

Instant Checkmate

2 Star Rating

Instant Checkmate has three sister sites, and this is the least favorite among them. You'll pay more here, and searches will take about 20 minutes to run. Our background search returned accurate results, but many users aren't so lucky. Don't sign up for a subscription to this service until you've taken advantage of the five-day trial, because chances are it won't give you the background check details you're expecting.

BeenVerified Review 1.5 Star Rating


1.5 Star Rating

Short For 15+ years, BeenVerified has offered background check services to everyday consumers. This platform gives you the basics of people, address, and phone number search, plus additional features like vehicle and business lookups. BeenVerified gives no hints as to the results they find for you: you have to jump in and pay for a monthly plan. Users say the reports here are horribly inaccurate, and complain that canceled memberships continue to be charged months later. BeenVerified doesn't get our recommendation.

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Continued from above...

To get to the kinds of records you've probably got in mind, like criminal and court proceedings, you'll have to upgrade to the premium service. That may be included as an add-on to a monthly subscription cost or as a one-off fee each time you conduct a search.

As you consider whether or not to conduct a background check, it's important to understand that some uses are strictly prohibited - and every service will require you to acknowledge those limitations at some point during the process (usually with an "I accept" or "I agree" checkbox). Identified as FCRA (short for Fair Credit Reporting Act), this regulation means that you can't use a background check service to influence decisions on employment, tenant applications, insurance, and several other scenarios. There are a small number of services that offer FCRA compliant searches, but expect to pay accordingly.

No matter which background check service you ultimately select, there's one good reason to visit more than one site: to protect your privacy by requesting that your own records be removed from their listings. Look for a link at the bottom of the site that says "Opt Out" or "Do Not Sell My Information" . From there, you'll either conduct a search for your own records (at no cost) or provide the URL you got when you looked up your own profile previously. Once you click the link sent in a confirmation email, it can take several business days for your info to be deleted (though we've seen it happen almost instantly as well).

With so many platforms offering background checks, which one is right for you? Keep in mind these criteria as you make your decision:

  • Accuracy of Information. Background check services don't guarantee that their reports are accurate: public records can have errors, and with common names it's not unheard of to have incorrectly-attributed results. However, some services have a better reputation for quality data. You may want to search for your own report to get a feel for how on-target your results will be if you do a background check on someone else.
  • Value. What will you get for what you spend? Is there a trial period that lets you test out the background check service before committing to a paid plan? How does that monthly fee compare with rival services?
  • Reputation. What do other customers say about their experience with running background checks with the service? Has the Better Business Bureau given the provider a favorable rating?
  • Customer Support. Some background check services let you get one-on-one help to find the information you need. Are support reps easily reached if you have questions or issues with billing?

To help you get all of the information you need. TopConsumerReviews.com has evaluated and ranked the most popular background search providers available today. Are you ready to find out more about your neighbor, date, or coworker? Choose one of our highest-ranked services and see what you discover!

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Background Check Service FAQ

The information provided by a background check is determined by the service you select. Common details include traffic offenses and arrest records, known addresses and phone numbers, property ownership and court cases. Some of the more thorough services even attempt to track social media profiles and look for the individual's presence on the Dark Web.
That also depends on which provider you use to run the check. Most services make it more affordable to pay for a month of access than to run a one-off report. For example, one service charges $29.95 for a single background check, but $29.89 for a month of unlimited reports! You can take advantage of the longer subscription terms to research to your heart's content!
There are lots of reasons you might want to do a background check. Maybe you're in charge of a membership list that has outdated information and you need to track down the new contact details for a few people. Or you might be curious about your new neighbors and want to get some insights before you reach out (though, honestly, that might be a little creepy!). Background checks can also give you some peace of mind if you're into the online dating thing, to make sure that seemingly nice man or woman really is who they say they are before you meet in person.
Usually just a few minutes. You'll enter the information you have, like name and any known addresses, and then you might be asked to provide other details or confirm preliminary results as a match.
Absolutely! It's a great way to determine what someone else might find if they check YOU out! It can also give you a heads-up if you're going to have a background check done for some official purpose, like applying to be a foster parent or for a job that requires one. If you find something in your results that's inaccurate, it gives you time to get it fixed or to prepare an explanation for your agency or prospective employer.
Yes. You may not use consumer background check services to gather information to make decisions about tenant screening, insurance, employment or consumer credit. These all require FCRA-compliant platforms, which typically involve the consent of the person being screened. If you need a background check for any of these purposes, be sure to choose a service specifically designed to be legal and compliant.
This varies widely by service. Some providers really go to great lengths to return accurate results, while others seem to just scour the internet and dump every remotely-possible match they find. It's a good idea to read reviews and check out a background check provider's reputation before paying to run reports.
Most of the time, there isn't. However, many background check services give you a free trial, ranging from a day or two to a full week. Who knows, you might even be able to get the information you were looking for in that timespan and not need to continue on as a paid subscriber!

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