Last updated on March 10th, 2019 at 05:44 pm
Background check services are useful if you’re trying to dig up someone’s past. While these companies are pretty self-explanatory.
When it comes to choosing one for business purposes, it’s important to understand how that particular service works.
While there are a number of options available, each background check company may excel in providing different kinds of information for users.
So depending on the kind of data you’re looking to obtain, one background check service or another may be perfect for your business.
Why You Would Need a Background Check Service
A background check service can come in handy for any number of reasons: whether you’re curious about a past bankruptcy of a prospective collaborator or the criminal record of a worker you are looking to hire.
You might be thinking, you can just do all of this yourself. And you wouldn’t be wrong. Background check services, however, make the process a seamless one.
So you don’t have to scour the Internet like a private detective trying to come up with all this information yourself. A background check service supplies information from a number of sources, such as:
- County clerk’s offices
- Social media sites
Reports you receive through these systems is based on public records. Keep in mind, some of this information may be a bit outdated.
But chances are if you received this information through a background check service, it’s the most updated information available anyway.
The services mentioned in this review are able to provide extensive background checks. This includes criminal history among other details that will prove useful to your small business.
Keep reading for a detailed review and comparison of what we believe are the top background check services. First, let’s discuss how best to use these systems.
Background Check Services: How to Use One Legally
While background check services are immensely useful, they do come with limitations. Most of which help to make sure you are on the straight and narrow.
The US Fair Credit Reporting Act places restrictions on the way information is used once obtained from these systems.
In the event that you are in need of such services, you are required to use a consumer reporting agency, or employment screening service. This is protocol when you are (in the case of your business) screening employees.
The agencies mentioned above are required to follow strict guidelines that protect the integrity of data. They also include processes that allow the subject (of the background check) the right to resolve any disputes that may or may not arise.
There may be legal repercussions for persons who reject employees or tenants based on information obtained from an investigation.
Now, let’s get into what are the top background check services, in terms of delivering accuracy, ease-of-use, and comprehensiveness.
1.Best Background Check Service: Intelius
There are also other factors that help Intelius claim the number one spot.
It is true that this background check service costs twice as much as the competition (in most cases) but it also dominates in terms of providing the most up to date data.
Whether you require basic information like full names, dates of birth, or a person’s address, Intelius provides users with an opulent database that also includes criminal reports, civil reports, and bankruptcy information.
In the event that a person doesn’t have a criminal history, the section will be blank. Users should be able to peruse records that date as far back as 19 years.
If the subject of your research has a ‘colorful’ criminal history, that information will be available to you (nearly) in full. This includes charges that were dismissed.
From felonies, and misdemeanors, each of which is clearly labeled. So long as they are available, each offense description should list disposition dates and pleas.
In some cases, users may realize not every offense is listed in reports. Consider that the public records may be the one at fault. The latest information may be unavailable due to it not being entered in a database.
Intelius: The Bottom Line
When it’s all said and done, Intelius remains superior to the competition.
A clean interface displays reports with descriptive categories that help you sift through information easily.
Combine these features with a great customer support team, a site that’s user-friendly and easy to navigate, and you have what we believe is the best background check service currently available.
Let’s have a look at its standout features:
Intelius Standout Features
- Most up to date data
- Most comprehensive reports
- Clean interface
- Descriptive categories
- Great support team
- Users cannot search by age or phone number, which can be inconvenient
What They Offer:
- People search
- Background search
- Criminal records
- Reverse phone lookup
- Reverse email lookup
- Reverse property lookup
For the most part, users find that information (such as name, current address, phone number etc.) is accurate. There have been occasions, however, where the information isn’t quite as reliable.
For instance, some users found that a subject’s legal name would pop up as an alias. BeenVerified’s address history goes back more than 20 years and provides information that is a bit more updated than you might expect.
In some cases, you will have access to majority of civil judgments, and tax liens. BeenVerified explains in the midst of reports that they only cover the US.
So for some subjects, you may find that certain bits of criminal history (for example) may be missing.
Note: This Background Check service is not FCRA compliant. You may not use BeenVerified’s service, or the information it provides, to make decisions about consumer credit, employment, insurance, tenant screening, or any other purpose that would require FCRA compliance. This is applicable, but not limited to, a Background Search, Credit Background Check, Criminal Background Check, and/or Driving Record. BeenVerified is not a consumer reporting agency and does not, and cannot, provide consumer reports. These terms have special meanings
under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 USC 1681 et seq., (“FCRA”), which are incorporated herein by reference.
BeenVerified: The Bottom Line
While not a perfect background check company, BeenVerified definitely delivers in the top tier as it pertains to bankruptcies, tax liens, and civil judgments.
If this is the kind of information you require, BeenVerified may be more than you need.
Let’s break down its standout features:
BeenVerified: Standout Features
- Users receive super accurate information on bankruptcy, tax liens, and court judgment reports.
- Billions of data points organized into concise reports.
- Accurate first person search with special focus on criminal checks including arrests, driving records, judgments etc.
- A user-friendly platform with a free mobile app for those needing information on the go.
- Affordable pricing, reasonable terms, and accurate results.
- Data in system is sometimes incomplete
Where you’ll find this service lacking is in providing civil judgments and tax liens. In other words, you won’t get a grasp on a person’s court history. Depending on the situation, this can be troubling.
Users have found that PeopleFinders would face difficulty picking up particular pieces of data for certain subjects. With regards to criminal background for instance.
For one subject, other background check companies came up with over 90 percent of crimes they had committed. While PeopleFinders dished out a less than impressive 75 percent. So the reports aren’t inaccurate by any means, more so incomplete.
Overall, PeopleFinders is still a solid background check company even if it doesn’t quite compete for the number one spot on this list.
Here are its standout features:
PeopleFinders Standout Features:
- Background check reports are especially easy to read because of descriptions included in each section
- Some reports are incomplete
But rest assured that this is a great service for uncovering bits of a person’s history.
PublicData.com offers two accounts, an individual account, and a business account. Both of which have their advantages and disadvantages.
The individual account costs less (as you might have gathered), though the business account doesn’t come at such a hefty price either.
Whether $34/year (individual) or $500/year (business), users are given access to a wealth of information through a user-friendly system. Information includes property tax, civil court, criminal records, sex offenders etc.
PublicData.com: The Bottom Line
The site also offers a demo of their database offerings for users to check out. Reports are by no means difficult to read, and the range of information available is substantial.
Here are its standout features:
Publicdata.com Standout Features
- Reports are easy to read
- Provides information on sex offenders (a lot of background check services don’t do this)
- While not often, some reports were incomplete
5. US Search
When conducting a background check, you’ll need a company you can count on to deliver reliable data.
US Search does that and then some, supplying users with accurate information in clean and easy to read reports.
US Search may not be number one on this list, but that doesn’t take away from its ability to match the best companies in terms of accuracy for criminal records.
When searching for a person, you are given several parameters. Including a preview of matches that are available through the service. This way you can be sure you have selected the right person.
US Search: The Bottom Line
Like Intelius, US Search has an awesome customer support team. Combine this with its delivery of accurate, clear-cut information (particularly) for criminal records, and you’ll understand why US Search deserves to be on this list.
Here are its standout features:
US Search Standout features
- Super accurate criminal history
- You have access to reports you’ve purchased for an entire year
- Easy to use dashboard
- Great customer support
- A lot of the data (bankruptcy, marriage and divorce records etc.) aren’t made available in a basic package.
You’ll find the table of contents at the top, except there are no explanations for individual sections.
Once you pay for an online background check, it will be available on the website for as long as seven days. Afterward, it’s gone.
Your best bet would be to download a PDF of the report if you need to get around to it on your own time.
PeopleWise’s list of FAQs can probably answer any questions you may have. If not, you can always contact PeopleWise via live chat or email. Unfortunately, the company doesn’t offer phone support.
If you go through their email form on their website, don’t be surprised if a representative gets in touch with you the same day.
While the speedy response is appreciated, some users find that talking to a representative isn’t much different from reading the FAQs.
If your concern or query isn’t especially important, this shouldn’t be too big of a deal.
When doing background check reports, accuracy is of utmost importance. As a background check company, they don’t do half bad in this department.
PeopleWise prioritizes accuracy, especially where criminal history, and bankruptcy is concerned.
While it excels in these areas, there are distinct reasons why it ranks lower than other background check services mentioned on this list.
Most notably, it doesn’t provide information on whether someone is a registered sex offender. In other words, PeopleWise’s reports aren’t quite as thorough as the previous companies we’ve covered.
PeopleWise: The Bottom Line
Considering the limitations on public records, PeopleWise database is pretty up to date. In retrieving criminal information, users find the data to be complete and accurate. With only a few who found duplicates among the information.
One thing you’ll notice with PeopleWise is it allows you to search for a person based on more than their name and state. Users are able to search by address, city, state, or age and phone number.
You get access to a preview with tons of possible matches. The preview includes names, aliases, ages, and cities the person has lived in — down to possible relatives.
This helps you make sure it’s the right person before you purchase a full background check report.
As you can see, PeopleWise is an efficient background check company more than worthy of being on this list.
With detailed reports and accuracy made a priority, PeopleWise is one of the best background check services available.
Let’s take a look at its standout features:
PeopleWise: Standout Features
- PeopleWise provides a useful list of FAQs (which in most cases may be all you need in the event that you have questions)
- Social media profiles are included in reports and can be useful for obtaining more information on a person
- Information in reports are a bit limited compared to other background check services
This includes information such as a list of relatives, criminal records, or the associates of a subject.
With PeopleSmart, you can go beyond that thanks to the plethora of information available in its background check reports.
Of course, you also get the basics, but users are able to access sex offender status along with bankruptcies, tax liens, court judgments etc.
While PeopleSmart provides a wealth of data, a slight issue of inaccuracy gets in the way of it being as useful as you’d like. You’ll find the records to be correct (for the most part), but a lack of clarity may throw you off at first.
Here’s an example:
One user found that the criminal background check for a test subject had over 90 records. In reality, the subject was convicted for only 20 crimes. The others were merely duplicates. You might see where, in some situations, this can be worrying.
Once you take the time to swim through the duplicates, you would find PeopleSmart’s database to be rather accurate.
Users have discovered so much as a list of relatives that accounted for half the subject’s family, and majority of civil judgments against said subject.
There is the occasional instance where the results would be the complete opposite. In that, the information was anything but accurate. Or worse (depending on how you look at it) didn’t show up.
This isn’t to say PeopleSmart is not (generally) an efficient background check service. It provides a wide range of data that is otherwise unavailable in some other systems, and the information (once you sort through duplicates) is reliable.
PeopleSmart Standout Features
- Reports hold a plethora of data
- Information is pretty accurate
- Reports lack clarity mostly due to duplicates
Not only are its background reports clean, they are also attractive. No different than the graphics and interface that highly augment the user experience of their site.
Beyond the aesthetics, Instant Checkmate also delivers in terms of accuracy. Even if some of the data is a bit incomplete. If a user is interested in finding court judgment or bankruptcy information that will come at a cost.
While you do get access to criminal history, if you’d require ‘highly protected’ criminal records, that too will cost you.
Seeing as there are other (and superior) background check services that provide this information upfront, small business owners may find themselves looking elsewhere.
Instant Checkmate: The Bottom Line
Instant Checkmate provides an efficient system with accurate data. Its design is well thought out and prioritizes user experience and clarity. It falls short, however, as it pertains to the completion of some its data.
Here are its standout features:
Instant Checkmate Standout features
- Well-designed interface
- Mostly accurate data
Instant Checkmate: Cons
- Information is not as complete as users might like
However, it doesn’t deliver (compared to other services) when it comes to accuracy.
Another upside is the search assistance that is made available to users.
This is useful if you have a hard time while running a background check on someone. Or in the event that you just want to make sure you haven’t dug up the wrong person.
You can always get in touch with customer support and detail the information you require. After which, a rep from Verispy should be in touch with you via email. In some cases, this may take 48 hours, though some users claim to have waited longer.
Verispy offers the usual setup, where you can search for a person based on basic information. Such as their name and their general location.
You do have the option to perform a nationwide search, but this is only useful if you are not certain what state the person lives in.
You are provided with previews of potential matches to help determine whether you’ve found the right person. After making your selection, the report is displayed on another screen.
Verispy: The Bottom Line
Verispy delivers in terms of comprehensiveness, and the search assistance is a nice touch. However, the service falls short with accuracy.
Verispy Standout features:
- Users can receive search assistance with background reports
- Reports fall short in accuracy compared to other services
After all, these can affect a person’s image in business, and may or may not determine the outcome of employment or a collaboration.
Inteligator offers a database that is comprehensive, to say the least. From phone numbers, to other relevant information like bankruptcies.
The problem comes in once you test the accuracy of this data. Notably, tax liens, and civil judgements. Criminal history was a bit more on the money. But is held back largely due to out of date information.
Inetligator does offer search assistance, but whether that makes up for the inaccurate information would come down to your own experience.
Inteligator: The Bottom Line
Like Verispy, Inteligator has a comprehensive database with reports that are simple enough to read.
Verispy doesn’t provide the most accurate reports compared to other background check services that rank higher on this list. Inteligator is the same, even less so.
The company (Inteligator) does offer search assistance that should help make sense of the data obtained from a background check. But when we consider the large inaccuracy in their database, Inteligator just doesn’t stack up to its competitors.
Here are its standout features:
Inteligator Standout Features:
- Comprehensive reports
- Offers search assistance
- Information can be very inaccurate
Our Final Word on the Best Background Check Service
It goes without saying, you will want a background check service that offers accuracy. It wouldn’t hurt to try looking for a company that provides the closest thing to a complete package.
Comprehensive can be only as useful as the information is correct. In the case of your small business, you will need a service that provides as much relevant and accurate information as possible.
We highly recommend Intelius because we believe it delivers the best on all fronts. While not a perfect company, their comprehensiveness, accuracy and clean reports make for an efficient background check service.
The WiseSmallBusiness Team is full of industry experts and successful business owners willing to contribute important business articles.