Sterling Background Check Review

Sterling is a background check company specializing in criminal history checks, identity verifications, and drug and health screenings. Completing more than 95 million background checks annually, Sterling ensures that you can build a foundation of trust and safety among your employees in any industry with its overall accuracy.

Sterling offers a comprehensive background check solution for businesses of any size and promptly delivers the results you need.

Sterling logo

Sterling Compared

Although Sterling didn’t make it onto our top list, it still offers extensive background check features that cater to small and medium-sized businesses. With that said, the best background check company for most people is Intelius because it has the functionality for unlimited background checks without an excessive price point. Sign up today and start a five-day unlimited trial for just $1.99

Want to read more about the top best background check companies? We reviewed dozens of options and narrowed it down to the top five. If you want to scope out all of your options, see all of our top picks here.

  • Intelius — Best for unlimited background checks
  • GoodHire — Best for flexible pricing and intermittent use
  • B&B Reporting — Best for next-day background check results
  • Accurate — Most affordable background checks for small businesses
  • Verifirst — Best background check service for property management companies

About Sterling

Even though Sterling didn’t make it onto our top list, that doesn’t mean it’s a poor product. Sterling offers an extensive solution for general screenings that make it easier for you to hire faster and more efficiently. 

Sterling’s comprehensive suite of products includes general screenings, drug and health screenings, financial and business reports, identity verification, general workforce monitoring, and onboarding. 

Sterling Health and Stability

Sterling was founded in 1975 and is currently headquartered in New York as a publicly traded company. While there isn’t much available information on Sterling’s investors, it is public knowledge that Sterling has raised a total of $377.8 million as of 2022. 

Today, Sterling employs more than 5,000 people across the United States. With a 3.6-star rating on Glassdoor, many employees found that Sterling is an inclusive place to work, especially since 2020 when Sterling launched several programs and initiatives for women working in technology and support for LGBTQIA+ employees. 

Sterling Pricing

Sterling doesn’t currently disclose pricing on its website, but after extensive research, we found a few valuable sources that let us better understand how Sterling prices its products.

Sterling Pricing Structure

From the research we conducted, Sterling’s pricing packages are based on the extensiveness of the background check and are structured as a one-off payment. The one-off pricing structure ensures you won’t have to pay for a service you don’t need. 

Although Sterling doesn’t disclose pricing on its website, it still gives you the option to submit a form and request a quote for free. 

Sterling Pricing Comparison

After extensive research, we found that Sterling’s pricing supposedly starts at $9.95 per check for small business users who will only conduct less than 100 background checks per year. However, if you want a more comprehensive background check that includes criminal records and social security numbers, you will have to fork out $29.95 per check and $59.95 for federal reports. Unfortunately, that’s as much as we have gathered about Sterling’s pricing, so you will have to request a quote for more transparency. 

Based on the information we found, Sterling’s pricing for the most comprehensive service is similar to most background check companies on the market today. For example, GoodHire starts at $29.99 per check, which is close to Intelius, starting at $29.95 for a monthly membership. 

The only other background check company that offers cheaper services is Accurate, which starts at $9.95 for a simple motor vehicle report and license verification. 

Sterling Trials and Guarantees

Sterling doesn’t currently offer any free forever plans or free trials. However, Sterling guarantees that it will provide a fast service, as it generally completes 60% of its background checks within 15 minutes. 

Sterling Background Check Company Review

Compared to other background check companies, Sterling stands out for its comprehensive suite of products and flexible integrations that can further enhance the solution. You could benefit from Sterling if you are looking for optimized screenings and identity verifications for the most accurate background checks. 

Sterling can help small to mid-sized businesses in any industry hire with confidence and trust. To read more about Sterling’s competitors and how they stack up against each other, check out our top picks for background check companies

What Makes Sterling Background Check Company Great

Screenshot from Sterling "Learn More" webpage showing background checks and criminal searches statistics
Sterling provides comprehensive background check services no matter the industry.
  • Extensive criminal background checks: Sterling is one of the only background check companies on the market today that offers such extensive screenings and identity verifications. Sterling offers a wide range of checks, including a country-level criminal check, an OFAC terrorist watchlist check, and fraud and abuse checks to meet the needs of state and federal hiring regulations. 
  • Flexible integrations: Whether you need additional help simplifying your recruiting, tracking, and monitoring process, Sterling offers a decent range of flexible integrations that can improve your overall workflow. Sterling works with nine integration partners, including Workday, iCIMS, Oracle, SAP SuccessFactors, UKG, Greenhouse, Jobvite, Bullhorn, and Ceridian. Sterling has partnered with these brands to make it easier to create a more comprehensive workflow without the excess price point. 
  • Powerful criminal locator tools: Sterling has three criminal locator tools that help provide a more effective background check, including a social security number trace and criminal screenings through the Enhanced Nationwide Criminal Database (ENCD) and Locator Select. Sterling’s social security number trace identifies the candidate’s address history and reveals any aliases, nicknames, or maiden names. On the other hand, the ENCD and Locator Select query thousands of jurisdictions and search state, county, and corrections records. 
  • A comprehensive suite of services: Not only does Sterling provide extensive criminal checks, including county court searches, extended global sanction searches, and criminal activity monitoring—but it also has a comprehensive suite of services for general screenings, health screenings, and business reports. With Sterling, you can check civil court records, motor vehicle records, social media searches, health and vaccine testing, credit reports, executive investigations, and bankruptcies. 
  • Reporting and analytics functionality: Sterling gives you a 360-degree view of all your current programs and provides actionable insights to help you better manage, streamline, and optimize your processes. Sterling’s analytics hub is fast, accurate, and interactive and offers a self-service function, which allows users to download entire dashboards with corresponding data. Sterling’s reporting system is excellent because it allows users to organize, filter, and explore their data without the need to manually process it. 

Where Sterling Background Check Company Falls Short

Screenshot of Sterling criminal background check webpage with list of how you can achieve more with Sterling
Sterling offers criminal background checks powered by automation.
  • Concerning Better Business Bureau reviews: Unfortunately, while Sterling offers powerful background check features, we found some concerning user reviews on the Better Business Bureau website. In fact, Sterling has a 1.06-star rating, and with an average of 82 customer reviews, this doesn’t put Sterling in a good light. The bulk of the reviews involved employees initiating a background check and never receiving a report, meaning that some employees had missed job opportunities or their start date was pushed back because Sterling’s turnaround times were incredibly slow.
  • Unresponsive customer service: After looking through dozens of reviews on several review sites, the most common complaint involved Sterling’s customer service and how unresponsive and non-existent it was. One reviewer claimed that all the responses they received were from automated robots. Another reviewer said that Sterling’s customer service representatives wouldn’t believe that there was an issue until they sent proof, and most issues would go through multiple representatives, with each person telling a different story and not being able to resolve the issue at all. 
  • No free trial: Some background check companies can offer free trials or free versions with limited functionality for you to test out the service first. Unfortunately, Sterling doesn’t offer a free trial or free version, so you will need to buy the service at full price without knowing its suitability for your specific needs. 

Sterling Background Check Company Compared

While Sterling provides a powerful service with extensive background checks and flexible integrations, the best background check company is Intelius because of its unlimited background check functionality. 

  • Intelius — Best for unlimited background checks
  • GoodHire — Best for flexible pricing and intermittent use
  • B&B Reporting — Best for next-day background check results
  • Accurate — Most affordable background checks for small businesses
  • Verifirst — Best background check service for property management companies

Final Verdict

Sterling is a decent background check company that offers a comprehensive suite of services, from general screenings to global criminal checks. With flexible integrations and powerful criminal locator tools, Sterling can help you build a foundation of trust and safety in your workplace. 

With more than 40 years in the industry and with 5,000 people employed across the United States, Sterling is a reliable company that aims to provide accurate screenings and criminal checks for employers, which is why we would recommend Sterling to businesses of any size.  

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