While you can perform a background check without the person or persons knowledge it is not advised that you do so. Ethically—and often legally—you should always obtain permission before conducting a background check.
A bunch of desperate situations call for a background check – it is something that becomes imperative when trust is up in the air. Whether you’re in a new relationship or whether you’re head over heels in love with your partner, a background check can either seal the deal for you or be a dealbreaker. After all, you don’t want to be stuck in a lie. Are we right or are we right?
The best background check websites of 2021 spill out data about your person of interest, present in both public and private databases. So, all in all, they assist you in getting to know more about a person or, in some cases, ensure everything you know about them is real.
Today, there are many websites that offer background check services – however, finding the one that provides accurate information is quite difficult. This can lead to an exhausting series of events where you try out the service but end up dissatisfied and clueless.
To help save your time and energy, we have pulled out 4 best background check websites of 2021 through a rigorous shortlisting process. By reading up on detailed reviews of each one provided below, you can choose the service that fits your needs perfectly.
Best background check services online for public records
1. Truthfinder - Best paid service for public records
Truthfinder is an application that scores the highest in all the different aspects of a background check site. In a single search, you can acquire a person’s contact details such as phone numbers, social media accounts, qualifications, email addresses, work details, criminal record, assets, and even the names of their relatives.
This much information about a person in a single search? That’s right! You cannot underestimate Truthfinder’s unbelievable access to public and private databases. What makes this site the best choice among all its competitors, however, is its accuracy of data.
A lot of customer reviews talk at length about how accurate their data is. And why won't it be? Their database is known to update in real-time.
Nonetheless, before you make any decisions, it is best to always review the pros and cons:
- Unlimited searches
- Dark web checks included
- Application for cell phones (iOS and Android)
- You can add filters to refine the search results
- Reverse phone lookup
- Self-monitoring capabilities
- Reverse address lookup
- Very transparent about where to use the provided information
- Provides you with the latest information since their database keeps getting updated
- No free-trial period
- Additional $2 to download a copy of your report
- You cannot pay for a single search
- Unnecessary pop-up ads
Cost and plans
Price is something that people mostly pay attention to when purchasing something. And we understand that! This is why we've accumulated all the costs and plans associated with Truthfinder for you!
Their monthly membership costs $29, which is comparatively lower than other background check sites. They offer a 20% discount for the first two months, which means you will pay less but still have access to complete services.
There are, however, a few flaws in their membership plan. Truthfinder doesn't allow you to download a copy of your report for free, even if you have a membership. You have to pay an additional $2 if you want to download your report.
In addition to that, the site also doesn’t offer a free trial, which is quite a bummer for most users.
Another paid feature of Truthfinder, which is not offered by most background search websites, is searching by name. Enabling this requires you to subscribe to another membership that costs you around $5.
While, in isolation, users can find Truthfinder's membership plans rather pricey. But if you carry out regular background searches, Truthfinder gives you value for money!
Fast servers for faster searching experience: Its super-fast servers give the service an additional boost. Believe it or not, they extract information from public and private databases and generate your findings report in hardly ten minutes. This, coupled with the fact that Truthfinder also has a mobile app that is compatible with Android and iOS, makes the service too good to be true. You can also opt for the people-search feature once you subscribe to their membership.
But if you don't know the name of the person you’re searching for, you can opt to search for them via their phone number with the help of Truthfinder’s Reverse Phone Lookup Tool. This service is relatively cheaper and costs around $4.99 a month.
User-friendly interface: Do not worry if you don't understand how a background check site works. Truthfinder’s user interface is extremely easy-to-use and the searching process is pretty self-explanatory. Each step guides you to the next step, making any first-time user feel like a pro! Along with this, the terms and conditions of using the service are also very clearly written and translated.
The manufacturers also maintain complete transparency over everything. They tell you clearly where you are permitted to use your acquired data and where you’re not. The team is also very strict about legal boundaries when it comes to data. For example, they have made it very clear that the data acquired from Truthfinder cannot be used for employment and hiring purposes.
Show/hide info about yourself: The most prominent feature of Truthfinder is that it lets you alter data regarding yourself that’s available on the website; in other words, you can choose what to show and what not to show about yourself.
Moreover, Truthfinder enables you to monitor and claim the data in your possession!
These are some of the many reasons why this website tops our list of best background check sites of 2021.
Q: Where can I use the information coming from the Truthfinder background check?
You can search for things like phone numbers, social media accounts, or email addresses to track down your friends or relatives. But you cannot, of course, use that data in employment/hiring.
Q: Can I get someone's criminal record?
You will find all the criminal records of a person on Truthfinder.
The reviews about Truthfinder show how much the team behind it cares about its customers, which is why most reviews are positive. In general, one doesn’t find it difficult to navigate the site or the app as the interface is user-friendly.
But if you still run into any problems, you can click on the ‘help’ section of their website and have your queries answered in no time. Truthfinder’s customer support staff is very supportive, accessible, and accommodating. They are available to address your concerns 24/7.
In addition to that, Truthfinder places its user’s privacy before all else. For this reason, the site encrypts all searches and results to protect them from intruders. Despite these security layers, what remains a mega concern for most people is that background check sites can often be used for criminal purposes such as stalking. However, Truthfinder has also found a way to tackle this by creating strict data usage guidelines and maintaining complete transparency over where users can utilize the acquired data.
In fact, on every check, it warns and reminds you of the do’s and don'ts!
2. Instant Checkmate - Fast social media checks & $1 trial
Instant Checkmate is also a background check site like Truthfinder, but its features vary in certain aspects.
Let’s first, however, talk about what all it offers!
Instant Checkmate provides you with a person's personal information such as address, phone number, and places where he is currently living etc., within minutes. The site comes with an introductory period, starting from $1, that lets users test the site's authenticity and make sure they're choosing the right option.
If you don't search frequently and need to do a search or two for specific purposes, this might be the ideal choice for you.
This background check website also helps you search for someone's criminal record. And while you may think that the same can be done by going to the police, it is imperative that we remind you of what a tedious task that’s going to be! Instant Checkmate does in minutes what the police takes 3-4 days to do. Need we say more?
Save time and avoid legwork with Instant Checkmate!
Although Truthfinder and Instant Checkmate are owned by the same person named Joey Rocco, there are some levels on which these sites differ from each other greatly. For example, Instant Checkmate doesn't use scare tactics and refrains from overwhelming its users before showing a report.
Another thing that makes Instant Checkmate different from Truthfinder is its membership plan. Unlike Truthfinder, you can use this site to make a few innocent searches – it lets you do this with a free trial period that costs only $1 – a feature not available on Truthfinder.
- Has an application that is compatible with both iOS and Android
- Contact info keeps updating in short intervals
- Five-day trial for only $1
- Transparency about how their info can be used
- User-friendly interface
- Unlimited searches on buying a membership
- Slow searching
- No option to buy a single report (membership mandatory)
- Poor refunding policy
Cost and plans
Instant Checkmate's monthly membership appears to be more expensive than other background check apps. You can subscribe to their membership for the period of your choice, but the offer gets subscribed again automatically at the end if you don't cancel your membership within the period. For example, if you subscribe to the membership for a month, then at the end of the month, you will be subscribed automatically for the next month if you don't cancel.
The good part here though is that you can take the five-day trial period, costing just $1, to test the services of this site without making an expensive long-term financial commitment. But remember to unsubscribe before your trial period ends, otherwise you will be automatically subscribed for a one-month membership. You can also choose to view the premium version of your report, which is more in-depth. FYI, premium reports can be downloaded for $19.99 each.
If you’re sick of getting phone calls from unknown numbers and want to find out who is annoying you by making those prank calls, you can search using phone numbers on Instant Checkmate. This is possible if you subscribe to the Phone Lookup Service, which is comparatively cheaper and costs you only $4.99 a month. Moreover, you can save a PDF version of your report for an additional $2.99 that can help you keep track of your data more efficiently and effectively.
Instant Checkmate provides some unique features that you don't usually find in competitors. Nonetheless, they also offer all the standard features that a customer can and should expect from any background check website.
User-friendly interface: Instant Checkmate has a visually attractive, easy to operate, and reliable user interface. The good news is you don't need any guidance while running a search so you don’t have to worry about sharing your escapades on the site with anyone else. In fact, you will automatically know which button to click on each step and how to proceed to the next step.
People search: This is a basic feature of all good background check websites, but is also the most useful one! You don't have to sweat over providing a lot of information about the people you're searching for. You can just enter available information such as their name, location, date of birth, etc. With just this information, you can get your hands on said person’s complete description in a few easy steps. The report includes social media accounts, email addresses, address, phone number, marriage info, aliases and age etc. This much information in just a few simple steps? Surely worthy of your time and money!
Reverse email: Who doesn't get annoyed by those extra spam emails in their inboxes? Well, this Reverse Email Feature enables you to check up on those unknown email addresses to confirm whether they are scams or legit. This works pretty much like the Reverse Phone Lookup Tool.
Q: Is Instant Checkmate legit?
Although Instant Checkmate cannot be relied on completely for extensive background searches, it still helps users acquire a lot in terms of basic people search. It saves your time and provides you with the most accurate information, available on public and private databases.
Q: Can I search on Instant Checkmate for free?
No, you cannot avail their services for free. You will have to subscribe for their membership, which starts at $27.82 a month.
Q: Is Instant Checkmate safe to use?
Yes, your searches and information are safe with Instant Checkmate. They use 128-bit encryption to protect your searches. Scans of Norton Antivirus are run daily on their site to get rid of any possible malware/viruses.
Instant Checkmate has an A+ rating on BBB. On other sites, they maintain a standard rating for a background check app. However, there are some reviews that highlight lack of transparency.
Users also find it quite annoying when subscriptions get renewed automatically. Our recommendation is that you keep a check on when your membership ends, and cancel it on time before it gets renewed automatically.
According to reviews on BBB, customer service also doesn't seem to match user expectations overall. Some complaints show how bad the reps might be at addressing a customer's concern.
3. Intelius - Quick checks & 5 day trial
Intelius is also a background check site that allows you to search people and acquire information about them like name, email address, location, complete address history, phone number and more. The site has its headquarters in Seattle and is owned by Connect Inc.
Intelius is not recommended if you carry out a lot of searches; but, if you're looking for an old school pal, this site can prove to be quite helpful.
Its database is humongous. It allows users to search, without leaving traces behind – this means, the person being searched does not get notified. What's different about Intelius is also that it offers free basic searches. So, you can search without paying anything out of your pocket.
Nonetheless, the results from an Intelius search are quite limited and the information in the report can be vague. For example, in this free search, you only get a person's name, address/location and the first six digits of their phone number. This limited information basically provokes you to see the full report, which you can only access after payment.
Some reviews indicate that the latest update of Intelius either doesn't provide complete information or provides inaccurate information. Meanwhile, other users say that the information is pretty accurate and up-to-date. If you're confused about what to believe, you can opt for a trial membership of Intelius and see what the fuss is all about for yourself!
- Humongous database
- Cheap subscriptions
- Work and educational history included
- Information accuracy not the same on various levels
Cost and plans
Although the plans of Intelius are quite inexpensive, there is a twist in their pricing scheme so that people don’t misuse their platform and resources. Once you have subscribed for any service of Intelius, you will automatically be subscribed to a seven-day trial period of Intelius Premier Plus.
That being said, Intelius offers a trial for anyone looking to carry out a one-off search. But you must remember to cancel this membership before the company adds bills to your credit card and automatically subscribes you to the monthly membership.
If you want to subscribe to a monthly membership, there are two options available to you: Intelius Premier and Intelius Premier Plus. With an Intelius Premier membership plan, you will be able to make unlimited searches for $19.95 a month. On the other hand, in Intelius Premier Plus, you will be able to make unlimited searches and carry out a background check once a month for $29.95.
The weird part here, however, is that you cannot simply purchase this plan. You will first have to agree to their seven-day trial and then subscribe to Intelius Premier Plus.
There are a few more services that Intelius separately provides, which are as follows:
- Background check: $40
- Reverse address: $15 approx.
- People search: $1
- Reverse phone: $1
There are many other services except background checks that Intelius offers:
People search: This feature is the classic search that asks for just the name and location of a person and generates the complete report of the person's essential information, including their name, address, location, email address, relatives, phone number and much more.
Reverse phone lookup: If you're tired of getting random phone calls from XXX, you can opt for the easy-to-use Reverse Phone Lookup Service to track down the owner of that phone number. This service reveals the owner's name, age, address and more information like this.
Reverse address search: You can also search for someone using their address on Intelius! It provides the owner's details as well like contact information, former address, sex offenders in that area and much more.
Public records report: The public report contains all the general information, including marriage and divorce records. This service comes in handy when you're spying on your tinder date.
Criminal records report: Intelius can also search for someone's criminal offences statewide and countrywide. It gives you detailed reports, including the type of offence, case number and disposition date etc.
Intelius Premier: In this plan, you can make unlimited searches, including all the services like reverse phone address, reverse phone lookup and people search. Although, there is no option for background check in Intelius Premier.
Intelius Premier Plus: Intelius Premier Plus plan includes all the basic premier features plus one background check a month. The background check expires in a month, and you cannot save it for next month. So, make sure you use it in time!
Q: What features does Intelius provide?
Intelius provides many features other than background checks. Some of its tools are as follows:
- Criminal records
- People search
- People directory
- Phone directory
- Reverse phone and address lookup
Q: Is Intelius expensive?
Intelius plans are not very expensive and the company also provides many discounts. You can pay for memberships through your debit card, credit card or PayPal. You can also cancel the membership anytime without any additional charges of cancellation!
Q: Does the information come from trustable sources?
Intelius gets its information from private and public databases. For example social media, government records, educational institutes etc.
Customer service is overall good. But since the last update of Intelius in 2019, there has been an increase in the number of negative reviews complaining about data inaccuracy. Other reviews have been saying that the service is very slow and takes about two to three days to generate a report. The most unsatisfying thing about Intelius is its pricing. They are not very transparent about their plans and don't offer any refunds or deposits, which leaves customers in doubt.
4. US Search - Best reverse email checks
US Search is an effective and very simple to use background check site. What makes it different from other background check sites is that you don't have to subscribe to a membership plan to perform a background check. It supports all the general operating systems and provides quite accurate results.
Although the information coming from US Search is quite accurate, there is a bit of improvement required in some areas. For example, if you run a basic search, your generated report will provide you with information like name, address and education history, but there will be no contact info in your report. Apparently, its database is smaller than its competitor's databases. Also, they are not very transparent about their rules and regulations, and don’t clarify things about how the information coming from their website can be used.
- Search without membership
- No cost of printing reports
- Accurate info
- Cannot buy a single report
- Incomplete information in reports
- No app for IOS and Android
Cost and plans
US Search is not very clear about its plans. As they don't have a standard pricing panel on their page. This makes it difficult for users to understand their membership plans. Also, there is no option to buy a single report.
Some of their membership plans are as follows:
Criminal record report search: $15
Basic search: $20
Background check: $40
Monthly membership: $2.45
User interface: The interface is user friendly and simple. When you visit the website, you will be guided about how to perform search and the steps of searches are very clear and understandable.
Nevertheless, the reports are displayed on a single landing page which makes it difficult to navigate, so you will have to scroll a lot! They also don’t have a mobile app and their service is only accessible through a website.
See a part of the report without having to pay: Unlike other background check sites, in US Search, you don’t have to pay to see the information in your report. You can see a part of your report without having to pay. But if you wish to see the full content of the report, that cannot be done without buying a membership.
Q: Can I remove/alter information about myself on their database?
No, you don’t have the right to change any information about yourself or anyone else.
Q: Can I trust this site on security?
Your searches are confidential on US Search. It provides 256-bit encryption to protect your privacy. Also, US Search doesn’t notify the person that you’re searching for. So yes, you can trust this site on security.
The reviews about this website are not very supportive. Customers are not satisfied with its service. Most of the reviews are negative. They are also not very concerned about customer support. You can only reach them by email or phone.
They provide consultation for only 8-10 hours, and even in those hours, you cannot expect to get much help from them. The least you can expect from them is help regarding billing and account issues. You will not be getting any helpful support from them in any other areas!
Conclusion: Which online background check services should you prefer?
A thorough background check will avoid the hassle of rectifying the mistakes made by a bad hire. Background check websites will sift out the best candidates for your opening/position and give you all the historical records of the person. After a thorough research on the sites for online background checks, we have picked Truthfinder as the best one.
A background check usually takes a few days to come back with results, however, international comprehensive reports may take a few weeks.
A small investment made today to guarantee a good match (almost!) can save you from losing large amounts of money in the long run. Be smart, choose the right person for the part!