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Best Background Check Sites of 2021: Get The Answers You Need

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It can take months before you truly know someone, and most of us don’t have that kind of time on our hands. Do you have a new roommate moving in or an upcoming date with someone you meet online? Do you want to check into their past before engaging further? Background check services are an integral resource if you need to get to know someone fast.

All you need is the person’s phone number or email address and these background check sites will bring up the information needed to make an informed decision regarding their past and overall character. This could include criminal records, social media accounts, current and past phone numbers, address history, and more. Information like that can help you decide whether this is a person you can trust within your home, dating life, family, business, etc.

But not all background check services are equal, in terms of service, value, customer support, and other essential features. For this article, we’ve researched different providers and rated the best background check sites that are committed to privacy and offer services to meet the needs of their customers.

Best Background Check Sites 2021 – Overview

  1. Instant Checkmate – overall best background check service
  2. Truthfinder – best for finding criminal records
  3. Intelius – best option for purchasing individual reports
  4. PeopleFinders – best for basic background checks
  5. BeenVerified – best people search provider
  6. Infotracer – most affordable background check service
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Instant Checkmate is a 10-year-old company and has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. It’s also FCRA-compliant and entirely transparent in regards to data collection and usage.

This site offers both monthly and quarterly subscription plans, along with several essential features including:

  • Drug screening
  • Address verification
  • Dark web monitoring
  • On-demand private investigators
  • Inmate searches
  • People search feature
  • Reverse phone lookup

Instant Checkmate can search for criminal records, sex offender registry status, secret social media accounts, phone numbers, email addresses, and other information available via online public records.

Pros

  • Highly accurate reports, with extensive public records search
  • Updated contact information
  • Multiple search parameters, including social media and dating sites
  • Easy-to-use website
  • Unlimited searches with membership

Cons

  • No individual report option
  • Slow loading times
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Like Instant Checkmate, Truthfinder runs a transparent business that provides customers with quality and accurate data, while also disclosing how the information was obtained. There are various types of services available on this website, including:

  • Background checks
  • People search
  • Reverse phone lookup
  • Public records search
  • Address lookup
  • Sex offender lookup
  • Dark web monitoring
  • Education background report

Each report type uses extensive search methods to find personal information – such as criminal background details and arrests, possible family members, civil court records, watch list notice, social media info, bankruptcies and liens, and more.

The website is easy to navigate through, and the reports are easy to understand.

Pros

  • Highly detailed, yet digestible reports
  • Free dark web scans for subscribed members
  • Variety of search parameters and filters
  • Fast and unlimited reports

Cons

  • Membership costs are expensive
  • There is no trial period available
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Intelius has been conducting affordable and trustworthy background checks since 2003. It’s a subsidiary of People Connect, Inc., and headquartered in Seattle. The company has an A rating with the Better Business Bureau and abides by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA ).

Because you can purchase individual reports, this background check website is best for personal research, rather than recurring reports used for business purposes.

Some of the website’s key features include:

  • People search
  • Criminal background check
  • Identity protection, which notifies you when there is a change in your public records
  • Reverse phone lookup

Like other background check companies, Intelius puts together thorough reports from multiple records and data points, making it easy to gain access to information like date of birth, phone numbers, email addresses, social media profiles, court records, and other details on the person.

Pros

  • Data collection from various public records
  • Affordable monthly plans and one-time reports
  • Extensive criminal record search capabilities

Cons

  • Customer support is slow to respond
  • Some reviews of inaccurate or outdated results

The background check service PeopleFinders sorts through an impressive amount of information when compiling a report, including 6,000 data sources and over 43 billion public records. Overall, it’s one of the biggest background check companies on the market today. With nearly 3 decades of experience in the industry and a wide variety of essential features and data solutions, this company enables users to find the information they need.

Along with the extensive databases, here are some other features this website is capable of:

  • Reverse phone lookup
  • Reverse email address lookup
  • People search reports
  • Employment background checks
  • Criminal background screening

This is one of those background check websites offering valuable information that could make a big difference in the decision-making process. Reports can include criminal records, secret social media profiles, contact information (phone number and email address), date of birth, criminal history, and more.

This website does lack some transparency surrounding data usage when creating an online background check report. If you plan to conduct background checks for business purposes, like an employment screening or tenant screening, it’s important to be aware of these related consumer reporting issues.

Pros

  • 3-day trial period
  • Free-to-use mobile app
  • Extremely detailed reports
  • Individual reports available
  • Unlimited searches with subscription

Cons

  • Lack of clarity with data collection
  • After the free trial period is over, your account will be automatically charged for the following month
  • The site allows people to remove information from the system, leading to accuracy issues

BeenVerified has an easy-to-use platform for users looking to obtain background checks. If you’re wary about the process, head over to the BeenVerified website. It will walk you through the entire process and offer basic background checks at an affordable price.

The people search features are extensive, including information connected to other people – such as neighbors, friends, and family. You can also find criminal records, phone numbers, email addresses, social media accounts, and more.

Here are some other impressive BeenVerified features:

  • Education verification
  • Court runner service
  • Unlimited reports

Pros

  • Mobile app for iOS and Android devices
  • Transparency around consumer reporting
  • Unlimited background reports with a membership

Cons

  • No option to get an individual report

Infotracer is one of the most affordable background check websites on this list. You can conduct in-depth searches and receive comprehensive background checks reports all at an affordable price. Background checks can include marriage and divorce records, property and asset information, criminal records, and social media profiles. Other Infotracer features include:

  • People search
  • Arrest and warrant reports
  • Reports outlining criminal records and court records
  • Employment background checks

Pros

  • Good customer support
  • 5-day trial period

Cons

  • Reports take a while to generate
  • Monthly subscriptions and one-time reports cost the same ($19.95)

What to Look For in Background Check Sites

The best background check services will have accurate records, sufficient privacy, and ultimately a legitimate business.

Here are a few things to consider when using a background check site.

The specific information you want to obtain

There are different types of searches you can carry out – such as background checks and people search services. Depending on the type of search conducted, the site could look for specific information like social media accounts or criminal background reports.

Some background check companies will provide all of the details needed, but others may have limitations as to what they can search for. It’s critical to use a service that can find what you’re looking for.

Accurate, updated records

You may think a simple Google search will provide all the information you’re looking for. While the internet does host court records, criminal records, and other sources, there is no way to ensure these filings are accurate or up-to-date. There are plenty of fake social media profiles, credit accounts, and even social security numbers out there.

A professional background check site will take the time to conduct a comprehensive screening of the individual, checking every potential avenue and record. Services like these will produce accurate, updated facts on the person.

The background check companies listed above are all highly accurate. But some sites go the extra mile to send court runners to ensure that they are correct and there’s no mistaken identity on the paperwork.

Committed to privacy regulations

There are strict consumer reporting laws when it comes to pulling a background check. Background check service providers must comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act, which regulates the collection of an individual’s credit information and access to their credit report. It’s designed to address the privacy of personal information with files pertaining to consumer reporting agencies.

To ensure a background check site is staying compliant with the Fair Credit Reporting Act, look to see if it is NAPBS-accredited. This shows that they abide by state and federal laws regarding consumer reporting and the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

Cost and delivery time

The best background check services are not free of charge, though some will offer a trial period. Consider the cost of these websites, and whether they offer a monthly subscription plan or one-time service, or both.

Additionally, consider the turnaround time and how long you have to wait for a report to be completed. Some background check services will take a few minutes to display the data, and others will take a couple of business days. If you need to make a quick decision, pick a site with fast results.

Customer support

Background checks typically come with various questions and concerns regarding the process and finalized report. While background check services cost much less than using a private investigator, you still will want a responsive customer service team on your side. Consider whether the company has customer service representatives available for personalized service and if the provider’s website is easy to use. Both of these are important factors to run successful background checks.

Background Check Services FAQs

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to background checks and conducting one using an online service.

What Does a Standard Background Check Include?

The best background check services should include the following information:

  • Identity verification, including full name and basic contact information
  • Criminal records connected to violent crimes
  • Sex offender registry status
  • Criminal record related to drugs and alcohol
  • Driving records, including traffic violations and major accidents
  • Address history
  • Employment history
  • Education background
  • Social media accounts
  • Financial records
  • Marriage and divorce records
  • Possible friends and family members
  • Reverse phone lookup and people search services

The items listed above are the basics. All background checks should include that information, with accurate and updated records.

What are some red flags on background checks?

The following details on a background check may indicate a red flag:

  • Long stretches of unemployment
  • Felony charges or other offenses
  • Bad credit
  • Drug charges
  • Other inconsistencies

How much does a background check cost?

Most background check services will provide three levels of reports – standard, advanced, and in-depth. It’s important to know what information your provider includes at each level.

Generally speaking, basic background checks cost around $25-$50 per report, advanced background checks cost around $60-$80, and in-depth reports cost around $80 or more on average.

Though, every background check service is different, making it important to confirm the details before purchasing anything. Additionally, many service providers require a monthly subscription plan and do not offer individual reports.

Should you buy a monthly subscription plan or pay a per-report flat fee?

This all depends on your goals when using the service and how many background checks you plan to pull per month.

Some businesses, for instance, need to sort through hundreds of potential candidates every year. If you’re a landlord running a rental unit company, it makes sense to purchase a subscription package for multiple tenant screening applications. This will afford you unlimited searches at a steady monthly rate.

However, if you only need one background check to locate a long-lost family member or scope out a new roommate, for example, it makes more sense to pay a flat fee for a single report.

What is FCRA?

The acronym FCRA stands for Fair Credit Reporting Act. It’s a Federal Law put forth by the U.S. government that helps to regulate the gathering and use of consumer data.

It ensures fairness when dealing with the following:

  1. Consumer credit
  2. Employment
  3. Housing
  4. Medical care
  5. Insurance
  6. Banking services

Only official consumer reporting agencies can access this information from various creditors. This information provides insight on an individual’s borrowing and spending habits and is often used for things like pre-employment screenings and evaluating someone’s creditworthiness when taking out a loan.

Conclusion

If you need to run a background check on an individual, background check services make the task quick and easy. These services will provide you with accurate and up-to-date information needed to further understand who the individual is as a person. Overall, you can’t underestimate the value of a quality background check website.

The best background check site will be able to sort through various public records to produce comprehensive reports, revealing a potential criminal background, sex offender status, and other significant court records. It should also have features that extend beyond basic background checks, containing services like people search, reverse phone lookup, address history search, and even dark web monitoring. Finally, the provider you’re using should be FCRA-compliant, function as a transparent business, and disclose that the data is being collected legally.

The background check services listed above all run reputable businesses and will provide you with information that can be trusted.

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Are Sallie Mae Student Loans Federal or Private?

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When you hear the name Sallie Mae, you probably think of student loans. There’s a good reason for that; Sallie Mae has a long history, during which time it has provided both federal and private student loans.

However, as of 2014, all of Sallie Mae’s student loans are private, and its federal loans have been sold to another servicer. Here’s what to know if you have a Sallie Mae loan or are considering taking one out.

What is Sallie Mae?

Sallie Mae is a company that currently offers private student loans. But it has taken a few forms over the years.

In 1972, Congress first created the Student Loan Marketing Association (SLMA) as a private, for-profit corporation. Congress gave SLMA, commonly called “Sallie Mae,” the status of a government-sponsored enterprise (GSE) to support the company in its mission to provide stability and liquidity to the student loan market as a warehouse for student loans.

However, in 2004, the structure and purpose of the company began to change. SLMA dissolved in late December of that year, and the SLM Corporation, or “Sallie Mae,” was formed in its place as a fully private-sector company without GSE status.

In 2014, the company underwent another big adjustment when Sallie Mae split to form Navient and Sallie Mae. Navient is a federal student loan servicer that manages existing student loan accounts. Meanwhile, Sallie Mae continues to offer private student loans and other financial products to consumers. If you took out a student loan with Sallie Mae prior to 2014, there’s a chance that it was a federal student loan under the now-defunct Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP).

At present, Sallie Mae owns 1.4 percent of student loans in the United States. In addition to private student loans, the bank also offers credit cards, personal loans and savings accounts to its customers, many of whom are college students.

What is the difference between private and federal student loans?

When you’re seeking financing to pay for college, you’ll have a big choice to make: federal versus private student loans. Both types of loans offer some benefits and drawbacks.

Federal student loans are educational loans that come from the U.S. government. Under the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program, there are four types of federal student loans available to qualified borrowers.

With federal student loans, you typically do not need a co-signer or even a credit check. The loans also come with numerous benefits, such as the ability to adjust your repayment plan based on your income. You may also be able to pause payments with a forbearance or deferment and perhaps even qualify for some level of student loan forgiveness.

On the negative side, most federal student loans feature borrowing limits, so you might need to find supplemental funding or scholarships if your educational costs exceed federal loan maximums.

Private student loans are educational loans you can access from private lenders, such as banks, credit unions and online lenders. On the plus side, private student loans often feature higher loan amounts than you can access through federal funding. And if you or your co-signer has excellent credit, you may be able to secure a competitive interest rate as well.

As for drawbacks, private student loans don’t offer the valuable benefits that federal student borrowers can enjoy. You may also face higher interest rates or have a harder time qualifying for financing if you have bad credit.

Are Sallie Mae loans better than federal student loans?

In general, federal loans are the best first choice for student borrowers. Federal student loans offer numerous benefits that private loans do not. You’ll generally want to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and review federal funding options before applying for any type of private student loan — Sallie Mae loans included.

However, private student loans, like those offered by Sallie Mae, do have their place. In some cases, federal student aid, grants, scholarships, work-study programs and savings might not be enough to cover educational expenses. In these situations, private student loans may provide you with another way to pay for college.

If you do need to take out private student loans, Sallie Mae is a lender worth considering. It offers loans for a variety of needs, including undergrad, MBA school, medical school, dental school and law school. Its loans also feature 100 percent coverage, so you can find funding for all of your certified school expenses.

With that said, it’s always best to compare a few lenders before committing. All lenders evaluate income and credit score differently, so it’s possible that another lender could give you lower interest rates or more favorable terms.

The bottom line

Sallie Mae may be a good choice if you’re in the market for private student loans and other financial products. Just be sure to do your research upfront, as you should before you take out any form of financing. Comparing multiple offers always gives you the best chance of saving money.

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Tips to do some fall cleaning on your finances

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Wealth manager, Harry Abrahamsen, has five simple ways to stay on top of the big financial picture.

PORTLAND, Maine — Keeping track of our financial stability is something we can all do, whether we have IRAs or 401ks or just a checking account. Harry J. Abrahamsen is the Founder of Abrahamsen Financial Group. He works with clients to create and grow their own wealth. Abrahamsen shares five financial tips, starting with knowing what you have. 

1. Analyze Your Finances Quarterly or Biannually

You want to make sure that your long-term strategy is congruent with your short-term strategy. If the short-term is not working out, you may need to adjust what you are doing to make sure your outcome produces the desired results you are looking to accomplish. It is just like setting sail on a voyage across the Atlantic Ocean. You know where you want to go and plot your course, but there are many factors that need to be considered to actually get you across and across safely. Your finances behave the exact same way. Check your current situation and make sure you are taking into consideration all of the various wealth-eroding factors that can take you completely off course.

With interest rates very low, now might be a good time to consider refinancing student loans or mortgages, or consolidating credit card debt. However, do so only if you need to or if you can create a positive cash flow. To ensure that you are saving the most by doing so, you must look at current payments, excluding taxes and insurance costs. This way you can do an apples-to-apples comparison.

The most important things to look for when reviewing your credit report is accuracy. Make sure the reporting agencies are reporting things actuary. If it doesn’t appear to be reporting correct and accurate information, you should consult with a reputable credit repair company to help you fix the incorrect information.

4. Savings and Retirement Accounts

The most important thing to consider when reviewing your savings and retirement accounts is to make sure the strategies match your short-term and long-term investment objectives. All too often people end up making decisions one at a time, at different times in their lives, with different people, under different circumstances. Having a sound strategy in place will allow you to view your finances with a macro-economic lens vs a micro-economic view. Stay the course and adjust accordingly from a risk and tax standpoint.

RELATED: Financial lessons learned through the pandemic

A great tip for lowering utility bills or car insurance premiums: Simply ask! There may be things you are not aware of that could save you hundreds of dollars every month. You just need to call all of the companies that you do business with to find out about cost-cutting strategies. 

RELATED: Overcome your fear of finances

To learn more about Abrahamsen Financial, click here

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How to Get a Loan Even with Bad Credit

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Sana pwedeng mabura ang bad credit history as quickly and easily as paying off your utility bills, ‘no? Unfortunately, it takes time. And bago mo pa maayos ang bad credit mo, more often than not, kailangan mo na namang mag-avail ng panibagong loan. 

Good thing you can still get a loan even with bad credit, kahit na medyo limited ang options. How do you get a loan if you have bad credit? Alamin sa short guide na ito. 

For more finance tips, visit Moneymax.

 

 

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