Cost of a Background Check: How Much Should You Pay?

3 min read
Thu, Jul 01, 2021

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Over the past decade, the consumer reporting and background screening industry has seen significant growth. With growth typically comes competition, and with competition usually comes aggressive pricing. The cost of a criminal background check can vary by search type and by screening company (aka Consumer Reporting Agency - CRA). This post is to provide an estimate of what employers and landlords can expect to pay when conducting employment and tenant screening.   

When estimating the cost of a background check, two types of expenses come into play. 

Background Report CostBackground Check Package Cost:  What your background check provider will charge you to process and deliver a background screening report. This is the price that is often quoted when shopping background check costs online.  (Price ranges are provided below)

Court Access FeesAccess Fees: Occasional access fees are charged by certain jurisdictions (local courts) and data providers. These are often passed through to the Employer. VeriFirst provides a detailed list of ALL access fees before ordering. This means no surprise charges on your invoice. (If using another vendor, ask for the same). 

Show me VeriFirst pricing


Cost of a Background Check

Below is a background screening company's price range estimates for commonly requested background checks. 

Type of Background Check


Identity Checks  Price Range  Access Fee
Identity Verification, Social Security Number Trace, Address History $2 -$4 No
Criminal Background Checks
Price Range
Access Fee
National Criminal Background Search / Criminal Database Search $7 - $15 No
National Sex Offender Search: $0 - $5 No
County Criminal Search / County Court Search $8 - $16 Possible
Statewide Criminal Search $9 - $15 Yes
Federal Criminal Search $8 - $15 No
OFAC Terrorist / Watch List Search $0 - $5 No
Credit History
Price Range
Access Fee
Employee Credit History Report  $5 - $10 No
Tenant Credit Report with Credit Score $4 - $9 No
Motor Vehicle Records
Price Range
Access Fee
Driver's License Search / MVR Records $3 - $10 Yes
Price Range
Access Fee
Education Verification $7 - $15 Possible
Employment History Verification $7 - $15 Possible
Professional License Verification $7 - $15 No
Rental History
Price Range
Access Fee
Tenant Eviction Records $4 - $8 No
Rental Payment History (RentBureau) $0 - $10 No
Drug Testing
Price Range
Access Fee
5 Panel Urinalysis Drug Test (Lab Conducted) $25 - $40 No
10 Panel Urinalysis Drug Test (Lab Conducted) $30 - $55 No

Get Lower Background Check Pricing  No monthly dues. No annual fees.

Okay. So what about those Access Fees?

With certain background checks, jurisdictional and data access fees are charged by select counties, states, and data providers. Below is a range. If you would like a detailed listing of current access fees, click here

Type of Access Fee

Access Fee Price Range

County Court Access  $0 - $30
Statewide Criminal Repository Access $3 - $95
Department of Motor Vehicle / Driver License $2 - $28
Employment Verification Data Warehouse $0 - $20
Education Verification Clearing House $0 - $20


When shopping for background checks, look for transparency.

The cost of a background check will depend on the level of detail you are looking for, as well as the jurisdictions (location) in which you must search. 

At VeriFirst, we provide complimentary price quotes in a simple (easy to read) format. Just tell us what you’re looking for, or ask our FCRA Certified staff to make recommendations. When it comes to the cost of a background check, we believe there should be no surprises.  Contact us for more information.

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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in July 2013 and updated in the current year for accuracy and comprehensiveness.


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