Many companies featured on Money advertise with us. Opinions are our own, but compensation and
in-depth research may determine where and how companies appear. Learn more about how we make money.

Published: Nov 07, 2023 33 min read

Our editorial staff has close to a decade of experience in the background investigations industry, and our team has invested hundreds of hours researching the best background check sites. We’ve vetted 16 background check companies based on over 100 data points and reviewed the extensiveness of their searches, pricing and customer reviews. Using this research, we picked the top nine background search sites, which include Checkr, HireRight and First Advantage.

Ads by Money. We may be compensated if you click this ad.AdAds by Money disclaimer
Our Partner
Company Highlight
Our Partner

Find public records quickly and easily

  • Mobile app for iOS and Android devices
  • Live customer assistance 7 days a week
  • Search for contacts, social accounts, photos, address history, and more
Our Partner

A+ with the BBB

  • Reverse phone number lookup
  • Search for almost anyone in the US with millions of public records sources
  • Uncover arrest records, contact information, online profiles, and more
Our Partner

Paid memberships include unlimited reports

  • Leading provider of detailed and updated public records reports
  • Quick Background Checks, People Search, Criminal and Traffic Reports and more!
  • Background checks on employees and job applicants
  • Extensive FCRA compliance resources
  • Identity verification, address history, criminal records, employment & residence history, driving record, credit record
  • More than 4000 customers
  • Delivers background check results directly to employers' HR software applications
  • Drug testing available
Our Partner

Offers three different screening bundles to fit a variety of needs

  • Highly reliable credit reporting using soft inquiries
  • Criminal Report is created in minutes and remains accessible 24/7
  • Searches over 350 million state and federal criminal databases
  • Accredited by the Better Business Bureau

Why Trust Us?

Our editors and writers evaluate background check companies independently, ensuring our content is precise and guided by editorial integrity. Read the full methodology to learn more.

  • Over 100 data points evaluated
  • 16 background check companies vetted
  • More than 80 authoritative sources used

Whether you're hiring, are involved in a legal case or are going on a first date, a background check site could give you the information you need to make an informed decision.

However, it’s important to note that you can't use just any site for all searches.

If you're conducting background checks on potential employees, domestic workers or tenants you need a background check site that complies with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). This act, aimed at protecting consumers’ privacy, places limits on the kind of information that you can obtain on prospective employees and others.

By contrast, you don’t need to use an FCRA-compliant background check site if you want to conduct a search on yourself, a new neighbor or someone you’re seeing.

Read on to learn more about the best background check sites.

Our Top Picks for Background Check Sites of November 2023

Pre-employment Background Check Sites

People-Search Background Check Sites

Ads by Money. We may be compensated if you click this ad.AdAds by Money disclaimer
Limit your financial and physical risk by doing a Background Check
Go beyond just looking through public records to acquire the needed information. Click on your state to get started.
HawaiiAlaskaFloridaSouth CarolinaGeorgiaAlabamaNorth CarolinaTennesseeRIRhode IslandCTConnecticutMAMassachusettsMaineNHNew HampshireVTVermontNew YorkNJNew JerseyDEDelawareMDMarylandWest VirginiaOhioMichiganArizonaNevadaUtahColoradoNew MexicoSouth DakotaIowaIndianaIllinoisMinnesotaWisconsinMissouriLouisianaVirginiaDCWashington DCIdahoCaliforniaNorth DakotaWashingtonOregonMontanaWyomingNebraskaKansasOklahomaPennsylvaniaKentuckyMississippiArkansasTexas
Get Started

Best Background Check Site Reviews

Pre-employment Background Check Sites

  • Provides info from around the world
  • Customizes reports based on company requirements
  • FCRA-compliant
  • Site does not include information on pricing
  • Difficult to contact customer support
  • Focuses only on pre-employment checks

Why we chose it: First Advantage stands out for offering international background checks that include ID verification, criminal records search and financial checks, among others.

First Advantage caters to employers — from small family-run businesses to global organizations — by offering extensive screenings that include criminal background, licenses and credentials, driving records, social media accounts and more.

While some services limit their searches to U.S. records, First Advantage can run searches in 16 countries around the world, which could help companies expand their recruitment pools. It can also do post-employment criminal record monitoring, a service that will alert you if First Advantage finds criminal or adverse motor vehicle records for an employee after they’ve been hired.

This year, First Advantage announced three new service bundles aimed at simplifying the screening and onboarding process for employers and applicants. All three include background screening, identity verification and drug screening. The second and third tier in particular include the I-9 form compliance check to ascertain employee work eligibility.

The company has an A grade on the Better Business Bureau site; however, several customer reviews — including one from an employer — note slow turnaround times and poor experiences with customer service.

  • Custom packages for various industries
  • Global locations and partners
  • FCRA-compliant
  • Inconsistent turnaround times
  • Subjects have noted inaccuracies in background reports

Why we chose it: HireRight made our list because it offers screening packages tailored to particular industries such as hospitality, insurance, technology and transportation, among others.

HireRight offers both pre- and post-hire screening services for mid-size businesses and global enterprises. Searches include, among others:

  • Criminal record searches
  • Identity verification services (to help determine candidates’ work eligibility)
  • Verification of candidate credentials, employment and education history
  • Civil litigation and media searches
  • Drug and health screening
  • Driving records checks
  • Post-employment monitoring

As employees of different industries need to comply with different requirements and regulations, HireRight has ready-made screening packages for 14 different industries; however, it also lets customers pick and choose among its services to create a package that fits their needs.

Although HireRight is not accredited by the Better Business Bureau, the company has an A+ grade. (Note that companies must pay the BBB to become and stay accredited). Customer reviews on the BBB website show a pattern of inconsistent turnaround times. Several job applicants shared that their background checks took too long, causing delays in their employment start dates.

  • Custom pricing for companies that perform over 300 checks a year
  • Candidates can use mobile phones to complete forms
  • FCRA-compliant
  • Some complaints of slow turnaround times
  • No customer service number

Why we chose it: A consumer reporting agency, Checkr offers small businesses pre-employment background check packages, doesn’t charge a setup fee and lets customers pay per search.

Checkr is well-suited for small businesses looking for a high-tech approach to employee screening. Checkr uses AI-powered technology in its searches, which it says can make any potentially adverse findings clearer and easier to categorize, can predict how long the check will take and filters information to comply with local laws.

Checkr’s technological approach is not only used internally. This provider offers a mobile portal where candidates can track their screening process and contact support.

It will also conduct searches of global watchlist records and can provide international background checks along with education and employment verification.

All levels of checks include SSN trace, sex offender registry, global watchlist records and national criminal records. Checkr’s options and pricing are:

  • Basic+ starting at $29.99 for a single check
  • Essential starting from $54.99 per check which includes county criminal searches
  • Professional starting from $79.99 adds education and current employment verifications

Checkr doesn't charge any set-up fees. They do, however, charge customers for searches of courts in certain jurisdictions and DMV records. These fees vary by state. Additionally, Checkr offers several other individually priced checks as add-ons to its three plans.

In terms of third-party reviews, Checkr holds an A+ grade on the Better Business Bureau website. We evaluated customer reviews on the BBB site and found a pattern of complaints alleging slow turnaround times and difficulties contacting customer service, as Checkr doesn’t list a customer service number on its site.

People Search Background Check Sites

Unlike the FCRA-compliant companies above, these background search sites cannot be used for employment purposes. You can, however, use them to conduct personal searches.

  • Unlimited number of reports
  • Deep web monitoring
  • Not FCRA-compliant
  • FTC lawsuit alleging FCRA violations and deceptive marketing practices

Why we chose it: Instant Checkmate made our list because it offers unlimited reports for subscribers.

Instant Checkmate searches public records and other publicly available data sources to create its reports. Its reports contain date of birth, addresses, contact information, criminal convictions and other public information. Unlike many competitors, its subscriptions include unlimited searches and reports.

Instant Checkmate’s subscription search types and pricing is:

  • Person Reports for $35.12 a month or $28.09 a month for a 3-month membership
  • Reverse Phone Lookup for $5.99 a month

While both subscriptions include unlimited reports, the only way to download these onto your device are by paying a $3.99 add-on.

Instant Checkmate is accredited by the Better Business Bureau and has an A+ grade. However, it’s important to note that, on September 11, 2023, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) sued Instant Checkmate and related companies alleging they made deceptive claims about its reports’ accuracy and violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). As of this writing, the FTC asked the court to approve a $5.8 million penalty to settle the charges.

Instant Checkmate reports may include:

Standard Background Report Premium Report
- Date of birth
- Phone numbers
- Address history
- Relatives
- Arrest records
- Government license information
- Social media profiles
- Email addresses
- Nearby sex offenders
- Civil Judgments
- Corporate Affiliations
- Watercraft Owned
- UCC Filings
- Properties Owned
- Voter Registration
- Old Phone Numbers
- Email Addresses
- Tax Liens
- Professional Licenses
- Hunting/Fishing Permits
- Weapons Permits
- Foreclosures
- Aircraft Owned
- Neighbors
- Business Associates

  • Allows fine-tuning of results
  • Includes dark web search
  • Offers customer support over the phone
  • Additional cost to download reports
  • Not FCRA-compliant
  • FTC lawsuit alleging FCRA violations and deceptive marketing practices

Why we chose it: We selected TruthFinder because it provides comprehensive reports that include information from federal, state and county records, as well as from social media platforms and websites.

TruthFinder is aimed at people looking to find out more about new people in their lives, find old friends or family members, or learn more about their neighbors.

Its services include people search, reverse phone number lookup and reverse email lookup. Although it offered reverse address lookup in the past their site says this service is currently under maintenance.

TruthFinder’s membership options are:

  • People search with unlimited persons and location reports for $28.05 a month (or $23.28 a month if you subscribe on a bi-monthly basis)
  • Reverse email lookup that includes unlimited person and email reports for $29.73 a month
  • Reverse phone lookup for $4.99 a month including unlimited email reports

For an extra $3.99 a month, you can download reports and monitor them for updates.

For $2.99, TruthFinder also offers dark web monitoring, which alerts you if your credentials appear on the dark web.

TruthFinder has an A+ grade on the Better Business Bureau. Customer reviews on the BBB site show a pattern of customers having trouble canceling the service and getting billed even after canceling.

In our research, we found that TruthFinder was also included in the September 2023 lawsuit mentioned above for Instant Checkmate. Both companies were accused of violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). The suit alleges that TruthFinder deceived customers by claiming their service was accurate without showing proof, producing unsubstantiated criminal records and asserting customers could remove inaccurate information from their reports.

TruthFinder Person Reports may include:

- Full names
- Known aliases
- Age
- Employment history
- Education history
- Possible relatives
- Possible associates and relationships
- Phone number
- Address
- Criminal and traffic records
- Social profiles
- Possible business affiliations
- Hunting permits
- Weapons permits
- Bankruptcies
- Liens
- Civil judgements
- Foreclosures
- Evictions
- Properties owned
- Vehicles owned or driven

  • Extended customer service (6:00 am to 11:30 pm EST)
  • Consumer-focused services
  • Several details provided for one price
  • Limited to 100 reports a month
  • Pricing is not listed on their site
  • Not FCRA-compliant

Why we chose it: Unlike most other background search sites, BeenVerified provides an app for both Apple and Android devices.

BeenVerified memberships include standard people search services such as reverse phone , email and address lookup, as well as username search, vehicle lookup, criminal records and arrest warrants.

Finding prices for BeenVerified’s services isn’t a straightforward process. Potential customers have to visit its FAQ page and scroll down to current offers where you have to select an option and proceed to checkout. Here is where you can finally see BeenVerified’s membership options and pricing, which are:

  • One-month membership for $29.99
  • Three-month membership for $19.49 a month ($58.48 in total)
  • Seven-day trial for $1.00

The service allows for multiple searches and gives clear instructions on what you can and can't do with the information it collects. For example, it states it’s not FCRA compliant and therefore, you can’t use their services for employment screenings.

Where BeenVerified stands out among competitors is in providing these services through its mobile phone apps. Its Android and iOS apps have a 4.5 and 4.6 rating in their respective app stores.

When using the apps, users can not only conduct searches on-the-go, but they can also access reports collected on other mobile devices or on their desktops.

The Better Business Bureau website gives BeenVerified a grade of C. Customer reviews show a pattern of complaints regarding subscription renewals, with many customers claiming that the service was not clearly labeled as a subscription. This confusion could stem from the fact that the site does not provide a clear pricing page.

BeenVerified reports may include:

- Age
- Current and past addresses
- Phone numbers
- Email addresses
- possible photos
- Possible associates
- Traffic and criminal records
- Bankruptcies
- Education, employers and business associations
- Social media platforms
- Blogs
- Websites

  • One of the most affordable subscription services
  • Results returned within a minute or so for most checks
  • Only covers U.S.
  • Not FCRA-compliant

Why we chose it: We selected Spokeo for our list because its people search services are more affordable than competitors.

Spokeo is a background check service that helps customers search public records by using a person’s name, email, phone number or street address to create a report. Spokeo describes the service as a 100% electronic process that scours billions of public records and links matching data to create its reports.

Users who need basic information can obtain a person's age, family relationships, city and state of residence for free. For more details like phone numbers, full addresses, or email addresses users must sign up for the membership which costs $19.95 a month.

Spokeo also offers a $19.99 background report upgrade which includes marital status records, bankruptcies, foreclosure and more.

Spokeo has an A- grade on the Better Business Bureau. Despite its excellent grade, customer reviews show a pattern of billing issues, with some customers claiming they signed up for what they believed was a one-time search, but were charged for a subscription. Many also claimed that they were unable to reach customer service to resolve the issue and, of those that did, many alleged they only received a partial refund.

Spokeo reports may include:

- Name
- Aliases
- Phone numbers
- Email address
- Current and past address
- Family and associates
- Marital status
- Education history
- Birth information
- Hobbies and interests
- Property owned
- Investments
- Estimated salary
- Criminal records
- DUIs
- Sex offense

  • Multiple plans to choose from
  • Subscriptions include unlimited reports
  • Not FCRA-compliant
  • Customer service difficult to reach
  • Difficult to cancel

Why we chose it: We selected Intelius because it offers several product trials so customers can try out the service without having to commit to a membership.

Intelius, similar to other background check services for individuals, offers people search, reverse phone lookup, reverse address lookup and other public records searches. What sets it apart from others on the list is that it has several affordable trial periods for people who want or need to do a quick search but don’t want to commit to the monthly subscription.

The first is a $0.95 five-day reverse phone lookup and people search trial with unlimited phone, person and address reports. These reports may contain the phone owner’s name, photo, address, social media profiles address history, related persons and more.

The other trial is a seven-day address lookup and people search option for $0.95. Members get unlimited address and persons reports that can include name of the residents, location details, ownership history, property value, evictions and other information about the address.

Intelius also offers the following subscriptions:

  • People Search for $24.86 a month (or $21.13 a month for a bi-monthly subscription)
  • Reverse Phone Lookup (plus People Search) for $34.95 a month
  • Address Lookup (including People Search) for $34.95 a month

Know that if you don’t cancel your trial within the trial period you will be charged the full amount for the membership as per Intelius’ billing terms.

We checked the Better Business Bureau, where Intelius has an A+ grade, to evaluate customer reviews. Although no major recurring issues were reported, some customers claimed they were charged for a subscription even after calling to cancel the free trial.

Intelius reports may include:

- Full name
- Phone number
- Past and present addresses
- Age
- Date of birth
- Relatives
- Aliases
- Social network profiles
- Criminal and traffic records
- Marriage and divorce history
- Lawsuits they’’ve been involved in
- Bankruptcies
- Liens

  • Easy to use
  • Occasional promotional offers
  • Good customer support
  • No additional fees
  • Inaccuracies reported by some users
  • Not FCRA-compliant

Why we chose it: US Search offers unlimited searches each month for a flat fee with no additional charges, making them a great option if you're looking for background check searches in bulk.

US Search, like all people search services, uses publicly available records from across the U.S. to create its reports. The company provides background information along with financial information (such as assets and real estate holdings), bankruptcies, civil actions, and criminal and traffic records. The user interface for its individual accounts is a little clunky, but the results are easy to read.

US Search offers the following subscriptions:

  • Standard Background Report for $19.86 a month (unlimited reports)
  • Phone Number Lookup (includes person reports) for $19.86 a month (five-day trial for $1.99)
  • Address Lookup (including person reports) for $19.86 a month (five-day trial for $1.99)

US Search also provides services for legal professionals who need to do background research for cases. For $59 per month or $599 per year, you can get unlimited reports and unlimited PDF downloads.

US Search is owned by Intelius LLC which, as stated above, has an A+ grade with the business accreditation site. However, US Search itself does not have a profile on the BBB website.

US Search reports may include:

- Addresses
- Phone numbers
- Email addresses
- Social networks
- Employment history
- Financial information
- Bankruptcies
- Civil judgements
- Liens
- Criminal, arrest and traffic records
- Potential relatives
- Neighbors
- Associates
- Assets
- Owned properties
- Previously owned properties
- Vehicles owned or driven
- Hunting licenses
- Weapons permits
- Professional license

Ads by Money. We may be compensated if you click this ad.AdAds by Money disclaimer
Go beyond just looking through public records to acquire the needed information with a BeenVerified
BeenVerified delivers search results drawn from compiled data deriving from scores of public sources. Click below to get started.
Get Started

Other background check sites we considered


  • Customer help center available
  • Easy-to-read results, optimized for mobile
  • FCRA-compliant
  • Extra charges for some searches
  • Charges a set-up fee not listed on its packages

GoodHire, an FCRA-compliant background check service, offers in-depth searches into an individual’s background, gathering information on credit, education, criminal proceedings and more.

GoodHire offers over 100 employment screening services, including education verification, healthcare sanction checks, identity checks and more. Its basic checks offer a Social Security number trace, sex offender registry search, global watchlist records check and national criminal records check for $29.99. Prices are based on single reports.

Why it didn't make the cut: It was acquired by Checkr and its services will soon fall under the Checkr brand.


  • Easy to contact customer service
  • Offers data useful for sales, marketing and recruiting
  • Built to plug into platforms like Gmail, Hubspot and Salesforce
  • Coverage limited to people in the U.S.
  • Not a consumer reporting agency
  • Desktop version is less user-friendly than mobile app

This app-based service is able to conduct six types of checks, including people search, reverse phone lookup, and business-to-business information for sales teams.

A one-month subscription costs $23.99 and three months are $57.57 with a limit of 100 searches per month.

Why it didn't make the cut: It offers similar services to other providers on the list but at higher cost.


  • Updates data daily
  • Separate business division
  • Extended customer service hours
  • Searches limited to people in the U.S.
  • No social media searches
  • Not a consumer reporting agency

PeopleFinders provides searches based on public records for individuals and businesses. Memberships begin at $24.95 a month for reports that may include current and past contact info, reverse phone lookups, addresses, phone numbers, aliases, age, relatives and associates. If you’re looking for arrest records, criminal records, sex offender check or other legal information you must sign up for the $29.95 a month premium membership.

Why it didn't make the cut: PeopleFinders didn’t make the cut because it provides the same services as other providers, but at a higher price.

Background Check Guide

When a business, organization or individual wants information on someone before entering into a professional or personal relationship, background check services are an easy and convenient tool to get it. The following guide explains what a background check is, how it works and the types of information it can turn up.

Table of Contents

What is a background check?

A background check is an investigation into an individual or a company’s past. While they all have some similarities, not all background searches can be conducted in the same way.

For instance, searches on potential employees and tenants must comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), which requires background check services to get an individual's signed consent before conducting searches.

On the other hand, people search background search sites — that is, sites that specialize in searches on friends, long-lost relatives or neighbors — don't need to be FCRA-compliant. These sites show some information found in court or criminal records available to the public but not sensitive information such as credit reports or driving records.

To find out more about what a background check is and the different types of investigations available, make sure to read our article on What is a background check?

How does a background check work?

When the search is requested by a potential employer or landlord, a background check must follow the provisions of the FCRA, the most important being getting the individual's signed consent to conduct the inquiry.

Once a prospective employee has given their signed consent, these services can obtain credit reports, driving records and other sensitive information. It’s important to note that investigations on prospective domestic workers — including cleaning professionals and nannies — must also follow FCRA provisions.

The FCRA also protects individuals by ensuring they're told if information in their report was used against them to deny employment, insurance or credit. Additionally, it gives individuals the right to obtain a copy of their background check report and to dispute incomplete or inaccurate information.

Anyone can carry out a free background check by doing a basic web search that can provide info about a person or business, but it won't necessarily include everything that's on the public record.

Public records include personally identifiable information (PII) usually held by the government such as official name, date of birth, address, marital status, criminal records, civil litigation, tax liens, judgments, bankruptcies and whether a person is in the sex offender registry.

Comprehensive background check services can access these records by checking government databases in the locations where the subject of the investigation has lived. While anyone is allowed to access many of these databases, it can come at a cost or are difficult to find if you don’t know where to look.

When you purchase a background check, you normally get a detailed report of an individual's personal information. However, the details that show up vary according to the report requested.

What do background checks show?

Before going into detail, we must make the distinction between tenancy or pre-employment background checks and people searches. People searches are those run by individuals when they want to learn more about a person they don’t plan on employing or renting to.

These background checks, which are typically used to find out more about potential partners or neighbors, can reveal publicly available information on a person, including:

  • Birthdate
  • Relatives
  • Past and present addresses
  • Social media accounts
  • Criminal history (if available online)
  • Assets and property owned
  • Civil litigation
  • Tax liens
  • Some judgments
  • Bankruptcies

This information can be found without a signed consent from the investigation subject, however, it cannot be used for insurance purposes or to screen prospective employees, domestic workers or tenants.

What does a pre-employment check show?

Employment background checks are those run by employers when screening applicants.

This type of check needs signed consent from the subject of the investigation.

In addition to revealing the same information listed above for people searches, pre-employment checks can also show:

Identity verification

As the name suggests, an identity verification is to verify someone’s identity by running a social security number trace to corroborate name, date of birth and address history. An identity verification also confirms citizenship or eligibility for work.

Criminal history records

Criminal background checks can include searches for both felony and misdemeanor offenses at both county and federal courts, depending on the comprehensiveness of the search requested. Background check services can also order in-person searches of court records (as opposed to just what is available online) and often search sex offender registries and global watchlists.

It’s important to note that states have their own laws to regulate what types of criminal records can be reported and for how long.

Employment and education verification

Employment checks typically involve calls to former employers confirming the candidate’s previous jobs and employment dates. Education checks confirm a candidate’s degree, the academic institution they attended, the dates of attendance and, in a few cases, GPA and honors the person earned.

Driving records

Motor vehicle records (MVR) reports show a candidate’s driving record including traffic violations, infractions, accidents, DUIs, whether the license is suspended or expired and what class of license it is (private passenger or commercial). An MVR check is especially important for jobs that require employees to drive.

Note that this search requires a separate signed consent from the subject of the investigation.

Credit history

This will include credit reports from at least one major credit bureau. This will show payment history, level of debt, loans, bankruptcies, liens and/or collections, although not always your credit score. Employers must get the investigation subject’s consent to conduct the credit check.

Civil Litigation and judgments

Companies usually also search court records for any civil lawsuits, legal disputes or judgements in which the candidate has been involved.

Fingerprint background check

This level of check is not the norm, unless candidates need security clearance or will handle sensitive information in their day-to-day. This is a more in-depth criminal check given the fingerprints are cross-checked with those in the FBI’s Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System.

Social media check

This type of background check involves searching an applicant's social media profiles to determine whether they have any inappropriate content or behavior that could reflect poorly on the organization.

Levels of Background Checks

Most providers offer a range of searches that vary in complexity and thoroughness. These usually range from address traces and basic criminal record searches, to comprehensive searches that include federal and county courts, tax liens, judgments, bankruptcies and even media searches.

There are no set background check levels that are consistent across every background investigations company.

Typically, the lowest level of investigations will only include identity verifications, credit reports and criminal records at the county level. The most comprehensive reports will include that in addition to information from federal courts, educational verifications, social media checks and searches of media, in addition to any number of specialized investigations.

Searches will also vary by state. Some Florida employers, for instance, will require level 1 and/or level 2 criminal history record checks. Level 1 refers to a simple name-based check, whereas a level 2 background check entails a ​​state and national fingerprint-based check required for roles involving trust and responsibility.

How to choose a background check company

Choosing the best background check site for you will depend on the purpose of your search.

Individuals who want to learn more about a person in their life can use a regular background check company that offers people search and reverse phone, email or address lookup services.

However, if you're an employer, you need an FCRA-compliant company that can provide timely and accurate information, and comply with all applicable laws and regulations.

Make sure the company you’re considering:

  • Complies with all applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations, especially the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).
  • Follows best practices for privacy and security given they’ll be collecting and sharing sensitive information.
  • Uses reliable and up-to-date sources to provide accurate background checks.
  • Has quality control measures in place to ensure the accuracy of their reports.
  • Offers transparent and competitive pricing with a breakdown of their fees so that you can understand the costs involved.
  • Provides timely turnaround times to avoid lost opportunities or increased risk to the organization.

You should also search for the company on the Better Business Bureau website and consumer review sites. These sites are also useful for seeing examples of customer experiences, complaints and to learn how the company handled the situation.

Why are background checks important?

Background checks are essential for many organizations' hiring process and business practices because due diligence can help them protect their company’s and employees’ interests alike.

Due diligence involves gathering all available information on a person to assess their financial and legal standing. The main reasons for conducting a background check include:

  • Litigation purposes
  • Risk management
  • Personal relationships

Litigation purposes

Background checks may be conducted for legal reasons such as finding out information about parties in a lawsuit or checking the accuracy of financial claims.

Risk management

Both financial institutions and individual investors can choose to perform background checks on potential borrowers or business partners. These searches can be extensive and complex, and can include searches for assets, litigation and more.


You may want to perform a background check before becoming involved in a relationship, whether that relationship is business-related or personal. People also often use background check services to help find information on biological family members or long-lost friends.

Best Background Check Sites FAQs

How much does a background check cost?


The cost of a background check depends on the type.

Many of the top background check websites provide several different types at a range of price points for people checks (i.e. not a pre-employment screening). These services can run from around $20 up to $60 or more for a monthly subscription. Free or cheap trials are sometimes available, but make sure to cancel before you're charged.

Prices for pre-employment checks are not usually available on company websites. You'll need to contact the company so they can provide a quote based on your specific needs. These screenings can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to thousands.

The final price will depend on factors such as the scope of the check (is it local, national or international), the industry (some require more in-depth information), turnaround time and how many checks you want. Some companies do offer bulk pricing.

How long does a background check take?

As a general rule, background checks from an FCRA-compliant provider can take between one to three business days. However, the depth of the check can affect turnaround times. Many services can provide reports in minutes if they're a simple check, while others, such as FBI checks, can take up to 30 days.

What does a background check show?


This largely depends on the type of background check performed. A pre-employment background check can show a person's credit history, education, driving records along with public records, such as civil or criminal litigation, tax liens, judgments, bankruptcies and more.

Non-pre-employment background checks — for example, checks that that can be performed on "people search" sites — can show where the person has lived, any criminal records available online, sex offender registry listings, and sometimes tax liens or judgments. They could also include searches of the deep web.

How far back does a background check go?


The FCRA sets rules for consumer reporting agencies about how far back a search can go. Additionally, states may have their own rules.

The time period covered by background checks varies according to the type of check. In most cases, searches can range between seven to 10 years, although felonies could be reported indefinitely.

How We Chose the Best Background Check Sites

To pick the nine best background check services, we reviewed 16 background check companies based on over 100 data points grouped under the following categories:

  • FCRA compliance: First, we verified whether the companies were FCRA compliant to determine which offered background check services for employers and which were people search services.
  • Extensiveness of background checks: We analyzed what type of information each company accesses and includes in its reports. For pre-employment check services, we favored companies that offered industry packages.
  • Additional searches and add-on services: We assessed add-ons like global watchlist searches and specialty services such as international searches, employment and education verification.
  • Pricing: We compared prices for each service, including the tiers and the costs of available add-ons. We also checked whether a service charged per check or offered monthly subscriptions.
  • Customer reviews: To see what customers had to say about each company’s reports, turnaround and overall customer service, we researched and read customer service reviews on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) site.
  • User interface: We evaluated each background check site’s user interface to determine if the sites are easy to navigate and provided key information useful to consumers.
  • Legal actions: Many of the companies in this industry have been the subject of legal actions. We carefully evaluated lawsuits found during our searches and highlighted those that were particularly relevant to consumers or involved regulatory violations. Do note that this research is based on records found online, and not on an extensive review of court records.

Summary of the Best Background Check Sites of November 2023

Pre-employment Background Check Sites

People Search Background Check Sites