Instant Background Checks

Instant background checks have both advantages and disadvantages. Many online background check companies that offer “instant nationwide” searches use only one database. The result is that you can think you’re receiving a thorough background check when in reality, it’s more of a quick sweep that misses a lot of potential “dirt” on your subject.

By choosing a quality company that will communicate with you about your background checking needs, you can find out when an instant type of check would be suitable. For instance, if you must do a point of sale check or have to conduct a search quickly, that you may follow up with a more thorough one later, instant checks may work well for your needs.

The FBI’s National Instant Background Check System

One example of instant background checks used at the point of sale is the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) National Instant Background Check System (NCIS) for federally licensed firearms dealers. When a person in the United States is buying a gun from one of these dealers, FBI databases are accessed to determine whether the individual should be permitted to purchase the weapon. If eligibility is denied, the buyer may appeal the seller’s decision.

What to Look for in Instant Background Checks

Always use the services of a quality background check company that is compliant with all laws including the Fair Credit Reporting Act. No matter how quickly the search is required, if it’s an employer searching information on an employee or job applicant’s background, the subject’s permission is going to be required. Quality background check companies are going to be able to help you accomplish law compliant checks in the fastest possible time. There is no point in risking your business for the sake of shoddy instant background checks.

Pick an instant background check service company that will communicate with you. A service that doesn’t get back to you promptly or isn’t willing to tailor its searches to your specific needs is typically not worth the money even if the company advertises cheap rates. The saying “you get what you pay for” is especially true where instant background checks are concerned. A low cost, one data base, check may only skim the surface of an employee, tenant, nanny, business partner or other subject search.

When is an Instant Background Check Best?

The only worthwhile time to do an instant background check is when you know it will be thorough enough for your needs. If you don’t need a complete background check that covers the subject’s “general reputation” or “mode of living,” an instant search from a quality screening company that uses several, up to date databases may work for you. Remember that different states have varied laws on what records are considered public information, so any “instant nationwide background check” won’t do as it might only partially cover the data in your subject’s state. Make sure you know what your search covers exactly or you may assume that a certain state, registry or vital record was searched when the instant check didn’t cover it. Getting a detailed, itemized quote from a background checking service is best.