Check into someone, you will be amazed by how many options will be turned up. There are hundreds of sites out there which all claim to be able to take the hard graft and long hours out of background checks and deliver you the information you need quickly and easily.
Some will deliver on this promise, while others will just take your money and run. Which is why choosing the right background check site is an important decision.
That is where this article comes in. Because just as a background check site can take the legwork out of looking into someone’s history, so too we have taken the legwork out of choosing a background check site.
We have tested all of the main players on the market against the core criteria which our research and feedback from users tells us are the main things most background check site users are looking for. And we have distilled the market down to four sites which we are confident make up the best background check sites.
So, to find out everything you need to know about background check sites as well as which ones we recommend, just keep on reading.
Best background check sites (2020)
Picking through the huge number of background check sites to find the right ones for you can be a daunting prospect. There are hundreds on the market, and while many are quite legitimate and will do their best for you, there are more than a few that you would be best advised to steer clear of.
In seeking to identify the best background check sites available at the moment, we therefore employed a number of core criteria which research and user feedback suggested were the main things customers were looking for from these sites. Those criteria were:
- Comprehensive background checks – Different sites will collate data from different sources and some are far more comprehensive than others.
- Accurate and comprehensible reports – The end-product that the customer receives is all important, but the quality and detail of final reports can vary wildly from site to site.
- Ease-of-use – Most background check sites use a dashboard to allow users to easily manage their projects. But some of these can be easier to use than others.
- Thorough research – There are a few sites which will do little more than a basic internet search and then put what they find in a pretty report document. But most customers expect more than that, so we have sought out those sites which go the extra mile to find out as much as possible.
- Search customization – A good background check site will allow you to customize your research depending on the information you have available and what you want to know. We have only recommended those sites with the best possible search customization options.
- Effective customer support – Background checking is an imprecise science and it is quite common for users to need to engage with the site to get to the information they need. Good customer support is therefore vital.
- Mobile apps – As well as a good desktop dashboard, more and more background check site users want to be able to access their data on mobile devices too. Not all sites can offer this facility to date, so we have only picked out sites which have mobile apps available.
It is important to state that while we have only had positive experiences with all of the background checking sites we have recommended in this article, background checking is not a precise science.
We cannot absolutely guarantee that all of our recommended sites will get everything right every time. But we can guarantee that they will always do their best to deliver customer satisfaction and that they are the very best that are available on the market.
The four background checking sites we recommend based on the above criteria are:
Based on our testing and the core criteria most users prioritise, the best background check Site on the market in 2020 is definitely Instant CheckMate.
Users of CheckMate can set up a background check using an absolute minimum of information. Their service lets you search by full or even partial name, as well as last known location. This means they are great for researching long-lost friends, relatives, or even new neighbours you want to find out more about.
Their prices, in general, are a little higher than some of their rivals, but you can be sure of the quality of work being done for that money. Their reports are also detailed, accurate, and easy to read, while their customer service is open around the clock on both phone or email.
CheckMate offers a basic and premium level of service. If we are honest, the basic CheckMate service is a bit limited, but it will still offer you information on things like sex offender status, criminal records, marriage and divorce records, details of relatives, address history and any public social media profiles.
For detailed information on such things as financial history, court records, driving licenses and weapons licenses, you will need to pay a bit more for their premium plan.
CheckMate only has an app available for Android devices at the moment, so while iOS users may not fancy them, for everyone else, they are one of the best background check sites around.
This site’s name is a bold one, but in testing it’s certainly living up to its billing. Truthfinder claim to search through millions of public records and can provide such information as contact details, current and previous addresses, criminal and court records, driving records, personal information, and details of known relatives.
In addition, they also offer what is described as a “deep web research” service which claims to dig out more information from social media and other online resources than any of their competitors.
Their results are unquestionably comprehensive and their reports of a high standard.
Like other background check sites, Truthfinder offers basic and premium rates. If you want details such as a person’s education history, voter registration records, weapons and other licenses held, you will need to pay a little more. But their prices are about average for the background check market at the moment and good value for money given the service they provide.
Truthfinder only offers an Android app at the moment, which means iOS users cannot access their data on the go. But their desktop dashboard is another well-thought-through one and Truthfinder is another provider which offers 24/7 customer support too.
Our final recommended background check site for 2020 is Intelius. Intelius offers background checks which cover an enormous range of data sources and these are available at an extremely reasonable price.
The research that goes into an Intelius background check includes a criminal records check, financial history research, information on property records, educational history, job history, and a lot more besides. They also offer a reverse phone number lookup service. Intelius are one of the best-regarded sites around and with good reason.
Their attention to detail is remarkable and they have already completed more than 50 million background checks for satisfied customers from across the USA.
The Intelius offer is not just an automated one either, there is a human element to much of what they do too. This includes sending an individual to search through non-digitized records in criminal and civil courthouses to ensure no information slips through the net.
Intelius customers will access their reports and any other information through the sites dashboard. This is a nicely designed and easy-to-navigate tool, which most users love.
Their reports are also well regarded too, being both accurate, detailed, yet easy to read. Intelius offers dedicated apps available for Android and iOS mobile devices too, to let their customers access their data on the go. And their excellent customer service team can be contacted via email, on the phone, or through their online troubleshooter service.
What is an online background check?
Online background checking sites the place to go if you want to find out more information about just about anyone. They offer research services and will search through all publically available information and data about a person based on the details someone enters into the site. This can be as little as a partial name, an email address, or even just a phone number.
These sites will delve into thousands of different sources to find out as much about that person as they can, or as much as their customer has asked for. They will then collate all of this information they gather into an easy-to-read report. Background checking sites use a completely legal process to access and compile information that is already in the public domain.
They are there to take away the stress of finding this information. They use the latest technology to search through a huge range of sources of information automatically and fast. They then compile that information to build a clear portrait of the person being checked.
If the process is done by an individual manually it would take many days of hard graft. But a background checking site can do the job in a fraction of the time and for a minimal amount of effort. When they have done this, they will provide customers with a straightforward report which distills all of this information into an easily-readable format which tells you everything you need to know.
Where do background checking companies source their information?
This really is a $64,000 question, and there is no clearly defined answer to give. Every background checking site operates differently and they will all use gather data from a different selection of sources depending on what data they have access to and what their individual customers are looking to find out.
Having said that, background checking sites will still generally look at the same type of data even if they are getting it from different places. It is all information that is freely and legally in the public domain and available to be accessed.
The type of information they will access includes things like criminal records, education records, credit check records, driving records, social security data, litigation records (to reveal details of any legal proceedings they were involved in), archive records, personal references, and any information that has been posted publicly on social media sites and other web forums.
Because this data is openly available, most of these sites have set up algorithms which allow them to search and compile this information much faster than a regular researcher could manually. So, if you want to carry out a background check that is quick, thorough, and reliable, a background checking site is the only way to do it.
Why are some background checks free while others have to be paid for?
A lot of people will search around for a free background checking site when they first decide to do a check into someone. The idea of paying for all this information that is freely in the public domain anyway is something many are uncomfortable with. That is understandable, but also unrealistic.
Carrying out a background check is not a simple task. It requires using either man-hours or technology to access and search the data, and then putting that information together in a report requires yet more resources.
If you want a comprehensive, accurate, and reliable background check to be carried out, then there is inevitably going to be some cost involved. What is impressive is the fact that many of the best background checking sites have kept this cost so low.
Prices can vary quite a bit between different background checking sites and if affordability is a big deal for you, this is something worth considering when choosing which site to use.
But do bear in mind that if you do go for a cheaper option, you do run the risk of compromising on the quality of service you receive too. And you get nothing for free these days, and any background checking site that is offering a report for free is highly unlikely to provide with either in-depth or trustworthy information.
When can I use a background check?
There is a potential moral dilemma that can be involved in running a background check on someone. It might feel intrusive or akin to spying on them, which is why it is important to remember that background checking sites are not accessing any information that is not already readily available and in the public domain.
This is not surveillance to try and find out something new about someone, it is merely looking at information about them that is already openly available.
However, there are still some laws in the USA over when you can and cannot run a background check on someone. If you are thinking to use a background checking site, it is important that you are aware of the handful of circumstances when doing so could be against the law.
Not all of the sites themselves make this completely clear, which is why we have compiled an easy-to-follow list of what background checking sites can and cannot be used for.
Background checking sites CAN be used for…
It’s ok to use a background checking site in the following scenarios:
- Finding out about your new neighbors
- Looking into your new partner
- Seeking out long-lost friends or relatives
- Finding out who keeps calling your phone
- Identifying sex offenders in your community
- Research what information is publically available about yourself
Background checking sites CANNOT be used for…
It is not ok to use a background checking site in the following scenarios:
- Researching future employees without their permission – This is considered illegal under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) in the USA. If you do want to research a potential employee, you must first obtain written permission from them to do so.
- Researching the background of domestic workers – Looking into the history of potential cleaners or other domestic assistants is also illegal under the FCRA unless you have first obtaining written permission.
- Finding out if someone is eligible for credit, insurance, scholarships, or grants is also illegal under the FCRA.
- Identifying suitable tenants for a property to be rented out. Again, this is illegal under the FCRA.
If you do attempt to use a background check company for one of these four purposes and are caught doing so, you could face legal repercussions including potentially having to pay significant damages to the person you have looked into.
background checking is a big business right now and there is no shortage of sites around that claim to offer the best service available. Inevitable, some are much better than others and if you do want to carry out a background check, it can be hard to choose which site to use.
In this article, we have used the main criteria most users are looking for from a site and combined that with our experiences testing these sites to pick out the four sites which we feel are the best background checking Sites on the web in 2020.
Have you had any experiences using a background checking site?
How did you find them? How did our recommended sites work for you? Are there any other background check
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