Fingerprint Background Checks

When it comes to background checks, a common topic is the advantages of fingerprint background checks versus regular background checks.

Fingerprint background checks are becoming more common today due to technology (pop over to this page to learn more). They are more frequently conducted than physical fingerprint searches which can take weeks to complete. Fingerprint background checks not only offer quick turnaround times (often under 24 hours), but they also are efficient, accurate, and affordable.

Standard background checks do not utilize fingerprints, which is more effective for 90% of cases. However, this is only true if there is no criminal history for an individual. Fingerprints are utilized by 95% of cases. The fingerprints are checked 40 times per second by the National Repository of Criminal Justice Information, which compares fingerprints to ones in the FBI’s national database.

When searching a database that contains fingerprints, an individual’s fingerprints must match those of the particular record being searched in order for the individual to be contacted. If the fingerprints do not match, the individual is not considered a match and is ignored. This does not always occur (some databases may use a lower standard), but still requires an extremely high level of accuracy and thoroughness.

A background check may be sufficient for a majority of job-related situations. However, they vary greatly in terms of cost, thoroughness, and ability to provide information as reliable as a fingerprint background check.

Some background checks, such as the screening done by employers when they conduct a drug testing, simply search publicly available databases. These databases only contain records about crimes which did not result in a felony conviction. Some employers may consider this enough of a check to pass an employee by, but this depends on what information is needed for the job.

Some employers do conduct background checks on their staff, but may not have the programs necessary to collect fingerprints. In such cases, the individual must visit the local Sheriff’s Department in person to obtain a fingerprint card. Once at the department, the individual must fill out an application detailing their fingerprints, which are kept in a federal database. The individual must then pay the fee, supply the individual’s fingerprints, and pay a fee to return for a background check. This process is very time consuming, particularly if the individual wants the process completed quickly.