How Much Does a Background Check Cost?

Written by: Staff
Last Updated:  August 13, 2018

If you own your own company, or maybe you want to do some research on a person that you know, a background check may be something that you’re interested in obtaining.  A background check is a way to find information on a history of finances, criminal records, public information, as well as bankruptcies, employment and more.

How much does a background check cost?

A background check will usually come in various packages which has different types of information.  It will also depend on if you want to take the DIY approach or use a full-service background service.  A background check, on average, can range anywhere from $10 to $55 if you use the DIY approach.  The more you add, the more complex it can be, which will increase the costs.  Refer to our chart below to see what each type of background check can cost.  Using a full-service company can cost about $50 to $120 per report.

According to, full-service companies typically charge $50 to $100 per report, and it can take up to two days to complete.

For a simple background check, which includes a criminal history and past addresses, this could cost about $10 to $20.

Business background checks that are done by professional businesses can cost upwards of $100 depending on the amount of information that is needed.

Companies, such as Monster, offer services a la carte.  You can choose from records such as a motor vehicle records check for $10 or a terrorist watch list check for an additional $10.

Type of Background CheckCost
County Court Search$10 to $20
Criminal Database Search$10 to $20
Driver's License Search$3 to $15
Education Verification$5 to $15
Employment History Verification$5 to $15
Federal Criminal Search$8 to $20
Identity Verification$2 to $4
Professional License Verficiation$5 to $15
Statewide Criminal Search$7 to $22
Sex Offender Search$0 to $5
Tenant Eviction Records$5 to $10
Terrorist Watch List$0 to $6
CompanyPrice Range
CJIS Background Check$15 to $30
HireRight Background Check$29.95 to $69.95
Instacheck Background Check$25
Intellicorp Background Check$16
Intelius Background Check$20 to $50
NICS EZ Check$0 to $5
Orange Tree Employment Screening$18
PeopleSmart Background Check$20 to $40
PeopleWise$9 to $25
US Search Background Check$19.95

Background check overview

A criminal background check should include information such as the person’s criminal history (misdemeanors and felonies), sex offender status, if they are on a terrorist watch list, aliases, maiden names, traffic violations, phone numbers, social security number verification and previous addresses.  Depending on the complexity of the report, it may also include bankruptcies, driving records, employment records, professional licenses held, military records and credit scores.

Newer background check companies can also show things, such as Twitter and Facebook accounts, as well as links to news stories and pictures.

What are the extra costs?

Depending on who you go through, you will find that other background check based companies online, such as Intelius, will charge you extra for various options.  This a la cart based system will allow you to pick and choose what you want to be added to your reports.

Additional items, such as a motor vehicle check, criminal records check, employment verification, healthcare sanctions check and terrorist watch list, can cost extra.  Each company will have its own billing policies.

Tips to know

Watch out for some companies online that try to trick you into signing up for trials.  These trials will bill your credit card on a monthly basis.  Be aware of what you’re purchasing at checkout.

Some state laws and the Fair Credit Reporting Act require you get written or electronic consent from the person you’re looking to get a background check on.  This often applies to those who are looking for a job.

Many DIY background check companies aren’t FCRA-compliant, and if you look at the terms of service, it will state they are not to be used for pre-employment screening purposes.  It’s also important these services abide by the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

When using a full-service company, the results can be longer than a DIY setup.  Ask the company how long it will take to see your results.

How can I save money?

Compare at least three to five companies online.  While 99% of them are going to give you the same price, it’s best to find a company that is legit.  Check with the BBB to ensure that you’re working with a company that won’t steal your information.

Look for coupon codes online that can save you money on your report.  For example, Intelius has coupon codes that you can use when you sign up for the first time.

For those that don’t want to spend money on a background check, a site, such as, yields some great results and it doesn’t cost a penny.

Also, do a quick Google search on the person.  A search can bring up older newspaper articles, Facebook accounts and more that you can view for free.

If you only want to know certain things, consider a company that allows you to pick and choose the reports you want.  Many companies will bundle a bunch of reports you don’t need, while some will allow you to pick out certain ones.

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