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Criminal Background Check Cost

How Much Does a Criminal Background Check Cost?

low costSingle-State Criminal Background Check: $10-$20 average costNationwide Criminal Background Check: $25-$50 high costExpert-Assisted Background Check: $80+
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A criminal background check is the process of looking up and compiling a person's criminal records, something that is usually done as a precursor to employment, gun purchases and apartment rentals. Criminal background checks are also used in potential dating situations.

Typical costs:

  • For a basic state-based criminal history check, expect to pay $10-$20. A basic criminal check typically looks for arrests, felonies and misdemeanors in a specific state. CrimCheck[1] does a basic background check for $18.
  • A deeper, nationwide criminal check, typically costs $25-$50. Intelius[2] conducts a nationwide criminal background check for $40.
  • Some companies offer expert-assisted background checks that dig into personal, financial and business history, for $80-$150. US Search[3] charges $80 for an extensive, expert-assisted background check.
  • The FBI will provide a copy of an individual's FBI Identification Record[4] , also called a RAP sheet, for $18 and a current tenprint fingerprint submission, which can be obtained through a local law enforcement agency.
Related articles: Private Investigator, Expungement, Attorney Fees

What should be included:
  • Most criminal background checks include basic information about a person's criminal history. The list of information generally includes felonies, misdemeanors, arrest dates, case numbers, pleas, sex offender status, terrorist or most wanted status and aliases and maiden names. Minor traffic violations and charges that have been dropped are not typically part of a criminal background check.
  • Background checks can include more than criminal history. Many background checks include basic personal information such as previous addresses and phone numbers. Some background checks also include financial information such as bankruptcies, credit history, driving records, employment records, military records, property ownership and professional licenses held. Medical records and credit history reports require the consent of the individual, but other information is considered public record and accessible to anyone.
  • In-depth background checks for individuals seeking positions of trust or high security clearances may include face-to-face interviews with acquaintances. But primarily, background checks are searches of public records.
  • The Federal Trade Commission has a fact sheet[5] for consumers on background and credit checks. The FTC explains what rights an individual has and what obligations an employer must meet when conducting pre-employment background checks.
  • The U.S. Small Business Administration provides a list of pre-employment checks[6] and the laws that govern their use in hiring.
  • Victims of Hurricane Katrina[7] and flooding in the Midwest in 2008[8] can receive free background checks through
  • Some background check services allow a pick-your-pack approach to purchasing background check information. For example, eFindOutTheTruth offers a build-your-own background search[9] that starts at $10 and adds on various searches including looking at the terrorist watch list, examining social security records or a nationwide criminal records search for about $2-$6 for each added search.
  •[10] , a site that bills itself as "the social white pages," offers free searches of various types of information including a criminal search and an inmate search.
Shopping for a criminal background check:
  • TopTenReviews provides a comparison guide of top-used background check services[11] .
  • The U.S. Justice Department[12] report on criminal background checks is a useful source of information.
  • Integrascan, a background checking services, provides the Ultimate Guide to Background Checks[13] , which has information on background checks in all 50 states.
  • Intellicorp, a company that provides risk management services, provides tips and considerations[14] to make when selecting a background check service.
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