Ease of Use
Help & Support
Best Background Check Services
Why Use a Background Check Service?
We spent 40 hours purchasing background check services and comparing them for accuracy. Keep in mind, these reports cannot be used for employment or renting purposes. These background checks are for informal purposes only, such as finding someone from your past or researching a potential business partner. Our reviewers looked at the information included in each report as well as the cost. Our choice for the best background check service is Intelius. It provided the most accurate report, with the most comprehensive information.
Best Overall: Intelius provides highly accurate and comprehensive background checks, among the best we tested. It’s also easy to navigate.
Best Value: If cost is your main concern, BeenVerified is the most affordable option that provides useful reports. A monthly background report costs $29.95 and a monthly subscription costs $26.89.
Best Comprehensive Reports: For a thorough background check, we recommend US Search. In addition to the standard background information, you can get details about your subject’s relatives, property and social media profiles.
Why Trust Us?
For this recent update we spent 40 hours searching for our subjects and purchasing reports on them. We’ve been reviewing background check services for 10 years, and we understand that an accurate report is absolutely the most important part of these services. One hundred percent accuracy isn’t possible, in part because these services draw from a wide range of databases, some of which may not be updated quickly. Public records databases can take months to update, so more recent incidents won’t be in the report. Also, some states and counties don’t make their databases available online. What’s more, people can also opt out and have their information removed from online databases.
Identifying the correct person is also key. You’d be surprised at how many people share even uncommon names. In fact, our test subjects had relatively common names, so our tests highlight the need for a background check to offer a quality search, one that allows you to input more than a name. The more information you know, the better. Many services let you start with a last name, but the best ones allow you to add address, age, date of birth and even phone numbers.
How We Tested
To test these services, we sought permission from some of our colleagues’ acquaintances to run background checks on them. We checked each report against what we already knew about our subjects (criminal history, marriages, property, etc.). Background checks that scored well were accurate and had the most up-to-date information on our subjects. We also looked at the types of information included in each report. This went beyond the usual suspects of criminal records and court judgments. We also determined if we could get marriage and divorce records, find a social media profile or run a sex offender check. The more complete a report, the better it rated.
What Can I Use a Background Check For?
For most of us, a background check brings to mind applying for a job or an apartment. True, those are the most common scenarios for a background check, but the services we reviewed are regulated by the U.S Fair Credit Reporting Act, which restricts their usage. With these, you can’t get information about your subject’s credit, medical or insurance history. And you can’t use the information you receive to influence a decision about employment or renting. For that kind of background check, you must use a registered consumer reporting agency. This is very important: If you use any of the services we reviewed to make a decision for employment or renting, you could face legal repercussions.
Still, there are many practical uses for the information obtained through these services. Information about a person’s bankruptcies, criminal records, court judgments or tax liens can help you choose a potential business partner, roommate or date. You can also use these services to find someone with whom you’ve lost contact. You can even run these reports on yourself to see what might show up if someone runs one on you.