• Tenant Screening: ★★★★☆ 4/5
  • Criminal Records Monitoring: ★★★★☆ 4/5
  • Drug and Alcohol Testing: ★★★★★ 5/5
  • Background Checks: ★★★★★ 5/5
  • Insight Advantage: ★★★★★ 5/5
  • Ease of Use: ★★★☆☆ 3/5
  • Price: Variable

First Advantage Background Check Reviews

Fact-checked
  • Tenant Screening: ★★★★☆ 4/5
  • Criminal Records Monitoring: ★★★★☆ 4/5
  • Drug and Alcohol Testing: ★★★★★ 5/5
  • Background Checks: ★★★★★ 5/5
  • Insight Advantage: ★★★★★ 5/5
  • Ease of Use: ★★★☆☆ 3/5
  • Price: Variable

Best For

Drug screening

STRENGTHS

  • Extensive catalog of background check services.
  • Convenient virtual screening for drugs, alcohol, and COVID-19.
  • Can perform highly detailed international background checks.

WEAKNESSES

  • Its customer support is not great.
  • Pricing transparency is an issue, and it's generally expensive.

Looking to screen a potential tenant or employee? First Advantage is a one-stop service provider for all your background checks.

In this review, we tested its services and looked at various First Advantage background check reviews to bring you all the details. We will cover:

  • what it is
  • its main features
  • ease of use
  • pricing
  • and more

What Is First Advantage and How Does It Work?

First Advantage is a comprehensive background screening service. Unlike many other background check services which are aimed at individuals or small businesses, First Advantage focuses more on solutions for corporate clients and large-scale property management operations.

They claim to be one of the largest screening providers in the world, with 26 offices across 14 countries, conducting over 71+ million international background screens annually on 18+ million applicants. More than being a simple once-off background check service, the FA system offers a one-stop Single Sign-On and a Multilingual Solution to completely take care of all your business’s screening needs.

That said, their catalog of background check services is huge compared to most of their competitors. In this First Advantage background check review, we mostly focus on their tenant screening services but they also cover employment information and criminal background checks as well.

Main Features

First of all, I was impressed with the sheer variety of First Advantage background check services. Most of its competitors focus on a particular niche, but First Advantage truly does it all using the multi-provider FA system.

Some of its services are provided via third-party partners but this doesn’t take away from their legitimacy. They have something for everyone.

SkipWatch

First Advantage’s SkipWatch Resident Database keeps tens of thousands of records on unqualified applicants. It includes records on those who have allegedly violated a lease, continuously pay late, skipped out on an apartment deposit, or falsified information according to their landlord. This allows property managers and owners to “skip” applicants with a bad track record and to secure housing while avoiding unnecessary housing costs, especially those of properties served via a First Advantage contract.

Database

Aside from accessing public sources, First Advantage maintains its own proprietary database that contains millions of properties and tens of thousands of previous applicants. This is at least partly what allows them to provide such fast, accurate, and verified information.

Forms Manager

If you are a property manager, then you know each application involves tons of paperwork. The online form manager from First Advantage is an effort to make the process less frustrating and time-consuming by giving you an online, digital interface to store and manage all your paperwork. It’s also integrated with other First Advantage background services.

Predictive Analytics

First Advantage’s various checks don’t simply report back whatever data they can find. It also uses intelligence to analyze an application or check a subject’s data points, such as their proof of income, to make predictions about their future behavior.

Insight Advantage

Insight Advantage is an innovative risk management dashboard that provides analytics and reports based on its predictive analytics capabilities. Users can benefit from 20 customizable analyses and get visibility into why your First Advantage background checks process performs a certain way.

Identity Fraud Protection

As part of the First Advantage resident screening checks, it also provides identity verification tools to avoid identity fraud, called RightID. This is available for both US-based and international background checks. This system cross-checks information between various governments and ID methods to verify identity with a high degree of certainty.

Collection Solutions for Multifamily Properties

This is for property managers that manage multifamily properties. It’s a fully-integrated suite of screening and collections services that helps managers identify unqualified applicants among prospective tenants and manage their utility debt accumulation and collection in complex situations with multiple tenants.

EasyMove

This is another one of the First Advantage resident solutions aimed at helping a property owner or manager maintain revenues. First Advantage maintains its own database of residential background check leads that it collects through its Profile Advantage employment information screening platform. You can use this record if you’re struggling to find prospective renters by searching and filtering for quality applicants according to various metrics and data points.

Mobile App

In 2018, First Advantage announced its shift toward mobile-first background checks. All its website-based services were already mobile-friendly. However, the app allows property managers and applicants to complete the entire process on their mobile devices. The Get Verified app is available on Android and iOS. While it can be a great timesaver for leasing agents and tenants, there are, unfortunately, some usability issues with both apps.

Ease of Use

As a premium background check and screening service, First Advantage doesn’t allow you to freely conduct checks on their website. Depending on what you need, the entire process can differ dramatically. So, it’s no surprise that you’ll find different answers according to different First Advantage background check reviews.

Some checks are conducted by First Advantage themselves, while others are outsourced to their partners.

However, it generally goes something like this:

  1. Go to First Advantage and click “Get Started:”
  2. Fill out the form that asks for basic contact information and describe what type of check you’re looking for.
  3. Depending on your information, First Advantage will redirect you to their own or a third-party service.
  4. Regardless, you will first need to register an account with First Advantage.
  5. You can then start a background check application by choosing a background check service and providing the requested details for the applicant.
  6. First Advantage will conduct the necessary background checks and notify you when the results are ready.

So, how long does a First Advantage background check take? Unfortunately, this depends on various factors, such as the security clearance sought, type of check, etc. Simple employment or rental history screening checks can take from 3 to 10 days. However, other checks may take months depending on who First Advantage needs to liaise with.

Plans, Pricing, and Contracts

Similarly, there’s no straightforward pricing model when it comes to First Advantage resident screening, employment screening, or background check services. Pricing depends on the scale of your operations as well as the type of checks you want to perform.

However, for general background checks, some previous clients report having paid the following amounts:

  1. Background Check Basic: $25/candidate
  2. Background Check Plus: $40/candidate
  3. Background Check Pro: $60/candidate

Many of their other services are offered for free to existing customers. However, no pricing information is made publicly available.

Other Services

So, what is First Advantage? The answer is that it’s more than just your typical background check service; it offers a huge range of specialized checks for specific circumstances. Some of these include:

Background checks

First Advantage offers a large catalog of various background checks, that include criminal records, for retail, staffing, non-profits, rental history, etc.

Driver services

First Advantage can check for compliance with a number of authorities, such as the Department of Transportation (DOT), Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA), and International Registration Plan (IRP).

Alcohol and drug testing

First Advantage offers simple mouth swab drug or alcohol tests and reading for alcohol and drug testing. The tests can even be performed virtually and the drug test information can be used by an employer to determine whether it’s safe for an employee to return to work during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to First Advantage drug testing reviews, it’s a convenient and hassle-free process.

Investigative research

As an advanced background screening service, First Advantage also offers executive-level investigative research. These services are designed to protect your intellectual property and investments from insider threats.

Criminal records monitoring

Aside from occasionally scanning national, state, and local criminal databases, First Advantage also maintains its own National Criminal File which covers all 50 states and includes sex offenders.

Customer Support

Unfortunately, First Advantage reviews are not great when it comes to customer support. They have a low 1-star rating on Yelp and are not listed on Trustpilot. That said, support can be reached via a number of emails and phone numbers and is available to all customers.

Alternatives

Let’s look at some of the top competitors we discovered when writing our First Advantage background check review:

Win Lose Best For
Experian The first Advantage is better for corporate clients and international screening. First Advantage can be significantly more expensive than Experian. Experian is best for credit monitoring and FICO information.
Avail The first Advantage is better for business or large-scale property managers. First Advantage doesn’t offer a free basic tenant screening service, while Avail does. Avail is convenient and affordable for small-scale tenant screening.
TurboTenant First Advantage offers a wider variety of background check and screening services. There’s less transparency about First Advantage’s pricing and it is more expensive. Landlords who need to find tenants for specific vacancies and screen them.

While First Advantage has quite a few competitors, it simply offers the widest range of background check services and solutions, particularly for businesses or large-scale rental property operations.

Is First Advantage Worth It?

One thing you’ll quickly discover when reading this and other First Advantage background checks reviews is that there are very few other services that offer the same variety of features and services as the FA system. While it’s not always suitable for individual use, it’s one of the best platforms for businesses.

FAQ

How can I reach the First Advantage customer service?

First Advantage offers customer support via phone and email. They offer separate email addresses and phone lines for the US and for internationally-based clients. On the downside, their customer support is not 24/7.

How far back does a First Advantage background check go?

There is no set limit as to how far First Advantage’s background checks go. However, First Advantage complies with the FCRA regulations against using various records that are older than 7 years for employment information and tenant screening.

Is First Advantage safe?

According to First Advantage background checks reviews, there is no reason to doubt whether this is a safe service to use. It is a legally registered company with a long, reliable track record.

ABOUT AUTHOR

I am a curiosity-driven creature searching for answers — and questions — in the digital realm. From marketing through online business creation to software tools — I am fascinated by everything that can make life easier. When not looking for meaning, yoga and good food keep me grounded.