TMCnet Feature
June 23, 2021

10 Best Background Check Companies 2021

Looking for a partner to manage your massive roster of screenings? Maybe you need an all-around solution with a dedicated support team?

Our guide for the best background check services for employers uncovers the top ten background companies and their strengths when working with businesses.

Each provider we’ve chosen is committed to compliance and meeting the needs of their clients.

Rated for their strengths, service, and price, continue reading for a comprehensive selection of background check companies for employers and guide for how to pick one.

Best Background Check Services for Employers

Best Overall Background Checks — ScoutLogic

When you consider all the key aspects of what sets background check services apart, ScoutLogic comes out on top by a landslide.

The company offers a slew of specific background checks, from employment verification and education verification to criminal history and more. This comprehensive approach to background check services makes ScoutLogic a one-stop shop for the needs of small businesses without breaking the bank.

ScoutLogic sets itself apart from other background check services by personalizing the experience of your company’s recruiters. They assign a specific “Scout” that works closely with your business and gets to know your candidates, preventing frustration and proactively finding solutions to support your team.


  • Proactive ‘Scout’ service model means faster processing
  • Highly communicative with candidates and your company
  • Easy to understand pricing model


  • No “unlimited searches” packages available for a monthly fee
  • One time setup fee for new clients, but can be waived if benchmarks are met

Best for High Capacity & DIY Service — Checkr

Checkr sets itself apart from other background check sites with it’s user-friendly, mobile platform. Focusing on self-service, the company provides comprehensive background checks that easily tailor to the specific needs of the client.

The background check services are easy to integrate and understand, enabling small businesses and high-volume clients alike to fly through background checks with ease.

Checkr simplifies the hiring process by easily working with credit reporting agencies, education verification, criminal background checks, and even running reference checks. They handle the details so you can focus on the bigger tasks at hand.


  • Highly ranked online as one of the top background check services
  • Makes compliance a breeze
  • Easy-to-use with no one time setup fee


  • Offers monthly subscriptions, but not unlimited searches or unlimited reports for the fee

Best for Global Screenings — HireRight

HireRight sets itself apart from the rest of the best background check services available today due to its global reach.

The company operates in more than 200 countries around the world, increasing its reach of international employment verification and national association screening abilities.

HireRight uses social security number trace technology to provide the most comprehensive reports around and is recognized globally as one of the top background check services. This gives businesses clout on the international stage.


  • International education verification
  • Global professional license verification
  • Access to sex offender registry & drug screenings


  • Monthly fee may not be suitable for small businesses

Best for Using with CareerBuilder — Accurate

Accurate, a background check services company based in California, focuses its efforts on supporting mid-sized and small businesses as they grow with innovative background screening processes.

The thing that sets Accurate apart from other companies is their partnership with CareerBuilder.

In 2020, Accurate signed an agreement to acquire CareerBuilder Employment Screening (CBES) from CareerBuilder. This merger means a stronger pool of resources to support both Accurate and CareerBuilder. It allows the two companies to strengthen their pre-and post-employment screening services and continue to focus on customer service and building successful client relationships.


  • CareerBuilder integration
  • Excellent compliance support
  • Drug screenings history & sex offender registry searches


  • Not ideal for large companies
  • Pricing Structure not easily accessible online

Best for Huge Businesses — Sterling Talent Solutions

Sterling Talent Solutions, while also providing services tailored for small businesses, works primarily with massive, often multinational companies and agencies.

One of the best background check services internationally, they even work with governments and are used to navigating massive amounts of data.

From federal to county criminal court searches and address history to social security number trace abilities, Sterling Talent has earned its spot as one of the top background check companies for international media groups and leading digital publishers. They run background checks for motor vehicle records, perform professional reference checks, run professional license verification, and more.


  •  Access to massive amounts of personal data, including sex offender registry, education history, and property records
  • Clients can purchase single reports
  • Performs searches for social media accounts


  • No free trial available
  • Mixed online reviews

Best for Charting Family History — TruthFinder

Best for Civil Records & Criminal Records Checks —Instant Checkmate

Best for National Association Membership Searches — PeopleFinder

Best for Reference Checks —

Best for Contact Details & Identity Verification — Intelius

What Employers Should Look for in a Background Check Company

Seek Background Check Providers with Comprehensive Reports

You’ve got enough on your plate during the hiring process without having to sort through confusing criminal records, employment history, motor vehicle records, and miscellaneous national association details.

The best background checks offer concise and comprehensive information in reports that are easy to read and understand. A high-quality background check report should give you all the information you need in an easily understandable format with no extra fluff.

Many background check companies provide services that include the following reports:

  • Social security number trace is often used because more up to date, personal info is uncovered with a social security number.
  • Results of criminal searches and civil records. Many searches in this realm can uncover sex offender listings and damaging motor vehicle records.
  • Employment background checks, when performed by professional background screeners, can provide continuing education verification and other helpful employment history.

Focus on What You Need Specifically & Find Background Check Services to Match

When looking for the best background check services, it’s important that you find a company that fits your needs. Not all background check reports show the same, up to date information.

While some professional background screeners are excellent at discovering employment history or employment verification, they may not be as suited as other companies to run personal background checks. Some background checkers excel at digging up details from credit reporting agencies and can easily navigate the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Others focus on criminal searches, pulling criminal records through sex offender registry and county criminal court searches.

All background checks look different in process, so you should carefully review the fine print and ensure the company is equipped to do the specific job you require.

Review Cost & Payment Processes

Upfront transparency about cost and payment processes is a key sign that you’ve found one of the best background check sites.

While some background check platforms list prices right on their website, some background check sites require you to jump through hoops to get a clear quote for services. This speaks volumes about the integrity of a company.

Plus, it’s important to have a clear idea of what services you need to see if the cost is worthwhile. If you are ordering large quantities of background checks a month, a monthly subscription that allows unlimited reports may be the best background check option for you. On the other hand, if you only need occasional identity verification, address history, or sex offender screening, it may be better to skip the unlimited background checks to save money.

Many companies also charge a one time setup fee, so make sure you read the fine print before signing up for background checks.


What is the best background check company?

The absolute best background check provider is subjectively based on the specific needs of your company.

That said, ScoutLogic is ranked as “Best Overall” on this list for good reason!

The pricing model for their background checks is easy to understand and they make it easy to tailor services. If you need to search records of address history, criminal records, or need identity verification, ScoutLogic has got you covered. Plus, the proactive service model means you’ll complete hiring procedures faster.

What services do background check sites provide?

If the information is out there on the internet, you can bet a background check service can hunt it down.

Commonly, background reports have access to both civil records and criminal records and can perform education verification. Many can cross-check candidate references and save you lots of time in the process.

If it is relevant to successful hiring, there’s a good chance the right background check service for your company is up for the task.

Why might my company need to use background check providers?

Background checks are standard practice for many organizations and industries because they can help proactively protect your company from bad employees.

While no one has a spotless record in life, it can be greatly damaging if someone is hired that poses a serious threat to the safety or success of a company. In some cases, businesses can even be held liable for not doing proper pre-employment background checks if something goes wrong.

Taking the time to go through identity verification processes can ensure someone is who they say they are. You have the right to know about a candidate’s criminal records if there are negative patterns that could harm your business.

Plus, employment verification during background checks can make sure folks are being honest in their resumes.

When is it inappropriate to run a background check?

While background checks can be incredibly useful for businesses as they search for the perfect candidates, there are circumstances where it may be best to skip or wait before running background check reports.

In some cases, it is actually illegal to run background checks on a candidate before you interview them or prior to offering them a job. This is a common law to protect candidates from discrimination during hiring and to make the job market more equitable. That said, not all cities, states, and jurisdictions have this type of policy, so you should get to know the local laws prior to running background checks.

Additionally, there are some situations where background checks are considered unethical. For example, you shouldn’t search for someone’s criminal history prior to deciding if they are eligible for a scholarship or grant. Running checks for personal use can also be considered problematic, so tread lightly.

What company do most employers use for background checks?

While we would all prefer one clear answer to questions like this, they are often hard to give. That’s because no two employers need the same thing from background checks. Therefore, different industries tend to frequent different service providers.

For example, Intelius is great at digging up personal information and contact details, so that would best suit companies who are trying to create comprehensive personal profiles. For jobs with schools or social services, it’s more important that background checks find relevant criminal records.

Do I need permission before running a background check?

In many, although not all, cases, it is illegal to run background checks without receiving prior permission from the candidate.

Even in cases where it is not technically illegal, it is still frowned upon as being sneaky, dishonest behavior.

If you want to shine a positive light on your business and maintain a trustworthy reputation as a company, it’s best to always seek written consent before performing background checks on job candidates.

In Summary

The absolute best background check company to suit your needs depends on a sweeping variety of factors. From considerations about volume versus cost to the types of checks you need to run for your industry, the decision is highly individual.

Whatever route you choose, you can rest assured that your company is protected and better off with a reputable background check provider at your side during candidate screening and hiring.

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