The internet is home to a wealth of information on just about anything - including people. From potential dates to potential roommates, we all have someone who we can benefit from knowing a little more about before moving forward. Background checks are also valuable during the hiring process, both for recruiters and candidates.
Let’s not forget about your own history, which can influence your ability to buy a home or car. You may want to rectify any potential errors on your credit report and insurance details as well.
The best way to make any of this happen today is by using an online background check service. In most cases, you can expect to find the following:
- Contact details
- Employment history
- Criminal offenses
- Relatives and associates
This information is obtained from publicly available records such as court documents, phone books, and social media. Of course, not all background check websites are made equal. Some are more accurate and comprehensive than others. There are also differences in pricing that need to be considered as all services require a subscription.
Let’s take a look at your best options.
#1. Best Background check Website: TruthFinder (Best Overall)
With an intuitive interface and straightforward pricing, TruthFinder is a sensible first choice.
What We Like about TruthFinder:
Compared to similar services, TruthFinder tends to provide more accurate information and a wider range of details. The website clearly explains how to use background reports, making it ideal for beginners.
TruthFinder is also very user-friendly. Reports are simple and digestible, while their mobile apps make for easy access on the go. Another area where TruthFinder shines is how forthcoming they are about what you can do with the information provided. Given the legalities surrounding background checks, this can save you from some unexpected trouble.
After running your first search, a prompt will appear requesting membership in order to access your results. There are three basic options:
One-month reverse phone lookup for $4.99 per month. Excludes background check reports.
One-month membership for $27.78 per month. Includes reverse phone lookup and background checks.
Two-month alternative paid in a lump sum of $46 resulting in a $4.76 monthly saving.
The feature set here is fairly standard. Aside from what we mentioned earlier, TruthFinder may also be able to provide details such as property ownership information, education history and social media accounts. In addition, you can identify who a person is affiliated with, such as friends, family members and other associates.
One thing to keep in mind is their penchant for dramatics. Unlike other services, TruthFinder takes around 10 minutes to generate a report. There are also a number of unnecessary warnings that appear while your search is being performed, not to mention the subject’s horoscope and your compatibility. Granted, this is all pretty harmless.
A common complaint about TruthFinder is their high quantity of promotional emails. Fortunately, you can always unsubscribe from them. As for canceling your membership, you’ll have to give them a call. Most reviewers describe the company’s representatives as helpful and pleasant to work with. Several contact methods are available for convenience. For more on TruthFinder read my indepth review.
Our #1 rated backgroud check service - Truthfinder
After testing 5 services, the combination of features, user interface, ease of access, customer service and competitive pricing wins Truthfinder first place.
"It uncovers secrets" - Colette Murphy
#2. Best Background Check Service -
PeopleLooker(Best monthly price)
If value for money is a priority, consider PeopleLooker.
What We Like about PeopleLooker:
This background check service nails it from the start, with a simple and attractive design that gets straight to the point. Initiating your search is as simple as keying in a name and surname. Within less than two minutes, your results will appear. It will take around five minutes for a report to be ready for download.
Similar to TruthFinder, PeopleLooker is transparent about the information you receive. As standard, you’ll get criminal records, traffic violations and public photos in addition to basic details. Keep in mind that court judgments, marriage records, bankruptcy proceedings, tax liens and licenses require another payment to access.
The main draw of PeopleLooker is the website’s highly competitive pricing. Here’s what you can expect to pay:
Five-day trial for $1 only
One-month subscription for $22.86 per month
Quarterly subscription for $18.28 per month paid in a lump sum of $54.83 for three months
Aside from background search and criminal records, PeopleLooker also offers reverse phone lookup, email lookup and property search. However, you’ll need their mobile app to gain access to any of those three features.
While the website doesn’t specify how often their information is updated, you can choose to receive notifications whenever a detail is changed on one of your reports. The search engine will go through data from federal, state, county and public documents as well as social media networks to obtain information.
On top of the subject’s name, you can also specify their state of residence. PeopleLooker gives you the option to further narrow down your search by adding their age and city. Remember that with any service based in the United States, you can only perform checks on people who are located in the country.
PeopleLooker Customer Service:
Live support is available here 24 hours per day throughout the week. PeopleLooker even has active Facebook and Twitter accounts to make it easier to get in touch. Their focus on customer experience is also evident in their transparent approach to pricing. The company is very specific about what you’ll have to pay extra for when obtaining information.
Our #2 rated backgroud check site - PeopleLooker
After testing 5 services, the combination of features, user interface, ease of access, customer service and competitive pricing makes PeopelLooker come in in second place.
"I am shocked & impressed" - Colette Murphy
#3. Best site for background checks: BeenVerified
Stellar ratings and solid customer service make BeenVerified a noteworthy option for your background-checking needs.
What We Like about BeenVerified:
This website is known to provide a reliable background check service with fast turnaround times. Many people prefer BeenVerified for its pricing options, as well as the fact that subscriptions are easy to cancel. Completely and consistently perfect reports aren’t guaranteed, but the data you get is about as accurate and recent as anywhere else.
If you need to find information in a pinch, their mobile apps are available for performing quick searches. Apple Watch owners are able to carry out reverse phone lookups after receiving a call from an unknown number. All things considered, there’s far more to like about BeenVerified than there is to dislike.
That theme extends to the pricing, which falls in the middle of their three services:
Five-day trial for a single $1 payment
One-month membership for $26.89 per month
Three-month plan for $17.48 per month paid in a $52.45 lump sum
Been Verified Features:
Whether you pay for three months or one, you’ll be able to perform as many background reports as you want. BeenVerified is particularly helpful when it comes to searching for friends and family. The website might be your best bet at reconnecting with an old friend or distant relative.
In addition to the sources we already went through, BeenVerified will use mortgage deeds, magazines and utility bills to gather information for your reports. Keep in mind that sensitive information such as banking and account details, as well as social security numbers, are not provided.
You might be wondering what a court runner service is. Both PeopleLooker and BeenVerified have it. Put simply, it involves paying someone to obtain physical documents from a relevant court. This can help you gain access to information that isn’t available online. Read my full review here.
BeenVerified Customer Service:
Take a scroll through the online reviews of BeenVerified, and you’ll find that the company puts a respectable amount of time and effort into ensuring that customers are satisfied. Canceling your subscription requires giving them a call. That can be tedious, but the good news is that this time the process is handled by a robot, making it much quicker.
Our #3 rated backgroud check site - BeenVerified
After testing 5 services, we place BeenVerified in a close third place, the process is a little sticky and some information has restrictions. Still overall, great service.
"Scary what they can uncover" - Colette Murphy
Using Background Check Services
Let’s end things off by touching a little more on when you can and cannot use a background check service. In some cases, it may not be the right option.
When You Can Use Background Checks:
- Learn more about a future date
- Make sure that your kids are safe around new neighbors
- Investigate whether you should deal with a buyer or seller
- Track down old friends or family members
- Find out who keeps contacting you from an unknown number
- Determine whether a potential roommate can be trusted
- Check your own name to identify any issues or inaccuracies
- Clearing your doubts about anyone suspicious
When You Can’t Use Background Check Sites:
- Screening a candidate for a job
- Making business decisions related to hiring, firing and promoting employees
- Investigating a potential tenant’s history for a property lease or rental
- Checking if someone can take out credit or insurance
- Deciding whether a student is eligible for a scholarship or admittance to a course
- Investigating household workers such as cleaners, landscapers and babysitters
For any of the situations where you shouldn’t perform a background check, you always have the option of going through a consumer reporting agency. This will allow you to obtain the information you need without risking any legal issues.
Background check services might not be able to let you in on someone’s deepest and darkest secrets, but it stands to reason that they’re a great way to obtain valuable information in times of need. Give some thought to the above-listed options when deciding where to start your search. They all make excellent choices in their respective categories.