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Facts That You Must Know About Fingerprint Background Check

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Before hiring someone, you should know about fingerprint background checks and the factors determining how thorough they are. These factors include the cost, accuracy, and limitations of these background checks. To learn more about fingerprint background checks, read on.

Variables That Affect The Thoroughness

Fingerprint background checks are used to verify the identity of individuals by matching fingerprints to criminal records. Employers conduct fingerprint background checks on potential employees by having them go to the police department or a special kiosk and submit their fingerprints. These fingerprints are compared to the FBI’s database, which contains 70 million records. It includes fingerprints from people who have been fingerprinted for criminal activity and legal purposes, such as applying for a job or buying a gun.

Fingerprint-based background checks are time-consuming and require a trained and qualified person to collect fingerprints. Therefore, most fingerprint background checks are done at a local or county level. However, in some cases, an employee cannot begin working for an employer until a criminal background check is completed, so it would be best to hire a professional like Sterling Check to perform a thorough fingerprint background check.


Fingerprint background checks are generally thought to be accurate and comprehensive. However, there are certain limitations. For example, the criminal records associated with fingerprints can sometimes be incomplete. In the past, fingerprints were stamped onto paper cards and then sent to an expert to compare them with a database. Today, fingerprints are captured digitally through a scanner and stored in the FBI database.

While fingerprint background checks are required for employment screening, they are not the most accurate option. This is because they depend on the consumer getting their prints from a vendor approved by the FBI. This means that the results of a fingerprint background check are only as accurate as the processing time at the FBI. This can cause problems, so it is essential to look for alternatives.

Because the FBI has so many records, getting complete information about a person can be challenging. The problem is that some state AFIS systems do not report all arrests. Furthermore, some counties do not say their criminal records to the FBI. This leaves gaps in the database. The lack of complete information can make an employer liable for discriminatory hiring practices.


One of the limitations of fingerprint background checks is that they cannot provide information about a person’s employment or educational background. These types of background checks are usually taken in connection with an arrest. In addition, fingerprints do not reflect the outcome of a court case. Therefore, fingerprint background checks are not the most reliable verification of a person’s criminal history.

While fingerprints help verify a person’s identity, not all records filed with the FBI are accurate. For example, only about one-third of all state AFIS systems transmit disposition information from subsequent arrests to the FBI. This results in incomplete information that can provide an inaccurate picture of a job applicant. This can expose an employer to legal liability if they make a hiring decision based on erroneous information.

A fingerprint background check cannot be added to a screening process cohesively. Moreover, fingerprint records do not comply with FCRA and EEOC standards, and the FBI does not ensure the accuracy of its fingerprint database. A more reliable method for screening a person’s past is to perform a background check through a Consumer Reporting Agency. These agencies can search numerous criminal data sources to find criminal records and other information about a person.


You will be asked to pay a fee when performing you need to perform a fingerprint background check. To submit your fingerprints, you must provide the name on your fingerprint card. Including the last four digits of your Social Security number is also a good idea.

Many places perform fingerprint background checks. The other option is to search the courthouse of the person you are interested in. However, you will have to pay a fee for this service.

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