Background checks are integral for employers when it comes to getting to know about employees they could potentially hire. They are different from credit or police checks because they are made up of publicly available info.
The websites responsible for performing these checks need an address or phone number to bring up other necessary info about the person you’re curious about. Background check sites are also rather stark in their information; anybody can figure out how to use them, and they’re open for use by everyone.
The reasons you might use a site like this varies from person to person. You might want to see how a person is before you hire them to work around your home or kids.
On the other hand, you might be looking for somebody you went to school with years ago or just an old friend you miss talking to. There might be a family member you wish to speak with again. You might wonder what’s out there about YOU!
Regardless of why you’d like to use a site like this, we have done our homework and figured out the best of the best background check sites for use by the public. Some are here because they are free. Others are here because even though you pay for the service, you get lots of helpful details.
Best Background Check Sites & Services of 2021
#1. Truthfinder – Best for Deep Searches & Criminal Records
- Comprehensive and detailed reports when you use the people search.
- Pricing is straightforward and easy to understand
- Customer support is helpful.
- Mobile apps work well.
- The company is transparent about how they use the data
- No free trial
- Separate phone search membership
- Membership is mandatory
What We Like About TruthFinder
TruthFinder is an excellent background check website service that offers the user detailed and quality nuggets of info that will surely help you learn more about or track down the person you’re curious about.
One thing we love about Truthfinder is because it is a premium paysite, you as a member can access private and public database info. This makes your job much easier when trying to discover information about somebody.
Aside from this, you can use features to discover what information about YOU is available to the public. There are amazing self-monitor tools on this site, and checks are unlimited. It’s great if you frequently search for people. It looks at police records, photos, social media profiles, and more for its info.
Algorithms are all the rage nowadays, with people from Youtubers to Amazon sellers talking about them, and Truthfinder is no exception. It offers info such as relationship data, which we don’t see with other platforms.
The background check info will also show their location histories, such as places they’ve lived and places they’ve been in the past. Since all this comes from private and public databases, we can assume they are pretty accurate.
You can also take advantage of the mobile apps for iOS and Android, which are super convenient for busy users on the go. The background checker can be accessed via your favorite browser. Also, the interface is fast and gets you results.
You can also use the dark web scan feature, and the public record and people search, which are both high-quality ways of getting the info you need.
How Much Does It Cost?
TruthFinder comes in at $29 a month, which is more than other sites we’ve seen. For two months you get a bit of a discount and only have to pay $24 per month.
Unlike some other services, Truthfinder allows you the chance to search by name. If you would like to look up a person via the phone number, you would have to buy a separate phone number search subscription for $5. Meanwhile, that is pretty cheap if all you want to do is make phone searches.
There’s no free trial, which may bother some folks. And if you would like to download a report, they charge $2 for each one.
This company is pretty straightforward about how their data can and cannot be utilized. It takes around ten minutes to get a report put together using TruthFinder.
The good thing about TruthFinder is that their database is both current and actively updated. They have access to both public records, and social media records, giving you the full scope of data.
TruthFinder also has apps for both Apple and Android, which is extremely convenient for mobile searches. In addition, if you become a member, you will get unlimited searches. Here’s a full Truthfinder review that you can read before buying.
The customer service here is mostly good, with many positive ratings. Complaints focus on the heavy amount of promo emails clients got. If you need to cancel, you have to call them, but the reps are helpful, so don’t be afraid.
#2. Instant Checkmate – Best for Social Media Checks
- The cheap 5-day trial offered
- Contact info is updated
- Android and Apple apps
- The company is transparent about how you can use the info
- Unlimited searches/reports when you buy a membership
- Membership is mandatory
What We Like About Instant Checkmate
Instant Checkmate is good if you would just like to run some background checks as a one-off and rarely if ever, do it again. If you were just curious about the whereabouts of a relative, for example, you should use Instant Checkmate as it is a great choice. You will notice it has all the info Truthfinder has, but it is cheaper.
It also makes it very easy to find arrest records, anybody you are curious about can be found in just seconds using any internet browser, anywhere in the world. But if you were using police to find this record, it would probably take days. But do keep in mind that the accuracy of this info can vary. You can check the full Instant Checkmate review here.
How Much Does It Cost?
Instant Checkmate offers a 5-day trial for just $1. Just pause on the checkout page for a few moments and wait. There will be a pop-up that comes up and offers a discounted price.
Just as with some other companies, Instant Checkmate requires you to take a membership once your trial period is done. Memberships cost $35 a month or $28 a month if you do the quarterly option. And if you want just phone lookups, you can expect to pay $5 a month for the separate plan.
You will love the many features offered by Instant Checkmate. They have the standard stuff you’d expect and features we didn’t see in some other spots.
People search: This one is a classic. It is the main attraction, and it is the reason people sign up for these kinds of services. You simply type in the first and last name of somebody, as well as basic information about that person you have available like a birthdate or the last known city they lived in, and you will get back all kinds of useful info like:
- Social media
- Divorce and marriage info
- Sex offender info
- Email address
- Phone numbers
- Full address history
- Current address
- DOB and age
- Aliases and names
Reverse Phone Lookup: Getting calls from unknown numbers, or prank calls, is not fun. It’s a massive pain that everybody has to deal with. However, Instant Checkmate does a great job of identifying the nuisances and helping you block them.
You simply type in the phone number, and MILLIONS of data points come back that give you information on the caller. You can find out their location, social media accounts associated with that number, age of the caller, business names, and even their name in the best cases.
The reverse phone lookup is not as great as the people search. However, there is just not as much information available for unlisted or generated phone numbers.
Reverse Email: Email inboxes nowadays are FILLED with spam from unknown senders. Even the spam filter can’t trap it all. This service is a lot like the reverse phone lookup. You will get information on unknown email addresses that tells you if they are legit or just a scammer.
The customer service reviews are favorable toward Instant Checkmate, and when you want to cancel your membership, you can just use email, phone, or the online contact form to do so.
#3. Intelius – Quick Checks & Free Trial
- Subscriptions are cheap
- Education and work history included in reports.
- Information is detailed
- The prices are cheap, but the pricing is sneaky
- Customer reviews are not so great
What We Like About Intelius
Intelius has made a niche for itself. People use it for many reasons, but it is most often used for personal reasons. Folks use Intelius for figuring out where their long-lost school pals or family members are.
It allows the person searching for somebody to stay anonymous, and thus, all searches are kept in confidence. It is good for searchers because they do not leave behind tracks indicating they’ve searched for somebody. Plus, it has a humongous database.
You can find anything from somebody’s education level to their criminal history without leaving behind a single crumb. You may search via the reverse phone number or email addresses.
You can also take advantage of a trial plan that allows you to look up info via an account. But if you need the specific details, you are going to need their premium membership.
Now for the Caveats. We cannot be certain of the accuracy of the info, presumably why most folks are using it to locate friends and family instead of more serious reasons.
How Much Does It Cost?
Now would be a good time for us to break down the cost of the services offered, considering they are pretty confusing with Intelius.
Premier Plus- $30
Criminal Record- $15 for state, $30 for USA-wide
Revers Address: up to $15
Reverse Phone: $1
People Search: $1
So, it’s pretty cheap, but by doing one of the dollar searches, you will be auto-signed up for a 7-day trial of Intelius Premier Plus. If you cancel within that week, you will be charged $8 as a cancellation fee.
Background Checks: You can get a taste of everything you want to know with these checks, such as state criminal records, info on finances like liens and bankruptcies, lawsuits and judgments, and public record reports.
Criminal Records: You can see somebody’s offenses countywide or statewide if they have any.
Reverse Address Search: Here, you can see their home value, info about previous and current residences, and contact information, plus info about area sex offenders.
Reverse Phone Lookup: Somebody calling you, and you’re getting annoyed? Find out who it is using the Reverse Phone Lookup. You can see age, name, address, and even the carrier of the phone, plus possible family members.
Public Records: You will get info from the People Search Report plus divorce and marriage records.
People search: This gives you essential info regarding who you might be searching for. You can look them up by address, name, or number. They will give you social media network pages, email address, education and employment info, and even the person’s age and birthdate.
Customer service is good but could also use some improvement on their phone service. Users discuss not being able to talk to a rep on the phone, for instance. It’s annoying, but you can always cancel the subscription over the internet.
#4. US Search
- You can run searches with no membership
- Plenty of details inside the reports
- You can print reports free
- Lack of transparency
- No free trial
- No mobile app
What We Like About US Search
US Search doesn’t make you sign up for a membership in order to perform a background check on somebody. That might seem like an insignificant reason to rate something favorably, but it is very unique in its approach. Most other sites insist that you take their membership before you can run the background check.
You can also print out the reports for free. Most of the time, you will be charged by these other background check outfits.
They do have room for improvement, big time. They are lacking in essential info. For example, our team typed in our names on many of these background checkers. US Search showed us accurate info about our homes, employment, and education, but no contact info like email or phone. And every other service we utilized had that, plus it was recent and accurate!
And don’t even think about getting all the info you can when it comes to associates or relatives. For instance, it showed us two people “associated” with the person we were looking up during one search, but neither one of those people had anything to do with the person we were querying about.
The transparency is also lacking severely here. There are plenty of rules that dictate how you can and cannot make use of the info found in a background check.
Other companies are careful to tell you how you can get the most out of your search in a legal way. Here, US Search has a tiny explanation, in the very fine print. They could be more helpful by showing customers real-life examples about how to use this info carefully.
How Much Does It Cost?
Depending on the service you want, here’s what you can expect to pay when you sign up for a membership with US Search:
Background Check: $40
Single-State Criminal Record Search: $15
Monthly Subscription: $20
Basic People Search: $2.45
The website is also seriously lacking in features. There’s nothing here but basic, run-of-the-mill searches. It’s not as thorough as some others, such as Instant Checkmate, which offered a Dark Web scan.
The reviews for this website are not favorable in the least. A vast majority of them are quite negative. Consumer Affairs had just a single positive review of the website of five stars. Meanwhile, everything that was listed on the website was at best two stars in its ratings.
- They have an android app
- Cheap 3-day trial available
- Membership not mandatory
- No Apple app
- No social media search
- You are charged a fee for canceling
What We Like About People Finders
It was very easy to use. All you had to do was enter in the name of your person, first and last as well as the city they reside in. Then, you get your match, after which you submit your credit card info and get your report.
You will get a pile of info, like addresses, relatives, phone numbers, and property information such as places they’ve owned, foreclosures, and evictions. You will also get criminal record info, too.
How Much Does It Cost?
The pricing of PeopleFinders is very reasonable, a 3-day trial costs just $3. However, if you fail to cancel it, you’re looking at $30 a month. There is also an $8 cancellation fee which we didn’t like. In the grand scheme, however, it’s not a terrible price.
There are some pretty good features, such as:
Unlimited Checks: You can do unlimited amounts of background checks with your membership.
Public Record Search: With just a name and city, you can learn somebody’s DOB, aliases, relatives, and property records, and more.
Plenty of Searches: You can utilize a reverse phone lookup, an address search, a criminal check report, or even remove yourself using the “Opt out” feature.
With a 4.6 Trustpilot rating, these guys are providing pretty good customer service. They can be reached from 7a to 6p M-F and 7 to 3:30 on Sat and Sun. You can also write to them or email them, too.
- Easy to learn
- Interface is clean
- Apps for Android/iOS
- Confidential searches
- Requests take forever to process
- Lack of good customer service
What We Like About PeopleLooker
This site has a number of different features we really liked. All searches are confidential. The site is also transparent about how the customers can use the information they glean. They follow all rules and regulations per the Fair Credit Reporting Act and put transparency and privacy at the top of their priority list.
How Much Does It Cost?
A 5-day trial is just $1
A 1-month plan is just $23 a month
A 3-month plan is $19 a month
People Search: Here, you can enter first and last name, address, phone or email. Once you have entered such info, the site will analyze tons of data and cross-reference various records to locate the closest match. It will take time, but the reports are detailed.
Court Runner: This will show you somebody’s criminal past and comb through court records, public arrest records, misdemeanor records, and outstanding warrants, plus many more sources to ensure you are seeing what someone actually did, and not a mix-up due to names being similar, etc.
Info Removal: You can use PeopleLooker to see what info is out there about you, and the removal service will help you take it down if it is false or misleading.
Property Check: Using this, you can figure out the ownership history of your prospective property, as well as its square footage, when it was built, and taxes. You can also get a good idea of the neighborhood, such as its schools, demographics, and attractions.
Reps are available from 6 am to 11:30 PM, via phone or email or the online contact form. The representatives are friendly and customer-centered, providing prompt solutions to any issues you might encounter.
- Contact info is current
- Android and Apple apps
- They are transparent about how you can use the info
- Many different ways to browse
- Members get unlimited searches
- No free trial periods
- Search results lack accuracy
- Wait times can be long for results
What We Like About BeenVerified
The biggest thing we loved about BeenVerified was its uniqueness. You could search by a myriad of different methods. For example, there is a VIN search.
You can look up the VIN of a vehicle that can show you info about its history. All you have to do is enter a 17-digit VIN, and BeenVerified will scan the database for info associated with that vehicle. You can get the VIN from the windshield of the vehicle or in the driver’s side doorjamb.
This will give you information related to the vehicle from public records such as:
- Ownership info
- Estimated value
- Safety recalls
- Accident reports
There is also an Unclaimed Money Search. What if YOU had unclaimed money you did not know about?
Misplaced Savings bonds, utility bills you overpaid and private companies that owe you money are easy to miss. But you can use the BeenVerified money search to see if you are owed any money. If this is the case, they give you the name and number of the agency so you can collect the funds.
Lastly, we really loved their mobile apps. These apps can go on Android and Apple products with ease, and you can search for people while on the move. You get all the features of the website, plus the ability to keep past reports stored so you can pull them up when it is time.
How Much Does It Cost?
BeenVerified memberships offer users two options. You can partake in a 1-month membership for $23 a month, or you can do a 3-month membership for $15 a month.
This gets you a 35% discount in comparison to the 1-month membership fee for a total of three months. These memberships are all the same in terms of features and perks and come with unlimited background reports, lookups, and searches.
Our team liked the customer support team of BeenVerified. They are attentive and always around to handle customer concerns except for a few hours each day. The support inbox is available for use 7 days a week and 17 hours a day.
The reps are prompt and thorough, as well as courteous, in their responses to all customer queries. You can send them to the support team email, and chances are you will get a response within a few hours.
- A few pricing tiers to choose from
- The applicant portal is simple to use
- Resources are extensive
- Friendly website/text
- You will be given an estimate about when your check will be ready, but the chances are that estimate will be exceeded
What We Like About GoodHire
This is a very friendly, very professional background check service that offers its memberships in tiers. It’s great for small businesses, as that’s where it started, but now it is ideal for enterprises of many sizes. The company is young, just 5 years old, but boasts 75K and a growing customer base.
It is an excellent way for small HR departments to figure out if a candidate is ideal for employment. It’s very simple, so anyone can figure it out with some training. It integrates with Applicant Tracking System software, and applicants can even run a background check on themselves- just check out the True Me platform for that.
The interface is modern and easy to figure out. It is easy on the eyes, light gray in color, and integrates beautifully with mobile devices. It features compliance tools built right in, which makes for a quick and easy time using it on tablets and mobile phones.
How Much Does It Cost?
The Basic Plan comes in at just $30 per background check and the turnaround time is just a day. You get an SSN trace, criminal database check, and sex offender list check.
The Standard Plan is $55 a check and takes 1-2 business days. You get the SSN info, national criminal database search, sex offender search, and a county criminal court search. It will include 7 past years of court records as well.
The Premium Plan will be just $80 a check. It takes only 2-4 days for this to come back. You get an SSN trace, a national criminal database check, a sex offender search, a domestic watchlist search, and a county criminal court search.
There is also a $50 setup fee for verification of your account.
There are some add-on features you can pay a bit extra for:
- Motor vehicle record checks
- Drug screening
- Ongoing alerts
- Health sanctions
- Credit reports for employment
- And more
Customer service is top-notch. You can reach them by email, phone, or chat. We called and pretended to be a small business looking for info, and the reps were courteous and prompt with lots of answers to our queries, even offering links to their site that had helpful information on them.
- 2 different membership plans available
- Prices are very fair
- Criminal reports will cover the whole USA and DC
- Income info is limited
- One package will do a hard credit pull, but you have to pay extra
What We Like About RentPrep
It is a popular option for screening tenants, and landlords may choose from two packages that are quite different in their offerings. The first package is a variant of the TransUnion SmartMove screening program. It’s not totally different from SmartMove, but you may add a line and judgment search to the report when you go through RentPrep.
Your second option is called the RentPrep background check. The two of these packages get you previous addresses, bankruptcy searches, a search on the national sex offender registry, and also a national eviction search.
You can see that we liked both of these packages, but the former is a lot more robust and gets you ResidentScore, which helps you determine if they are a good tenant or not.
You may also get a credit report but ONLY if you choose to buy it as an extra option. It will give you a fail or pass decision based on the credit score you require potential clients to have.
How Much Does It Cost?
Two plans are offered. You may choose the Background check for $19 or the SmartMove Full Credit Report for $38.
Lease Default Prediction: This is not unlike a credit score, except it uses a different algorithm to calculate this score. It is designed to predict the risk v. reliability of a tenant.
Credit Report: This provides you all details but not the FICO score for your to-be tenant. It’s a nice feature, but landlords might just consider using the ResidentScore instead of making tenancy decisions.
History of Evictions: To know if a tenant will be a good fit, you should look at their past evictions. It is a good predictor of future evictions. This searches public databases to tell you what you want to know.
Criminal Reports: You should know who is renting your property. You do not want harm to come to humans first and foremost, nor do you want your property destroyed. It will help you determine if the prospective renter is a criminal, helping you avoid them if you do not feel safe renting to them.
Income Info: This is not so great, but it might be a good feature for some of you out there. It’s just too limited, which is why our team didn’t care for it. It shows you any bankruptcies that took place during the last decade. You might get employer info, but you might not, so you cannot really use it to confirm employment.
Users really loved RentPrep, and many reviews of the service are favorable. You can access their reps Monday-Saturday using email or phone. They are friendly and knowledgeable.
- The site is easy to navigate
- Info ranked and scored by data confidence numbers
- You can monitor a record to see if updates or changes occur
- You can save and recall your searches
- Results are organized and easy to read
- You will probably get multiple records back, so finding the right person can be a pain
- The site won’t bring back any court or criminal history
- No background checking services
What We Like About PeopleSmart
You can run your searches using a few different methods. For instance, you can use an email, a phone number, a social media account, or a name. We liked how convenient and varied the options were.
The company is very transparent about what they can and cannot provide. For example, we learned fast that no criminal records or background checks could be ordered. This is a pain for some, but the fact that they told us ahead of time was convenient. You cannot use this info to judge their eligibility to get a job or learn about financial statuses such as credit scores or debt.
How Much Does It Cost?
It is a very affordable tool. You can sign up for a 7-day trial that costs just $1. You will be asked to enter your credit card info. After 7 days is up, there will be a $30 membership fee plus tax each month.
You may wish to set a reminder on your phone or desktop to cancel it if you don’t need it. But they do make it worth your while if you are always searching. They don’t sensationalize the results, and they give you all the info they have upfront, no need to buy “upgrades.”
Account Info: You will love the dashboard. It is so easy to navigate. You can update personal info here, see your order history, and view your member ID with ease.
Report Monitoring: You can monitor up to 10 different reports with this service. You will get an email notifying you should any record be changed or updated. It is very easy to do this. Simply click the button that says, “Turn on Monitoring,” and you will get your updates. You can search by email, name, or phone and do the monitoring service.
Reports: By opting for a subscription, you can keep all the searches you make in one place. You can locate them on the dashboard simply by clicking under “recent reports.” Once you click the report, you can see the record once more and even get yourself a PDF file of that record. You can remove the report from the list as well by using “edit list” and deleting it.
24 Hour Customer Service: This is a game-changer; not many services offer such a thing. You can take advantage of the 24-hour customer support using the phone or the online contact form.
Conclusion: Which Background Check Site Works Best?
That’s it for our list of the best background check services available at this time. These can be very helpful when you are not sure whether it’s OK to send your kids to play at a friend’s house or you are unsure about whether or not you feel safe going on a blind date with somebody.
Before you use any of these services, make sure you read over the fine print carefully. These services are known to be somewhat confusing in their offerings and policies about cancellation, so make sure you understand first before pulling the trigger. Good luck and happy searching!