When you need in-depth information about someone, a background check is the simplest and quickest way to access the information you need. The best background check services can reveal criminal history, education, financial standing, and a lot more about an individual.
The information attained through a background check is culled from public records. This means it is technically possible to find the information you need on your own. However, people typically find that the time, effort, and money it requires to perform this type of research independently is extensive, making a professional background check service the better option.
Choosing the best background check services can be challenging. This guide gives you the facts you need to know to make an informed choice.
6 Best Background Check Services
- Truthfinder – Best Background Check Service Overall
- Intelius – Best for Single Reports
- Instant Checkmate – Best for Criminal Activity Reports
- Spokeo – Best for Ease of Use
- PeopleFinders – Best for Personal Use
- BeenVerified – Best for Tracking New Information
In researching background check services, we focused on the essential elements that contribute to the usefulness and reliability of each company and the features they offer. We looked at factors like pricing, the accuracy of results, customer support, delivery time, and comprehensiveness of results to prepare this buyer’s guide. Read our complete methodology below.
Dark Web Scan and Caller I.D.?
Searches Social Media?
$4.99 – $27.78
$0.95 – $39.95
+$19.95 per report for Premium
Searches limited by price, which varies widely:
$24.95 – $119
$1.95 – $29.95
Truthfinder earns its place as the best of the best background check services by offering a full slate of features. This service returns reports that give information on a subject’s current location, financial status, educational history, close acquaintances, and social media accounts.
With Truthfinder you can choose everything from a simple people search and reverse phone lookup to a detailed background check, including criminal history. The service will check the sex offender registry and even give results from the dark web.
- Scans the dark web
- Color-coded mobile app
- Checks social media accounts
- User-friendly reports
- Membership includes unlimited searches
- Search can be slow
- Cannot purchase single reports
Even the best background check services cannot guarantee that their results are 100% accurate. A service can only report the information that is held in the public records they are mining.
Truthfinder produces reports containing the most accurate and current information available within its databases. Truthfinder has earned an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau based on its business transparency, compliance with the law, and relentless efforts to solve customer complaints.
Truthfinder customer support is available by phone from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Pacific Standard Time. For customers living in other time zones or in need of support outside of phone hours, you can contact the service through email.
Truthfinder balances this shortcoming by providing an extensive amount of information on its site. Many customer questions may be answered without the need for customer support personnel.
Truthfinder delivers a report to users within an average time of five minutes. This is not as quick as some services with nearly instantaneous response times; however, when you consider the comprehensiveness of this service’s reports, it is reasonable. The best background check services must balance speed with the depth of information.
Truthfinder is completely membership-based. It does not offer individual or one-off searches or background checks.
Its membership prices are competitive within the industry with a monthly cost of $27.78. It is worth noting that this fee includes unlimited access to all of Truthfinder’s search and background check features for the month of membership.
It does offer a separate lower-cost membership for those only seeking a simple people search. That cost is $4.99 and includes unlimited searches throughout the membership period.
Truthfinder reports are extensive and provide a great depth of information. While other services offer a selection of features, Truthfinder shows itself to be one of the best background check services by providing a one-stop option for multiple background check categories.
Whether you are seeking to reconnect with an old acquaintance or find yourself needing extensive information on an individual, Truthfinder has the tools to answer your most pressing questions.
Additionally, Truthfinder keeps its customers’ privacy intact by offering the ability to perform deep web scans and institute caller identity checks on its smartphone app.
Intelius has been in business for 15 years, making it one of the most established best background check services on this list. They have many purchase options, including a people search, background checks, and the opportunity to subscribe to identity protection.
Intelius is one of the few background check services that gives customers the option to purchase a single background check rather than signing up for a membership. For those needing a greater volume of checks, they have multiple membership plans.
- Single report purchase option
- Identity protection available
- Comprehensive database
- Reverse phone and address lookup
- Confusing site navigation
- Confusing price structure
- Limited customer support
Intelius made a change in its platform a few years ago. Customer response has not been completely positive. There have been numerous complaints of reports containing inaccurate or dated information.
The company does have an A rating from the Better Business Bureau, which is an improvement over their ratings in the past. This positive rating indicates a high level of business transparency and integrity.
Intelius customer support is available on weekdays by phone from 7 a.m. until 5 p.m. Pacific Standard Time. Beyond this, customers can email the customer support department with questions. The company states that emails will be answered at the earliest opportunity.
Given the variety of service plans that Intelius offers, their turnaround time on completed reports vary slightly. The simplest people searches and email lookups will take approximately five minutes. More intensive reports including criminal record searches and full background checks can take up to 30 minutes to complete.
Intelius’s premier plus membership gives customers unlimited access to most of their services and runs $29.95 a month. Identity theft protection is an added service that costs an additional $20.00 monthly.
Unlike many of the best background check services, Intelius customers have the convenience of forgoing a membership if they only need to look into a single person, but the pricing here can get confusing.
A simple people search will reveal basic information and costs $0.95. If you want to add an email lookup or a social network search, the cost jumps to $6.95. A single criminal record search costs $29.95, while a single full background check runs $39.95.
Considering that not all the lower-tier services are included in the price of the upper-tier services, ordering the type of search you want can be both pricey and confusing.
Intelius has grown into a massive data bank over the years and now pulls information from more than 20 billion public records. This enables them to offer their customers a myriad of services including people search, background checks, social media monitoring, educational achievements, and criminal records.
Some users have complained that the company’s many levels of service are confusing, however. There isn’t a clear all-inclusive subscription. Customers must choose between doing a people search, a separate social media search, or yet another search for property records. Moreover, all of these are separate from a background check.
Additionally, customers can pay an extra fee to add an identity protection component to their services. Although Intelius offers a wide range of services, the choices might be overwhelming to casual users.
Instant Checkmate was founded in 2010 and is an established and widely used background check service. It offers a simple interface that customers find easy to use.
Unlike many of the best background check services, Instant Checkmate does not require additional fees for a detailed criminal history. This info is included in the standard subscription price.
- Criminal background checks included with a standard membership
- Sex offender mapping
- Full-featured mobile app
- Slow loading reports
- Overly promotional FAQs and knowledge base
- Misleading paywall
Instant Checkmate provides accurate information; however, customers have complained that reports are sometimes limited in scope. On its site, Instant Checkmate claims that it utilizes a minimum of two reputable information sources that are checked against one another for accuracy.
Customer service hours are limited. Customers can reach help agents during working hours only via phone or email. Instant Checkmate has a limited FAQ page and knowledge base for customers looking to solve problems independently.
Report generation typically takes five minutes or more, which is standard among the best background check services. However, users must remain at the computer during report generation as Instant Checkmate utilizes a series of pop-up questions throughout the process to refine results.
Instant checkmate offers one of the simplest pricing plans of all the best background check services. Their standard membership runs $35 a month and includes a robust criminal records check. While this price is somewhat high, the ease and inclusivity of the subscription plan are appealing.
To obtain information on property ownership and liens, you need to upgrade to a premium service, which costs an additional $19.95 per report. If you need this type of information, and especially if you need it for several individuals, this added cost could make the price prohibitive for some.
Customer reviews in this area are somewhat mixed. While users report that general information is sometimes shallow, it is notable that the information pertaining to criminal records is extensive.
Instant Checkmate stands out among the best background check services for the thoroughness of its criminal records check. This service goes beyond reporting criminal charges and convictions and will often find details about the crimes that are invaluable to the search, such as case numbers and sentencing.
Instant Checkmate also does a good job related to sexual offender identification. Reports may include maps and even pictures of known offenders within a certain geographic area.
Spokeo started out as a site that specializes in checking information on social media sites. It has grown steadily since then and now offers many of the industry-standard features that are common with the best background check services.
Spokeo is known for its intuitive interface. It also offers some unique services that other best background check services do not, such as a family tree feature to identify genealogical connections.
- Phone app gives push notifications
- “Insights” feature offers interesting details
- Simple user interface
- Pulls from a relatively small database
- Reports are not in-depth
- Reveals limited financial information
Spokeo garners its information from public resources such as real estate listings and social media. As a background check service is only as accurate as its database, there are sometimes issues of Spokeo searches returning inaccurate or out-of-date information.
Spokeo customer service is available by phone or email every day from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. You can also utilize their live chat feature Monday through Friday from 8 a.m to 5 p.m.
Spokeo is one of the fastest services on our list of the best background check services. Spokeo typically compiles a complete report within one to five minutes. Customers state that searches are often completed in an even shorter amount of time.
For the individual user, Spokeo offers a monthly membership for $24.95. This plan is limited to 100 searches throughout the month. If you want to upgrade, it will cost an additional $21 per month.
For businesses, Spokeo offers memberships with a wide range of fees that depend on the number of searches needed per month. Subscriptions start at $35.95 a month for 200 searches and increase to $119.95 for 1,000 searches.
Outside of its membership plans, Spokeo offers one-time, simple people searches for $0.95 each.
Although Spokeo offers many of the same search types as the other best background check services, the information its reports provide does not tend to be expansive. In particular, criminal record checks and financial information are likely to be minimal.
However, Spokeo offers niche services that are hard to find elsewhere. It continues to excel at social media mining and uncovers interesting miscellaneous facts such as hobbies and dating patterns. It is also the only one of the best background check services to offer a family tree builder feature.
PeopleFinders has an impressive database of over 40 billion records and 6,000 data sources that it pulls from. As the name would suggest, this contender for the best background check services excels at simple people searches. It is a go-to resource for individuals looking to reconnect with out-of-touch family and friends.
- Individual searches or memberships available
- Choice of simple search or full background check
- Rapid results
- Doesn’t investigate social media
- Doesn’t check employment history
- The website is not intuitive
PeopleFinders is careful to point out on its website that even the best background check services cannot offer a full guarantee that all information is accurate. The service does pull information from over 6,000 resources.
PeopleFinders’ customer support hours are limited to weekdays 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Pacific Standard Time and weekends from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.PST. You can also reach out to customer service agents via email.
Like many of its competitors, PeopleFinders has a report compilation time of about five minutes or less.
PeopleFinders offers users both memberships and single report options. Their premium level monthly subscription cost is $29.99. For single reports, a basic people search costs $1.95 and a full report runs $9.95.
PeopleFinders is great for personal uses such as locating and contacting old friends or distant family members. When it comes to background checks, PeopleFinders does not report on some details that are common with many of the other best background check services.
It does not reveal any employment history, nor does it give results from any social media resources.
BeenVerified ranks in multiple top 10 lists for best background check services. This company has been around for over a decade. They are known for compiling consistently sound reports that are well-organized and easy to interpret.
- Well-organized reports
- Information tracking features give instant alerts
- App includes incoming number identification
- Lack of details prior to purchasing
- No option to purchase single or specific reports
- No demo report
- Knowledge base and customer service are lacking
The accuracy of BeenVerified’s reports is in line with many of the best background check services on this list. The service gives customers notice on their website that their accuracy will be impacted by the public sources they use to compile reports.
BeenVerified currently has a B rating with the Better Business Bureau. Although it does appear that the service is responsive to customer complaints, this is still the lowest BBB rating of all services on this list.
The customer service team at BeenVerified is available during business hours on weekdays only. Unfortunately, the FAQ and knowledge base are not well developed, so customers have no viable customer support option when phone support is not available.
BeenVerified has a wait of five minutes or less while a purchased report is being compiled.
BeenVerified has a refreshingly simple pricing strategy. It offers all its services for a monthly membership fee of $26.89. If you choose to make a three-month commitment, the membership fee drops to just $17.48.
While its simplicity in pricing is welcome, it is unfortunate that BeenVerified does not allow for the purchase of single reports.
BeenVerified is a solid choice for those looking for the best background check services. Its well-organized reports include basic information as well as financials and detailed criminal history. Its information tracking feature assures that you always have the most current information.
Methodology for the Best Background Check Services
In researching background check services, we focused on the essential elements that contribute to the usefulness and reliability of each company and the features they offer. We were particularly interested in these criteria:
- Reputation for providing accurate information
- Comprehensiveness of report types offered
- Availability and quality of customer support
- Ease of use
- Additional services offered
Although we used a straightforward rating system, it is important to note that any one of these excellent companies may be the best choice for a particular customer.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for Best Background Check Services
It can be stressful deciding which of the best background check services is right for your needs. Most people have unanswered questions about what a background service entails. Here are answers to some of the most common questions about these services.
The Best Background Check Services Offer Convenience and Peace of Mind
Much of the information you wish to obtain about the people in your life can be found within public records. However, accessing and sifting through this mountain of data can take time and resources you do not have.
The best background check services offer a simple, fast and affordable way to pinpoint the information you’re looking for. You need only supply basic details about a person of interest, and they can search millions of public records and utilize thousands of resources to deliver a comprehensive report to you within minutes.