Criminal Background Check

Imagine becoming friends with an identity thief, or dating a sexual predator, or hiring a terrorist. No one would like to go through such scenarios, but unfortunately, it can happen to anybody. Criminal background check services can help you minimize the risk of getting close to the wrong people, on a personal or professional level. 

We evaluated multiple companies against our rigorous selection methodology to detect trustworthy providers you can rely on. These background check providers have their eyes on millions of databases, records, and hard-to-find information to help you make safer decisions.

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The Leading Criminal Background Check Companies

Sterling Logo

Sterling

People First, Always.

Since 1975, Sterling has been focused on helping organizations build trust and safety for their employees, customers, and business partners. Over 40,000+ businesses globally rely on Sterling’s advanced employee background check solutions to recruit, hire, and monitor their teams. With decades of experience, expertise in dozens of industries, multiple integrations, and fast turnaround times, Sterling is one of the best employee background check providers to hire.

  • Civil and Criminal Records Checks
  • Employment Background Checks
  • International Background Checks
  • MVR Checks
  • Social Media Background Checks
InfoMart Logo

InfoMart

Make Background Screening Easy for You & Your Applicants

Established in 1989, InfoMart is a leading background check company built on world-class customer support and responsible business practices. It offers a wide range of services and caters to dozens of industries. By blending expertise and technological innovation, InfoMart consistently ranks as the best background check website.

  • Criminal Records Checks
  • MVR Checks
  • Sanctions Searches
  • Employment Background Checks
  • Social Media Background Checks
GoodHire Logo

GoodHire

Simply Better. Start to Finish.

Driven by its statement to provide a “better way to do employment background checks,” GoodHire is a technology-first firm with a seamless user experience built into its DNA. Over 80,000 businesses of all sizes have already entrusted GoodHire with their employment screening needs, stating it’s the best background check service for employers due to its ease of use and speedy turnaround times.

  • Civil & Criminal Records Checks
  • Employment Background Checks
  • International Background Checks
  • Healthcare Background Checks
  • Drug Screening
Hire Right Logo

HireRight

Intelligent Solutions for Employment Screening

Since 1981, HireRight has been helping businesses speed up the hiring process and select the most trustworthy candidates. It offers over 150 background checking services and 30+ integrations, and its expertise covers over 200 countries and territories around the globe, making it one of the best online background check providers. Healthcare employers trust it for its extensive verification processes and unparalleled screening proficiency.

  • Employment Background Checks
  • International Background Checks
  • Criminal Records Checks
  • Academic & Education Verifications
  • Financial Conduct Regulatory Checks
IntelliCorp Logo

IntelliCorp

Advance Your Hiring Practices

Established in 1996, IntelliCorp is committed to continued investment in new products and technologies, superior customer care, and forward-thinking leadership. Its screening solutions cover diverse needs from pre-employment to tenant screening. The company offers one the best background checks for employers including reliable healthcare screening packages and add-ons that provide extra protection for this highly regulated industry.

  • Healthcare Background Checks
  • Tenant Screening Services
  • Employment Background Checks 
  • International Background Checks 
  • Drug Screening
EBI Logo

EBI

A Better Background Screener.

Established in 1994, EBI is an industry-leading background screening provider that boasts 99.96% of uptime, 99.99% accuracy, and 100% US-based support. Clients can either choose from the firm’s pre-built employment screening packages or create custom background check programs taking advantage of the 55,000+ customizations the company offers. If you need robust criminal records check, these experts can help you determine which searches make sense for your applicants

  • Employment Background Checks
  • International Background Checks
  • Occupational Health Screening Services
  • Social Media Background Checks
  • Credit Checks
Verified Credentials Logo

Verified Credentials

Trusted Background Screening Since 1984.

Founded in 1984, Verified Credentials is among the leading pre-employment background check and personal background check companies known for their premium customer service and a variety of screening services. Its live support representatives take as little as five to eight seconds on average to answer. The company delivers fast and accurate results for a variety of business needs and industries.

  • Personal Background Checks
  • Employment Background Checks
  • Healthcare Background Checks
  • International Background Checks
  • Criminal Records Checks
Peopletrail logo

Peopletrail

Discover the Safest Hiring Trail With Peopletrail's Advanced Employment Background Checks.

Peopletrail is a premier employment screening company known for its unique Actionable Insights model. It means organizing data in the reports in a way that will further assist hiring managers in their decision-making process, all that with an industry-leading turnaround time of 1.6 days. Over 20,000+ businesses use Peopletrail as their criminal background company of choice.

  • Personal Background Checks
  • Employment Background Checks
  • Criminal Records Checks
  • Social Media Background Checks
  • International Background Checks
BackgrounChecks.com Logo

BackgroundChecks.com

Be Sure. Hire With Confidence.

BackgroundChecks.com is a unique platform that brings together people search services and employee background check online solutions in one place. Its self-service guide allows you to discover which employer background check service bundle is recommended for your organization. Along with pre-made packages, it allows clients to pick only the services they need, and leverage candidate self-order.

  • Criminal Records Checks
  • Employment Background Checks
  • Personal Background Checks
  • MVR Checks
  • Drug Screening
Intelifi Logo

Intelifi

Better Background Checks.

Intelifi is both a software developer and data provider. Bringing together the best of both worlds, it offers comprehensive screening solutions, built-in compliance tools, human and AI record reviews, and seamless functionality. The firm is committed to providing the highest quality data for clients to make more informed hiring and renting decisions. More than 10,000 businesses are growing with Intelifi’s EMERGE screening platform and comprehensive background checks.

  • Tenant Screening Services
  • Employment Background Checks
  • Criminal Records Checks
  • MVR Records
  • Drug Screening
AmericanChecked Logo

AmericanChecked

Through, Accurate & Easy to Use.

With a 98.1% customer satisfaction rate, variety of screening products, cutting-edge technology, and custom offerings, AmericanChecked is a reliable background screening company that offers all the pre-employment background check solutions you need in one place. Its industry-specific solutions and an extensive list of criminal background services help businesses stay ahead of the compliance curve.

  • Employment Background Checks
  • Civil & Criminal Records Checks
  • MVR Checks
  • Employment  Credit Reports
  • Tribal Licensing

Checkr

More Efficient Hiring for Every Kind of Company.

Checker has been helping businesses hit their staffing goals in the competitive job market since 2014. It relies on state-of-the-art technology to deliver fast and accurate employment background check and criminal background reports. Its human resources and talent acquisition solutions help businesses across multiple industries hire the best talent at the lowest risk.

  • Employment Background Check
  • Criminal Records Check
  • MVR Records
  • Education & Professional License Verification
  • Drug and Health Screenings
Accurate Logo

Accurate

Screening, optimized.

With a 98.5% client retention rate, 90% first call resolution, and a team of 1,700+ screening experts, AccurateNow is the go-to provider of background check services for small businesses. Marrying advanced processes and intelligent technology, AccurateNow provides an optimized background screening experience for both candidates and employers. Its employee background check process delivers a 99.99% accuracy rate, allowing employers to hire with peace of mind.

  • Business Intelligence
  • Employment Credit Checks
  • Employment Background Checks
  • International Background Checks
  • MVR Checks
Instant Checkmate Logo

Instant Checkmate

The Power of Information at Your Fingertips!

Instant Checkmate has been delivering “the power of information at your fingertips” since 2010. The company has one of the most robust criminal records databases, providing detailed and accurate results. The 70,000+ five-star reviews speak volumes of the company’s reliability and accuracy and place it among the best criminal background check services.

  • People Searches
  • Criminal Records Checks
  • Reverse Phone Lookup
  • Social Media Background Checks
PeopleFinders Logo

PeopleFinders

Slogan

Established in 1986 and boasting over 43 billion records, PeopleFinders is among the longest-standing and most reliable background check companies for individuals in the US. The firm has access to over 6,000 data sources, helping people find any information, including criminal background records for anyone, anywhere. It promises to deliver the most accurate data in the least amount of time.

  • People Searches
Truthfinder Logo

Truthfinder

One of America’s Most Popular Public Record Search Engines.

Established in 2015, Truthfinder is one of the newest and most popular background check sites in the US. Whether you want to reconnect with lost relatives, old friends, or uncover someone’s criminal background, the site will scan hundreds of millions of public records to deliver the information you need in an instant. It boasts thousands of five-star reviews from satisfied customers.

  • People Searches
  • Reverse Phone Lookup
  • Public Records Searches
  • Criminal Records Checks 
  • Dark Web Monitoring
BeenVerified Logo

BeenVerified

The Everyday Information Company.

Established in 2008, BeenVerified is more than a people search company. It's a seven-products-in-one site that can unveil information like phone, email, address, username, vehicle, and unclaimed money. With unbeatable choices and high accuracy data scores, it’s one of the leading online background investigation sites for individual use.

  • People Searches
  • Reverse Phone Lookup
  • Unclaimed Money
  • Vehicle Lookup
  • Criminal Records Checks
Spokeo Logo

Spokeo

Know More.

Spokeo is one of the top background check companies for individuals, serving 20 million customers a month, organizing 12 billion records, using thousands of sources, and responding to 500,000 searches a day. It has been delivering industry-leading reports since 2006. Whether you want to look up yourself, acquaintances, friends, or family members, the site offers various types of searches to quench your thirst for information.

  • Contact and Location Info
  • Public Records
  • Family and Personal Info
  • Wealth and Work Info
  • Criminal Records Checks

How We Detected the Top Criminal Background Check Services

We have partnered with industry specialists to develop a rigorous evaluation process for handpicking the most trustworthy criminal screening providers. See below for more details on our selection method.

Verifying Companies’ Legitimacy and Reputation

First, we do a website visit and look for signs of legitimacy like “HTTPS,” a clear privacy policy, contact information that leads to someone responding on the other side, and reputable payment getaways. Then we look for reviews from real customers on independent review platforms to evaluate each provider’s satisfaction levels along with their strong and weak sides. We only feature companies with an overall positive score and a proven track record of success, excellence, and compliance.

Evaluating Each Company’s Criminal Background Check Services Catalog

There is an extensive list of background checks available, criminal or otherwise, but not every company offers all of them. It’s always better to pick a provider with a wide selection of criminal screening services that can develop an adequate background checking program.
Below are the services you can find at the top criminal screening providers:

Checking the Additional Services Offered by the Companies

In most cases, companies don’t exclusively offer criminal background checks but a full suite of background screening services for businesses. The top companies we have listed provide an extensive selection of services to satisfy different screening needs. These services include:

Custom Options and Expert Assistance in Building Packages

If you want to look up someone out of curiosity, you can do so yourself without any special assistance. If, however, you’re an employer, a lot can go into creating the right criminal background screening program for you. Our list, therefore, features companies that provide expert guidance on the type of searches that make sense for your industry and allow clients to build custom bundles.

Testing Functionality and Turnaround Time

We navigated through the companies’ websites to test the user experience. We wanted to see if the services were clearly explained and easy to find all the relevant information, including helpful resources, pricing, and contact details.
We also noted how long it took for every company to deliver results and whether their turnaround times correspond with their promises and the industry standard of one to three business days. Criminal checks for employment can, in some cases, be even faster, while search sites provide instant criminal record history. You can also get a personal criminal background check, but you can’t use the report for hiring or lending decisions.

Verifying Accuracy

Part of our evaluation process is ordering criminal checks for real people from each provider. We compare the results to ensure they match and give them to the screening subjects to confirm their accuracy. Criminal history is a very sensitive topic, so we take the time to verify that companies provide reliable reports.

Testing the Quality of Their Customer Service

Poor customer service is absolutely unacceptable in this day and age, especially if a company is dealing with sensitive data like criminal history records. The best criminal background check services make their contact details easy to find and ensure that someone on their end will solve any issue clients may have. We contacted each evaluated company via all listed communication channels to verify that they offer dependable and prompt customer support.

Verifying Pre-employment Background Check Companies’ Compliance and Accreditations

If you want to do a crime background search for someone to ensure you’re hanging out with the right people, you can do it through some of the public records sites.
If you, however, are an employer, hiring manager, or lender, you must partner with employment background check companies that follow the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) playbook.
We looked for criminal background check companies that have received the Professional Background Screening Association accreditation (PBSA). Only the top criminal records providers that follow the industry’s best practices and the strict PBSA rules are eligible for this accreditation. We also made sure to feature Better Business Bureau accredited companies.

Confirming Their Prices Align With Industry Standards

The fees of pre-employment criminal background reports can vary depending on the searches you need. Below you can see the average price ranges for each type of check:

Note that the total price also depends on the access fees charged by each county or state. These fees can also include costs charged by third-party court runners who access the information for the companies. Most states’ fees are single-digit or zero, yet the fees in some states are costly. For example, New York’s fee is a whopping $95! We made sure to feature only companies with prices that align with industry standards, but keep in mind that the total you’ll pay will heavily depend on where information is searched.

And one tip — ask the companies to run a detailed criminal history background check with all names and aliases associated with a person. Many vendors won’t tell you they are only searching with the candidate’s given name, which means far less work and higher profit margins for them. But candidates can have multiple aliases, and to ensure a thorough and accurate background check, and you want to check all of them.

How to Select The Ultimate Criminal Background Check Services for Your Needs

Selecting a reputable criminal check service is a massive responsibility, as inaccurate results can harm your business or cost you a great applicant. We tracked the most trustworthy companies you can hire and prepared a practical guide to help you choose the one.

Outline Your Needs

What types of criminal background searches do you need? If you’re just curious if the new neighbors are honest people and deserve your barbecue invitation, you’re safe to use some of the people finder sites. But things are more complicated if you’re an employer or lender since you can’t just use any of the criminal background check companies out there. In these cases, you must stick to FCRA-compliant providers of such services. If you’re not sure what searches you need to perform on your candidates, your selected provider should be able to help you create a bundle that supports your risk mitigation strategy best while making sure you are not breaking any regulations.
Do you need more screening services besides criminal checks? Or a specific service such as a criminal background check for renters? If yes, check which company offers it. If you intend to perform multiple background checks, ask for a discount up front. Outline your screening needs before contacting the potential companies so you are armed with the right questions to ask and seal the best deal.

Know the Do’s and Don’ts

It’s important to distinguish the basic services you can get from public records sites from those you can use for employment, lending, and other business purposes. The latter must be obtained through an FCRA-compliant company.

Employers and lenders must also follow specific laws in the way they handle the results. Some states limit the consideration that employers can give to specific records reported in the criminal background check for employment. California, for instance, doesn’t allow employers to seek or consider records like arrest or detention that didn’t result in a conviction, some marijuana infractions, and misdemeanor convictions older than two years. It’s essential to hire a company that is not only FCRA-compliant but can also help you navigate the complex hiring regulations in your state and industry.

Employers should also adhere to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Employers that exclude all candidates with an arrest record could get in trouble with the federal non-discrimination law in some instances. That’s why it’s essential to follow the EEOC-issued enforcement guidance regarding the use of arrest and conviction records in employment decisions.

Look for a Company that Understands the Regulations in Your Industry
Depending on the industry, you might need advanced searches to confirm the dependability of the potential candidates. For example, you might need to perform a criminal background check for caregivers for roles that involve close contact with seniors, disabled people, patients, or children. In that case, it’s best to narrow down your choices to healthcare background check companies. Detailed background checks are also required for job positions in finance or other industries that involve access to sensitive data. If you operate in such sectors, look for companies that understand the delicate nature of your hiring process and the industry-specific regulations.

Determine a Budget

You can use the price estimates we’ve provided to outline a reasonable budget for your criminal screening needs. Then, you can contact your top choices to get a custom quote if you have more complex needs or compare the prices of the pre-built packages, especially if you need basic criminal background checks. This way, you can choose the overall best value without falling for unnecessarily expensive or suspiciously cheap offers.

Criminal Background Check FAQs

How long does a criminal background check take?

People search sites provide instant results. Pre-employment criminal checks, on the other hand, can take from one to three business days.

How far back does a criminal background check go?

Criminal history record searches for pre-employment purposes usually go seven years back. The amount of time covered, however, is contingent on the type of crimes being searched, their seriousness, along with local, state, federal laws and industry regulations. Below, you can see how long, on average, a record shows on employment background checks.

What shows up on a criminal background check?

The information that shows up on a criminal background check can include felony and misdemeanor convictions and other pending criminal cases. These reports may also cover information related to active warrants, infractions, and incarceration history.

How much does a criminal background check cost?

Depending on the information being searched, different reports have different prices. On top of these prices shown below, you might need to pay access fees each county or state charges to provide criminal information. Most access fees are single digit, some states and counties don’t charge them, but some have very high fees. The total cost depends on where information is being searched. Here are the prices companies charge for different types of criminal background checks:

What is a federal criminal background check?

A federal criminal record background check goes through records across 94 federal US district court and appellate court databases, uncovering pending federal criminal cases and convictions. These reports show crimes such as fraud, embezzlement, tax evasion, capital punishments, kidnapping, and more. Federal screening is recommended for applicants who will have access to sensitive or financial information, CPAs, C-level executives, financial and banking employees, and public sector employees.

What is a national criminal background check?

This type of criminal background check searches through millions of digital records across US jurisdictions, including sex offender and terrorist registries. It shows felony convictions, misdemeanors, infractions, and pending criminal cases that have taken place at a state or county level, including current pending criminal court cases. If someone has a criminal record, the national criminal background report will show the type of crime, the verdict, the verdict date, and the database where the record was found.

What’s the difference between a background check and a criminal background check?

A criminal check reveals the criminal history records of the screened person, including felony and misdemeanor convictions, history of incarceration as an adult, and any pending criminal cases. In addition to criminal record checking, criminal background check services offer other types of checks for employers and lenders. These can vary depending on the applicable local, state, and federal laws, the job position, and the industry. Employment background checks can include MVR records, professional and license verifications, social media background check, and more.