Running a background check gives you a broad overview of potential employees, renters, and more.
You can run a universal background screening before meeting someone for a date or see what information is out there about yourself.
Finding the best background check site will give you the results you need.
What Is a Background Check? A Primer
Employers run pre-employment background checks to see someone’s criminal record.
They’ll get other records, too, but the criminal aspect is typically what they’re looking for.
The employers or landlords then use this information to decide if it’s worth hiring or renting to a felon.
While the information on a background screening only gives a broad overview of your past, it holds a lot of weight in the final decision.
Some employers or landlords will consider how long ago the crime happened.
They might contact personal references to see if you’ve changed your life since the felony before making their choice.
How Long Does a Background Check Take?
In general, a criminal background check takes about 48 hours.
But the exact length of time to go through a background check company depends on how much information the person is asking for.
If they just want to know your credit score or see if you’re on the sex offender registry, results are instant due to quick online searches.
However, if the employer or landlord needs to verify your education, past employment, and more, it takes longer.
Someone will have to call each educational institution and past job to talk with HR for employment verification.
Professional background screeners will do this, but it’s easier to use a verified site for pre-employment screening.
What Shows Up on a Background Check?
You have to give some basic personal information to consent to a background screening.
The person running it will need your full name, birth date, and Social Security number.
With this information, they’ll be able to see things like:
- Criminal records
- Driving history
- Credit reports
- Education history
- Medical records
- Military information
Some background checks also pull your social media profiles and online footprint.
They can find your past employers, court records, and previous addresses, as well.
How Far Back Does a Background Check Go?
Most background checks only go back seven years, but it varies depending on your state.
States that limit reviews to seven years include:
- New Hampshire
- New Mexico
- New York
Some states go back ten years, and others have different restrictions.
In Tennessee, for example, criminal background checks can go back 25 to 30 years.
Sometimes, the severity of the crime impacts whether it will show up on your background screening or not.
What Different Types of Background Checks Are There?
There are many different types of background checks, ranging from identity verification to more in-depth reports.
You can get a criminal background report, credit check, and DMV history.
Background checks that go through the FBI require fingerprints.
This requirement is one of the most detailed background checks because you get results, including arrest records, employment, insurance, accidents, etc.
For a federal job, you’ll need more thorough background checks.
The employer will need to ensure they can grant you security clearance and trust you with sensitive information with little to no risk.
What Can Be Included in a Typical Background Check?
A typical background check will include information about your criminal history, credit history, and driving records.
Some will also have your work and education history and general identity information to ensure you are who you say you are.
The criminal record includes felonies, misdemeanors, court records, warrants, and incarceration dates.
If you’re on the sex offender registry, this shows up on your record, as well.
However, people can find sex offender information online without running a complete check.
How Much Do Background Checks Cost?
The cost of background checks varies according to what information you need.
Criminal background checks range from $20 to $100, while credit checks are usually $25 to $35.
There are even free outlets for background checks, but the results might not give you as complete a picture as the paid options.
It’s worth making room in your budget to run background checks on the front end instead of regretting it later.
Not knowing who you’re hiring or renting to can open you up to many damages, lawsuits, and lost income if it all goes wrong.
Protect yourself by running background checks on everyone.
What Are the Best Background Check Sites?
The best background check service will make it, so you don’t have to do any work yourself.
Input the person’s identification, and you’ll get the right results with no additional effort on your part.
Sites accredited by the Better Business Bureau will deliver accurate information.
What Is the Most Accurate Criminal Background Check Provider?
Instant Checkmate pulls data from public records, so you’ll get all the information you need from one site.
Even if you only know someone’s name and location, Instant Checkmate will give their criminal history, past addresses, family members, marriage records, and court documents.
You’ll even find out if they’ve filed for bankruptcy or have a gun license.
Which Site Is Best to Run a Background Check on Myself?
Infotracer is a great site to use to run a background check on yourself.
A 5-day trial is very affordable, so you can see what information is out there about you without breaking the bank.
They have 24/7 customer service, so if you have any questions, you can contact them and learn how to better use the searches in the future.
What Is the Best Background Check Site for Retrieving Lost Connections?
Intelius is the best background check service for finding lost connections because it’s quick, and you don’t need a lot of personal information to run the search.
If you know the name and a location, you’ll be able to pull up relevant records and find who you’re looking for.
What Is the Best Background Check Site for Dating?
CocoFinder is the best background check service for dating.
You can find someone’s social media, online profiles, photos, and more.
If you’re on a dating app, using CocoFinder will allow you to run searches on anyone you’re considering meeting in person.
1. Good Hire
Best Background Checks for Employers
Good Hire offers an employee background check, but you can add on different reports according to your needs.
This fact makes it the ideal site for employers because you can customize your results.
For example, if you’re hiring someone to work with children, you can select the add-on reports to make sure they’re clear.
You can get different reports, such as a driving record from the DMV, for an employee that will be driving a company car.
Other additional services include searching for their professional licenses and running drug screenings.
You can buy several packages from Good Hire, so it’s sure to fit into your budget to give you peace of mind on any new hire.
What Do Employers and Businesses Need To Know About Running Background Checks?
There are a few things that employers need to know before running background checks.
Employers who plan to run background checks on any employee need to run them on everyone, or else they’re at risk of a discrimination lawsuit.
You always have to get permission from the person to run a background check, though if they refuse, you do have grounds not to offer the job.
If anything in the background report makes you not hire a person, you have to inform them of the reasons in writing.
Do Candidates Need To Sign a Waiver for a Background Check?
Yes, you must give written permission for a potential employer to run your background check.
If you don’t give consent and they run a background check, you can contact the FTC about your rights.
Best Background Check Site for Landlords
Instead of waiting for complete results from a third party, BackgroundChecks.com allows landlords to find out everything they need to know about potential renters in as little as three days.
The affordable subscription makes it simple to check plenty of people without paying a lot more or waiting for all the results.
Top Fast Background Check Online
Infomart is a big name in the background check industry, with over 30 years of experience.
With this service, you’ll get results on criminal records, credit reports, driving history, drug testing, and more.
The results are quick, so you don’t have to drag out the hiring process with this tool.
Great Self Background Check
Infotracer is an affordable online background check site that gives quick results. You can see things like your criminal record, court record, marriage license, and social media.
The 5-day trial gives you a chance to see what information others can find on you, and then you’ll know how to use it for others.
You can even upload people’s pictures and use facial recognition software.
5. Been Verified
Best Background Check Site for Property Searches
Been Verified is a unique background check site because it allows you to search for unclaimed property.
If there were any money or property left to you from wills or lawsuits you weren’t aware of, the site would give you that information.
You can also use it to get general public records on people, though it’s not as specific as other sites on this list.
6. Instant Checkmate
Instant Checkmate requires a subscription, but unlimited background checks are worth the money.
You can find a lot of information by entering someone’s name and location.
All of the data from Instant Checkmate is public record and includes bankruptcies, court documents, criminal history, marriages, and traffic reports.
Intelius provides quick results, but this only gives you information about an individual.
You can’t use the results for hiring employees, renting property, or checking credit because it isn’t compliant with the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
However, it’s great to use to check out potential partners—in business or romance!
You can buy an unlimited people search package, and the only information you need is a name and location.
The results it will provide you include:
- Criminal records
- Education and employment history
- Previous addresses
- Court records
- Social media profiles
8. US Search
This background check site is the most affordable option that delivers accurate results.
You can get information on their criminal record and previous addresses.
However, they don’t include legal documents like marriage paperwork.
US Search is a good option if you need general information because it offers cheap subscriptions and one-off reports.
CocoFinder lets you search based on very little information.
Even if you only know someone’s name or phone number, the site crawls public records to compile a report for you.
Though all information is publicly accessible, you still have to use the information carefully.
The site includes a page of Do’s and Don’ts to help you stay legal.
Are There Free Background Checks?
Yes, you can run a free background check to get some limited information about people.
With some free background check sites, you need to double-check the data you receive to ensure it’s accurate and applies to the target person.
Free reports usually aren’t compliant with the Fair Credit Reporting Act, but you can look for legit sites that offer a free trial.
What Is the Best Site for Free Background Checks?
The best site for free background checks is the e-Verify system.
This government website allows users to input data about a person and get results.
You can also use the self-check option to view your own records.
The best background check site will give you data about the person you’re searching for.
The site you need depends on what information you’re looking for and why you need it.
Your time limit can also impact which background check site you use.
The options above will help you cover your bases and protect yourself.