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How to Choose the Right Background Check Website

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Personal background checking websites are often used by individuals who wish to find someone. Perhaps you want to reconnect with an old school friend, or even locate an absent family member.

You might be interested in finding out a bit more about someone close to you, your neighbours, your doctor or another professional whom you rely on. All of this is possible with the right background check service. These services can also provide a bounty of features and services to help you decide who is right for the job.

Vetting prospective employees

He seems too good to be true: smart, capable, an extensive background in the field you’re looking for, involved in several key societies and organizations, and a resume that sells itself. What’s the catch? That's where a good background check website comes in.

We all like to inflate the truth a little in job interviews because we’re taught not to sell ourselves short. But there is a difference between self promotion and outright lying. The problem when you’re looking at who to employ for a job is, usually, you don’t know them very well. Of course, most employers will ask for references, they might even check that you have a particular qualification, but that’s usually as far as employers venture when it comes to checking the backgrounds of their potential employees.

With a background check website, you can check on someone’s educational background, which societies they belong to, any professional qualifications, references and more. If you’re in an industry which requires someone to be fit and able, you can also request health checks and perform drugs testing to make sure that nobody on your team is going to be a liability.

Every year, businesses around the world collapse because of employee problems, whether it’s general incompetence or poor training, or the fact that they lied about their experiences to get a job. Court cases can cost millions, so it only makes sense to hire the right person before any problems can occur.


What Do You Require and Where Do You Live?

Most of the background check websites we’ve reviewed here are focused on people in the US. The United States keeps over a billion publicly-accessible documents on its residents, and you can find information on more than 90% of people living in the states. However, among our reviews you’ll also discover websites which focus on Canada or the UK, or sites which provide services all around the world. These can be especially useful if you need to locate someone outside of the USA. 

So what should you be looking for in a background check website? This will largely depend on the services you require and the country you live in. The US tends to have a lot more information on its residents than countries such as the UK, where there are more laws in place to prevent a person’s information from being accessed.

If you just want to contact someone,, then you’ll find that most of these websites will offer phone numbers and email addresses, relatives’ names and potentially even their addresses. If you’re hoping to screen potential employees, you’ll find websites that are specifically designed for this purpose. Subsequently, there are websites for business and personal use, to help you locate individuals or to find out more about them.


How Have We Compared Various Background Check Websites?

We’ve explored dozens of the best personal history sites around, to help advise and direct you to the one which will be most useful to you. When we create our reviews we analyse a variety of different key criteria to help explain the ins and outs, pros and cons of each website. As well as providing a list of costs, a list of features, and an Editor’s Verdict, we also use a star system to assess particular elements of each site. Before you get going, then, here are a few tips and things to look out for, based on our star rating system:

  • Background checking service:
    We consider how effective a site is when it comes to finding out background information about a person. We consider the variety and depth of the information available, awarding high marks to detailed reports, as well as systems which offer easy-to-use searches. Background checks are particularly important to employers, who need accurate information about a person’s past to make an informed decision on their role within a company.
  • People finding services:
    Generally speaking, these are most applicable to people who are looking to reconnect with somebody. You can perform a variety of searches on most sites (usually involving a person’s name or alias, and the area they live in). You will then be presented with a list of matches, which you can explore. Afterwards you can request contact details, and they will be sent as a report. Some websites might even offer professional team members’ support in helping you to track someone down. 
  • Features:
    There are a range of additional features that each site will offer, ranging from blogs to articles, guidebooks to videos. We also consider the level of support provided, as some companies will offer a personal assistant to help you through the process. If a website has additional services to offer, such as drugs testing, this may impact on their Features score. A list of features is provided in each review, usually outlining the variety of background checking and people finding services they provide.
  • Ease of use and navigation:
    Most of the sites we’ve reviewed in this category are easy to use. We’ve also considered how readable their reports are, because we realise that some documents can be quite confusing if you don’t know what you’re looking for. When it comes to finding out additional information on improving your searches and finding data, or even locating prices or assistance, we’ve taken this into account.
  • Ease of joining and registration:
    This is perhaps one of the least troublesome elements of the sites we’ve reviewed here. We consider how simple it is to join a website and start using its services. There are, however, a few to watch out for. It’s worth bearing in mind that often you’ll need to cancel a trial period or monthly membership, otherwise you’ll continue to be billed. We tend not to look favourably on websites which hide this information, or which encourage you to sign up for a fee and then charge additional fees without letting you know in advance.
  • Customer support:
    If you need help using the site or accessing documents, you’ll want to use a website which offers great customer support, check what kinds of support are on offer and how you can contact the team. If you only find a phone number and you live far away, this probably isn’t going to be the best solution for you. Some sites might offer a call back service, or may even be able to talk using a live chat feature.
  • Value for money:
    Whilst some sites are more expensive than others, the cheapest sites don’t always offer good value for money. We consider the quality of the service and the information you receive, as well as how much it costs. We then compare each site with its peers to decide which, in our opinion, offers you the best value for money.


The Bottom Line

Each of our reviews offers a substantial amount of information on each site, but you’ll only really understand what’s on offer once you explore a few for yourself. Whether you’re looking for a new employee, or hoping to reunite with someone you already know, good luck!