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Top 5 Background Check Sites 2018

A background check site provides a way for people to search, find and discover information about others online easily! By searching millions of public records, these sites assemble a report which can help you to discover hidden information!  There are many background check providers on the market, check out our list of the best background check sites below to compare prices, options, features & more!

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Disclaimer: Our top ranked sites are reviewed on the basis of our own views, knowledge and expert opinions. We are able to provide you with our free online comparison tool thanks to referral fees we receive from a number of companies that are compared and reviewed on our website. We do not review all products in a given category. We are independently owned and operated and all opinions expressed on this site are our own.

Most Popular Choice
User Rating
Price $22.86Monthly
Unlimited Background Checks and detailed reports available for all 50 states! Includes easy-to-use free mobile app for on-the-go usage. It's our # 1 choice for a reason. BeenVerified Review
User Rating
Price $27.78Monthly
It's incredibly easy to sign up and run a report with Truthfinder. Fast & helpful customer service. Fastest site we Tested for 2018 TruthFinder Review
User Rating
Price $34.78Monthly
InstantCheckmate is one of the longest running and best background check services online. Customers love their Customer Support and Ease of Use. Instant Checkmate Review
User Rating
Price $18.28Monthly
PeopleLooker is one of the smaller Background Check companies in the industry but has a big heart and is doing lots of things right. But we think they can do more! PeopleLooker Review
User Rating
Price $29.97Monthly
Provides all sorts of Public Records including driving records, arrest records & more. Their database is huge, but they are sometimes not as accurate as other services & are more expensive Spyfly Review

Best Background Check Site of 2018

When you need to use a background check service, it’s important to choose the service that does what you need it do quickly, accurately, and affordably. A background check service that provides inaccurate information or that has too much important data missing can do more harm than good.

Why Use A Background Check Service:

People use a background check service for a number of reasons, some personal and some business-related. It’s important to know that there are different types of background check services and even some rules on when each type can be used. We’ll explain the difference below so you can invest your time and money wisely and choose the right background check service for the information you need to find.
This in-depth overview focuses on what are called non-FCRA background check services, which is the type you’d want to use for personal uses. This just means that this type of background check is not subject to Fair Credit Reporting Act consent, which also makes this type of background check completely anonymous. Whoever you’re doing a background check on won’t know you’re checking and does not need to sign a release of any kind.

What Can I Use a Background Check Service For?

Common reasons to use a background check service (non-FCRA) include some reasons you might guess and some that perhaps hadn’t occurred to you right away. In some cases and with some background check services, you’ll be able to run multiple background checks.
Even if your original goal was to check on someone you plan to meet, you can run additional background checks on other people. You can even look up properties, find out who a phone number belongs to, or look up an email address.

Online Background Check Sites Can Be Used to:

Check on a new dating interest: Find out important details before you meet. Depending on the service you choose, you’ll be able to find a wealth of information about someone before you go on that first date. Are they married? Do they have a criminal record? What was the crime? Do they really work where they say they work? The answers to these questions could change your evening plans — and they just might keep you safer.
Check on a seller or buyer from an online classified site: With the continuing popularity of Craigslist, now joined by newer apps like OfferUp, meeting with someone you’ve never met before to purchase an item or service is becoming more common. General safety measures, such as meeting in public places in view of other people and meeting during daylight hours, can help to keep you safer. Checking that person’s background adds even more ways to protect your safety.
You’ll often have the ability to check for criminal records and to see if the details you’ve been told match the information in a background check service. Inconsistencies or outright lies can be good reasons to put your safety first and pass on that deal, keeping you from physical harm, protecting you from possible fraud, or even protecting you from becoming unwittingly involved in criminal activity such as buying stolen or counterfeit goods.
Meetup and social groups: Meetup groups continue to grow in popularity, bringing together people with similar interests. The personal safety risks may be minimal if the meetup group is held in a public place and the group itself is large. Often though, groups are smaller, especially for newer groups. A background check app allows some transparency into the people you’ll be meeting with, allowing you to find details on group leaders, members, and participants for a given meeting.
Check or monitor your own background information: Once you begin to see the type of information available from a leading background check service and if you’re like most people, you’ll check on your own background report. Some background check services allow you to monitor your own background report. If any new records appear, you’ll be notified.
Locate missing people: If you asked fifty people why they might want to find someone, you’d get almost as many answers. A background check service can help you locate that person who disappeared into the wind, whether he or she is and old friend who fell out of touch, a long-lost relative, or someone who owes you money. Often, all you’ll need is a name and the last town you remember as their address.
Check up on someone who spends time with your family: Today’s busy schedules have families scattered all over town some days. The parents of your kid’s friends become surrogate parents to your kids and vice versa. A background check can help you to feel safer when your family members are visiting with other families.
To leave no room for doubt and because things change, you can monitor a person’s background records with some background check services. You’ll be notified if any new information is found.
Check the phone number of an unknown caller: Phone spammers have become more adept at hiding their identities, but some background check services do keep records of nuisance numbers so you’ll know to block the number. You’ll also often be able to identify non-business callers. Where your phone provider often just provides the number and state, a background check service may be able to give you the name, address, and other background information on that mystery caller.
Check the number found in a spouse’s or love-interest’s phone: It’s no secret that a background check can uncover infidelity, and in more ways than one. Sometimes, you’ll learn that your new dating interest lives in a 4-bedroom house with a spouse and kids that they forgot to mention. In other cases, you might find an odd phone number on a spouse’s or significant other’s phone that you want to investigate. Who that new number belongs to might be no cause for alarm at all. Then again, it might be something that can change everything.
Check an email address: Find out who that email address belongs to. If it’s a personal email address, you’ll often be able to find a lot of other information about its owner.
Search the owner of a property: There are any number of reasons you might want to find the owner of a property. Maybe there’s a house in the neighborhood that has a lot of people going in or out and you’d like to know more for safety’s sake or maybe you’re house shopping and found a home that piqued your interest and seems to be empty. Many background check services can provide the owner’s name and much more information about both the property and the owner.
Search for nearby sex offenders: Many background check services now provide a listing of nearby sex offenders. Often, you can search by address and some even have an automatic location finder to show results nearby wherever you happen to be. Individual background records may have this information as well.

A Note on FCRA-only Background Check Services:

It’s important to note that the Fair Credit Reporting Act limits the type of information available without consent. The services included in this review are not FCRA-compliant. This means that you do not need the consent of the person and that your searches are anonymous.
Additionally, there are limits to how a non-FCRA background check can be used. Specifically, there are some ways it can’t be used:
- Employment screening used for hiring, firing, or other employment activity requires a FCRA-compliant report. A non-FCRA report can’t be used.
- A non-FCRA report can’t be used for screening tenants.
-A non-FCRA report also can’t be used for any type of credit screening.
These restrictions, of course, limit the type of information you’ll be able to get anonymously with a non-FCRA background report. Notably, credit information like credit scores or outstanding credit won’t be available. However, bankruptcies, foreclosures, and liens may be available, depending on the service you choose and sometimes on local regulations.

Why Do Some Background Check Sites Get Bad Reviews?

No matter which background check service you choose, you won’t have to look far to find some negative reviews — even if the service meets your needs perfectly. To be fair, some of those negative comments are warranted, while others may be due to a communication gap.
The background check industry has a difficult challenge in managing expectations and explaining limitations. As informative as many of the background check services have become, there are still holes in the data and some types of data that can’t be obtained without consent.
All the rules of how a non-FCRA background check can be used — and detailed explanations of their unique limitations — can’t be easily explained in the first few lines of advertising copy customers might read before deciding to try a service.
Disappointments occur when reality doesn’t match expectations.
Negative reviews often tend to be more vocal and stand out as a result. If everything goes as expected with an online service, the natural inclination for many people is to say nothing at all.
By reading this overview, you’ll have a better understanding of how background check services work and what to expect. Knowing what type of information a background check service can provide helps ensure that you’re not paying for information that a non-FCRA background check simply can’t provide.
Here are a few reasons that customers can become frustrated with any of the dozens of background check services:
Limited information is available without consent: non-FCRA background reports do not provide credit-related information except items that are public record, such as bankruptcies and foreclosures.
Credit card required: Even some of the services that offer a free trial require a credit card or debit card.
Missing on incomplete information: No background check service has 100 percent of the data on everyone. Data is often limited by local municipalities that don’t provide public records in digital form or that require extra steps to access data.
Difficult cancellation process: In some cases, the cancellation process isn’t always intuitive, leading to frustration.
Forgot to cancel and got billed for a monthly, quarterly, or annual charge: In many cases, we don’t need a background check service indefinitely. Just as with cable tv, cell phone service, or insurance, it’s up to the consumer to cancel the service when it’s no longer needed. Unfortunately, some customers forget to cancel and are billed for a renewal.
Confusion over how the reports can be used: It’s common for businesses and landlords to run background checks on potential employees or tenants. However, those uses require a different type of background check. By law, a non-FCRA background check can’t be used for those purposes, sometimes leading to consumer frustration.

How to Pick the Right Online Background Check for You:

Choosing the right background check service depends, in large part, on how you will be using the service and the type of information that is important to you. Most of the services provide similar types of data, making the online interface an important criteria, in addition to the completeness of the reports.
Some services aim to be good at all types of searches, such as BeenVerified. Other background check services, like PeopleLooker, focus more narrowly on people searches, but also provide an attractive price point.
Also important to many users is the combination of speed with the convenience of a mobile app. We looked at 5 leading background check services and all had apps for both Android and IOS, providing mobile access to reports on your smartphone or tablet:
If you’ll be using the service on your laptop or computer, you may find significant speed differences between the services. BeenVerified, for example, was reasonably fast on all the platforms we tested. Instant Checkmate, however, was blazingly fast on mobile but slow on a laptop.
Which service is best for your needs may also depend on which features you need. Most of the services had similar features, with the notable exception of SpyFly, which did not have a reverse lookup for email addresses or phone numbers.
Completeness of data is important, but we have to concede that all the services have some holes in their data here and there, with some background check services having fewer holes than others. In our tests, we found BeenVerified to have the most complete data, with TruthFinder and Instant Checkmate matched up fairly evenly behind BeenVerified.
Two other important considerations are the number of ways to search and how up to date the information is. All of the services include People Search, Property Search, and offer a way to see any registered sex offenders in the area. SpyFly does not offer a reverse phone search or a reverse email search. BeenVerified had the most up-to-date records on our tests, and BeenVerified’s Court Runner service promised — for a fee — to fill in the blanks wherever county criminal records were only available in person. PeopleLooker also offers a Court Runner service.

Using a Background Check Service vs. DIY Internet Research:

The way non-FCRA background checks work is to assemble public records and cross-reference to other records. Because public records are used, it’s tempting to think the same information can be gathered using your favorite search engine.
In reality, only some of the information you can find with a background check service can be easily found with a search engine. Many times, public records are not available in a way that can be indexed by search engines, with some being tucked away in searchable databases, which may be public, but not available to Google, Bing, or any other common search engine. As nefarious as it sounds, these hidden parts of the web are called the “dark web”, which isn’t nefarious at all. It just means they aren’t out in the open, making them more difficult to find.
Time is another consideration. In some cases, you could spend weeks looking for all the information provided in a report from one of the leading background check services and still not find it all. By contrast, a background check from BeenVerified or TruthFinder takes seconds — and any related reports, such as relatives or associates — also takes just a few seconds to run. Add in the convenience of being able to run those reports wherever you are on your phone or tablet and you have a winner.

How We Rated the Background Check Services:

In our roundup of background check services, we looked at several competing services, some of which were standouts and some of which didn’t offer as much value as others. In the end, only 5 background check services remained.
We tested each in a similar way to how customers would use the service, using both the websites and the mobile apps. In most cases, signup was easier using the web versions, after which the mobile version became our preferred way of searching and sifting through the data.


Because much of the data available through background check apps is assembled through public records and other accessible information, like social media accounts and other online sources, accuracy is driven by the frequency of updates as well as by the algorithm used by each service to match the data to a background report.
Each bit of information found by each service is matched to a record if possible. With some of the background check services boasting a decade of experience sorting this data, some fared better than others, producing generally more accurate results.

Ease of Use:

All that information isn’t of much use if you can’t figure out how to find it on the app or if it’s hidden with unrelated information. For ease of use, we considered the overall layout and organization or reports, whether we could find the information we needed, and how much scrolling or clicking was needed to find the information we wanted. Priority was given to the mobile apps in ranking because the ability to find information quickly and on the go is so important.

Customer service

Whether a simple question or a billing problem, customer service is often the fastest way to gain or lose a customer. In particular, we looked for a detailed Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section that would allow us to find fast answers without waiting, chatting, calling, or emailing. Of course, the availability of those other contact options was weighed as well because some issues or questions can’t be answered in an FAQ section.

Number of ways to search

In our testing, we found real-world uses for every type of search available with the leading background check services. If a service was missing a search option or if it was behind an extra paywall, that affected the overall usefulness and value of the service. Nearly all of our top picks offered the ability to perform the following searches:
✓ - People search
✓ - Property search
✓ - Reverse email search
✓ - Reverse phone search
✓ - Nearby sex offenders


Waiting is no fun no matter where you are, but speed is particularly important in mobile applications. You need the information now — not later — which is why you did a search on the go. To the credit of many of the services we tested, their mobile app was responsive. On the desktop, some services showed sluggishness that we couldn’t easily explain when the same search was performed on both mobile apps and desktop websites.

Price / Value

Looking at price alone would make any background check review incomplete. Looking at value considers what you get for the price — weighing the usefulness of each unique feature — and also considering what isn’t available or easily accessible. Services that didn’t offer enough value weren’t included in our overview of background check services.

Frequently Asked Questions


What is a Reverse Phone Lookup?

A reverse phone lookup lets you see who a phone number belongs to. Some background check services don’t offer this feature and phone numbers for scammers or spammers often don’t provide ownership information. However, some services, like BeenVerified, do indicate if a number is a nuisance number. If you’ve found a mysterious phone number and need to know who it belongs to, this feature can reveal its owner and often a full background report.

What Does a Background Check Uncover?

The details provided by a background check vary by provider, but the best background check services include:
✓ - Name
✓ - Aliases
✓ - Past and current addresses
✓ - Known relatives and associates
✓ - Past and current phone numbers
✓ - Email addresses
✓ - Social Media accounts
✓ - Work history
✓ - Criminal records for felonies or misdemeanors
✓ - Traffic violations
✓ - Sex offender registry
✓ - Vehicle registrations
✓ - Owned properties
✓ - Owned businesses
✓ - Bankruptcies
✓ - Liens
✓ - Foreclosures
✓ - Lawsuit judgments
Some background check services put some information behind a paywall, making it available for a fee. In other cases, the data is only available if someone requests the documents in person. BeenVerified and PeopleLooker have a solution to this in their Court Runner service that can fetch those difficult-to-find records.

Do Arrest Records Show Up on a Background Check?

In most cases, arrest records that result in a conviction will be available on a background check. Some jurisdictions, however, don’t make conviction records available digitally or require that it be requested in person.

Do Sex Offenders Show Up on a Background Check?

Most background check services provide a way to search for local sex offenders because the information is available in sex offender registries. Similar to other offenses, individual background check records don’t always show a sex offense on the main report.

Can I Find Sex Offenders in My Area?

Yes. Most background check services allow you to search by address and many can automatically detect your location to provide a list or map of sex offenders in your area.

Is There a Free Background Check?

In most cases, a service that advertises itself as free is either collecting information or redirection to a paid service. Some paid services do provide a basic level background check at no cost, but the to see more than the basic details that you can easily find on the web, you’ll have to to pay for the report or start a subscription to run multiple reports.

Can I See My Own Background Check?

Of course. In fact, many of the background check services let you monitor your background check report for changes or new information.

How Long Does a Background Check Take?

Because we are only evaluating online report services, the results of a search are shown in seconds. Some of the desktop interfaces were notably slower, however, making mobile apps the fastest way to search in most cases. Signup is often best handled on the service’s website, after which you can search from nearly any device.

Best Background Check Site 2018


#1. BeenVerified.com: Editors Choice 2018 ($22.86/Mo)

#1 of 17 Sites Tested

Our best pick overall, with an app for android, iOS and even the Apple watch, BeenVerified has been a leading name in background checks for over a decade. Where some other background check services left us wanting more, BeenVerified rarely disappointed when we were searching for information on someone.
BeenVerified’s fast and easy-to-use service let us search in every way we needed to, including people search, property search, reverse email lookup, reverse phone lookup, and gave us a listing of local sex offenders.
With easy-to-understand pricing, BeenVerified leads the pack in an industry historically known for confusing pricing schemes and pricey add-ons. Some types of information, such as liens, may only be available with an add-on fee, but we found the level of detail in the reports available with a standard subscription to be more than adequate for most personal needs.
The availability of BeenVerified’s court runner service, while seldom a must-have necessity, provided assurance that if records that are only available in person are needed, we could dig even deeper into a given background report.
BeenVerified’s quarterly pricing provides the best value and the ability to run multiple reports without additional costs.


✓ - Search by name, address, phone number, or email.
✓ - All searches on BeenVerified are confidential.
✓ - Long-established history as an industry leader.
✓ - Affordable quarterly plan.
✓ - Base plan contains most of the information needed for common background checks.
✓ - Background reports link to associates and relatives, allowing a big picture view.
✓ - Download records in PDF format or email them to yourself


X - While reports are detailed, we did find that some information was missing from reports.
X - Not always clear what additional information is available with “Premium Data”.
Mobile App: Yes People Search: Yes Reverse Phone Lookup:Yes Price: $22.86/Mo
Bottom Line: You Can't Go Wrong with Our Top Choice for 2018

Search With BeenVerified Now >>

(Or read our full review of Beenverified.com here)

#2. Truthfinder.com: The Industry Giant ($27.78/mo)

2 of 17 Sites Tested

As a well-known giant in the background check industry, Truthfinder is a proven performer and always a safe bet. Apps are available for Android and iOS, assuring access to background reports on the go.
On your desktop, Truthfinder provides immersive and detailed reports, including people search, property search, reverse phone lookup, reverse email lookup, and an interactive map of registered sex offenders by location.
Truthfinder is affordably priced with quarterly or 6 month plans.


✓ - Search by name, address, phone number, or email.
✓ - Confidential searches
✓ - 3 or 6 month plans make Truthfinder affordable


X - While reports are detailed, we did find that some information was missing from reports.
X - Some features, like criminal search, only available as an add-on.
Mobile App: Yes People Search: Yes Reverse Phone Lookup:Yes Price: $27.78/Mo
Bottom Line: Truthfinder offers amazing customer support, value and is a great choice!

Search With Truthfinder.com Now >>

(For a full review of Truthfinder.com you can read here)

#3. InstantCheckmate: The Rolls-Royce ($34.78/Mo)

3 of 17 Sites Tested

Often considered the Rolls Royce of background check services, InstantCheckmate rolls out a number of premium features not available with lesser services, including an online and on-demand “private investigator” service.
Premium services also include details such as UCC filings, which indicate borrowing or business interests, and even firearms permits, a level of detail not available through some other background check services.
Also known for its premium customer service, InstantCheckmate provides top-tier support online or by phone 24/7.

InstantCheckmate Pros:

✓ - Search by name, address, phone number, or email.
✓ - Confidential searches
✓ - Very detailed premium reports
✓ - Online “Private Investigator” service
✓ - Top-tier support


X - While reports are detailed, we did find that some information was missing from reports.
X - Can be pricey compared to other services.

Mobile App: Yes People Search: Yes Reverse Phone Lookup:Yes Price: $34.78/Mo

Search With Instant Checkmate Now >>

(Or read our full review of InstantCheckmate.com)

#4. PeopleLooker Review: Budget Friendly Option ($18.28/Mo)

4 of 17 Sites Tested

Background checks on a budget are PeopleLooker’s specialty. As its name suggests, expect PeopleLooker to focus on people search, providing basic details on every person we searched.
More detailed reports are also available — but if you just need a quick overview, PeopleLooker provides an affordable alternative to some of the bigger names. Pricing is particularly attractive if you choose a 6 month subscription.


✓ - Search by name, address, phone number, or email.
✓ - Confidential searches
✓ - Very affordable 6-month plan
✓ - 7 day per week phone support
✓ - Court runner service


X - Information limited without upgrades
X - No live chat support
Mobile App: Yes People Search: Yes Reverse Phone Lookup:Yes Price: $18.28/Mo

Search With Peoplelooker Now >>

(read our full review of Peoplelooker)

#5. Spyfly.com: High Priced with a Few Drawbacks ($29.97/mo)

5 of 17 Sites Tested

As one of the newer players in the background check service industry, SpyFly is building out its feature base to compete with more established background check services. Still missing are reverse phone lookup searches and the ability to search by email address.
We didn’t find SpyFly’s user interface to be as attractive or easy to use as the interfaces for the other background check services. As time goes on, we look forward to more features and UI improvements from SpyFly.

Spyfly Pros:

✓ - Search by name, address
✓ - Confidential searches
✓ - No membership needed

Spyfly Cons:

X - No reverse email lookup
X - No reverse phone lookup
X - No online cancellation
Mobile App: Yes People Search: Yes Reverse Phone Lookup:Yes Price: $22.86/Mo

Search With Spyfly Now >>

(Full review of Spyfly)

Final Thoughts

Choosing the right background check service for your needs is a very individual choice but most people have certain features they find useful or even necessary. The ability to search in multiple ways, including people search, property search, reverse phone lookup, and reverse email lookup has become a consumer expectation and provides access to the reports you need with a number of ways to find information.
Fortunately, all of the background check services we reviewed in this overview provided mobile apps for both Android and iOS. The ability to perform background checks on your desktop is great but the utility and convenience of being able to run reports on the go is extremely valuable.
All of the background check services we reviewed provide measurable value and can help keep you and your family safer. It’s difficult to say one is definitively a better choice than another, largely because your needs may vary. However if we had to choose background check service that is the most likely to meet the needs of most users, BeenVerified provides an excellent value when you compare features, the level of detail available, and affordability.

Disclaimer: We are compensated by some of the companies we review. Some or all of the background check providers reviewed here are not "Consumer Reporting Agencies" (as defined in the Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 USC 1681 et seq.) Since they are not Consumer Reporting Agencies, they may not be used for decision, assessing or researching about employment, housing, insurance, credit or for any other purpose covered under the FCRA. [SSB]

"I typed in my name and Truthfinders results left me speechless! -- Rachel"

"BeenVerified helped me find out who kept calling me in the middle of the night, right from my smartphone. -- Sam"

"TruthFinder helped me discover that my new boyfriend was a convicted felon. --Mary"

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