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AccurateNow Review: Best Background Check Service for Very Small Business

After much research and analysis, we recommend AccurateNow as the best background check service for very small businesses. We chose AccurateNow from a pool of the dozens of background check services we considered. To understand how we selected our best picks, you can view our methodology and a comprehensive list of background check services on our best picks page.

If you are looking for our review of GoodHire (formerly our best pick for very small businesses), please go here. GoodHire is now our best pick for small businesses overall. 

AccurateNow offers affordable pricing, the option to purchase background checks one at a time and excellent customer service. AccurateNow's background checks cost between $24.95 and $63.95.

AccurateNow, a division of Accurate Background, is designed specifically for small and midsize businesses. It allows you to purchase background checks on an individual basis and there are no monthly minimums.

Small businesses have three different levels of background checks to choose from, plus a variety of add-on services that can be tacked on to any of the plans. Here is a breakdown of its offerings:

Basic

  • Cost: $24.95 each
  • Includes: Social Security number trace, current county criminal courts search, national criminal database search, national sex offender registry search.

Standard

  • Cost: $44.95 each
  • Includes: Social Security number trace, current county criminal courts search, national criminal database search, national sex offender registry search and a global watch search.

Premium

  • Cost: $63.95 each
  • Includes: Social Security number trace, current county criminal courts search, national criminal database search, national sex offender registry search, global watch search, one education verification and one employment verification.

Add-on services

  • Cost: $9.95 each
  • Options: Motor vehicle records search, one education verification, one employment verification, one professional license verification and a federal criminal search.

AccurateNow also conducts drug screenings. The 10-panel tests are $27.50 each. However, there is also a charge to review the results. You have the option of paying an additional $5 for every test you purchase to have the results automatically reviewed or paying $25 only when a test returns a positive result.

The only other cost is for electronic pre-adverse and adverse action notices. These notices are sent to candidates when something undesirable is found in the background check that could impact their hiring. For $5, you can automatically email both notices directly to the candidate.

Unlike some of the other background check services we examined, AccurateNow does not charge setup, registration or monthly fees. We were also pleased with how transparent AccurateNow is with its pricing. All of its costs are clearly listed on its website, which wasn't the case with many of the other providers we looked in to.

Editor’s Note: Looking for information on background check services? Use the questionnaire below and our vendor partners will contact you to provide you with the information you need:

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AccurateNow's online platform makes ordering and reviewing background checks an easy process. To get started, you need to register for an account by providing some details about your business, including its address, website, phone number and federal tax ID, as well as some information about yourself. After electronically signing a user agreement, you can immediately begin ordering background checks.

To have a background check conducted, all you need to do is choose a plan and enter the job candidate's name and email address. The candidate is then sent login information to the system. Once they log in, they enter in the pertinent information that's needed for the background check, such as date of birth, Social Security number, address, past employers and education. In addition, the candidate is provided a consent form to electronically sign. We like that all of the responsibility of inputting the correct information and getting the consent form signed is in the hands of the candidate. Some of the other background check services we looked into required employers to handle these tasks.

AccurateNow gives candidates 10 days to provide their details and sign the consent form. If they don't do so within the allotted time, you must resubmit your background check request. However, you are not charged until after the background check is completed, so there is no cost if a candidate fails to provide  information in a timely manner. 

Once the background check is underway, you can log in to the system to keep tabs on its status. Once it is completed, you are sent an email notification letting you know the results are ready for your review. On average, the background checks take between one and three days to complete.

AccurateNow's background check reports are simple to understand. The first page of the report features all of the candidate's information, when the report was ordered, who ordered it and when it was completed. It also provides a summary of the specific searches that were conducted.

The rest of the report offers details on each search. When nothing negative is found, there is a green circle with a check mark inside it beside each search. If something negative or a discrepancy from what the candidate provided is discovered, there is yellow circle with a question mark inside it next to the search.

For criminal records, AccurateNow provides the charge, case ID number, whether there was a date of birth match, whether the incident was a misdemeanor or a felony, the date of the offense, the charge and if the candidate was found guilty. For verifications, the report shows the information the candidate provided and how that lines up with what the educational institution and employer reported.

Final reports are saved in the system for two years. If you need to access one after that, you can contact customer service to have it resent. You can also print or save the report as a PDF or HTML file.

Another aspect of the online system we liked is that it is mobile-friendly. This lets you order and review background checks from your smartphone or tablet.

We were pleased with the high level of service AccurateNow provides. To test the support offered, we called the company posing as a new small business owner interested in background check services.

When we reached out, a customer service representative immediately answered our call. Some of the other services we contacted left us on hold or transferred us to a voicemail, which was often never returned.

The customer service representative was friendly and helpful. What we liked most is that when he didn't know an answer to one of our questions, he admitted so, asked to put us on hold for a second and got the answer from someone who did. It is OK if representatives don't know everything, so long as they make an effort to get the answers from someone who does. During some of our calls with other providers it was clear the representatives did not know the answers, but instead of trying to find them out, they talked around our question or just made up answers that didn't align with what was on their websites.

At the end of our call, we asked to see a sample report. The representative said he didn't have one, but asked for our contact information and said someone would send us one shortly. Within 30 minutes, another representative had contacted us to find out which type of report we wanted to see. She also spent more time on the phone with us explaining the system, how the pricing worked and what type of support was offered. We liked that even though we said we weren't ready to start making background checks immediately, both representatives still spent as much time as we wanted explaining their services. Some of the other companies we contacted rushed us off the phone when they heard we were just looking into background check services.

We were pleased that within 5 minutes of hanging up with the second representative, a sample report had been emailed to us. Often when we asked other providers for follow-up emails, we never received them.

AccurateNow offers support by phone and email between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. (EST) Monday through Friday.  While the AccurateNow website does not provide any additional resources, the Accurate Background website does include a bunch of support options, including FAQs, white papers, a glossary of important terms, FCRA information and sample forms.

AccurateNow is an accredited member of the National Association of Professional Background Screeners, the official accrediting agency of the background check industry. Becoming accredited requires background check services to comply with a variety of standards that are set forth by the Background Screening Credentialing Council. Accreditation lasts five years, after which companies must undergo the process again if they wish to remain accredited.

One downside of AccurateNow and its parent company Accurate Background is that they are not accredited by the Better Business Bureau. However, Accurate Background does have an A+ rating with the BBB. In addition, there has been only one complaint filed against it within the past three years.

Another minor negative is that there is a charge for the pre-adverse and adverse action notices. While it is only a minor cost, many of the other services we examined did not charge for those letters.

In addition, customer support isn't available in the evenings or on the weekends, which could be a problem for some small businesses.

  • Best for Small Businesses
    GoodHire
    Read Review
    • Cost
      $29.99 to $79.99
    • Background Check Packages
      3; Plus add on searches available
    • NAPBS Accreditation
      Yes
    • Electronic Consent Form
      Yes
    • Customer Service
      Phone, email and live chat
  • Best for Very Small Businesses
    AccurateNow
    Read Review
    • Cost
      $24.95 to $63.95
    • Background Check Packages
      3; Plus add on searches available
    • NAPBS Accreditation
      Yes
    • Electronic Consent Form
      Yes
    • Customer Service
      Phone and email
  • Best for Household Employees
    eNannySource
    Read Review
    • Cost
      $19 to $89
    • Background Check Packages
      3; Plus add on searches available
    • NAPBS Accreditation
      No
    • Electronic Consent Form
      Yes
    • Customer Service
      Email
  • Best Do-It-Yourself Website
    BackgroundReport.com
    Read Review
    • Cost
      $19.95 to $29.95
    • Background Check Packages
      2
    • NAPBS Accreditation
      No
    • Electronic Consent Form
      No
    • Customer Service
      Phone and email
  • Best for Medical Practices
    HireRight
    Read Review
    • Cost
      Customized for each business
    • Background Check Packages
      2; Plus add on searches available
    • NAPBS Accreditation
      No
    • Electronic Consent Form
      No
    • Customer Service
      Phone, email and live chat

Ready to choose a background check service? Here's a breakdown of our complete coverage:

Editor’s Note: Looking for information on background check services? Use the questionnaire below and our vendor partners will contact you to provide you with the information you need:

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Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance writer who has nearly 15 years experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.