What is the Difference Between a Background Check and a Fingerprint Check?


Written By: Ehsan Jahandarpour

Understanding the difference between online Background Checks and Fingerprint Checks is essential when it comes to criminal records, because fingerprinting may be the most comprehensive method, yet the information collected by the FBI does not always reflect the complete story.

States and local jurisdictions often fail to report dispositions and arrest records to the FBI, leading to large gaps in the FBI database. Fingerprint checks are often more accurate than background checks, which rely on the name of the person and the address of his or her last known address.

What is a fingerprint background check?

Fingerprint background check compares an applicant’s information with the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS) database of people fingerprinted in connection with criminal activity

The FBI’s records of criminal convictions and dispositions are incomplete and often inaccurate, which makes them insufficient for background checks. Additionally, the FBI’s records are not updated as often as those of the Consumer Reporting Agency.

Furthermore, one essential difference between online Background Checks and Fingerprint Checks is that these records are not subject to consumer protection laws, which can make them inaccurate and subject to litigation risk.

Despite the problems associated with current FBI records, fingerprint background checks are still an important screening tool in many industries, as they provide valuable information on the driving history of prospective employees.

The FBI obtains biometric information from various sources, including the individual’s name, date of birth, and place of birth. The agency also collects minimal descriptive information, such as scars, tattoos, and other physical characteristics. Another poirnt of difference between online Background Checks and Fingerprint Checks is that Fingerprints are collected from individuals who are arrested for suspected criminal activity and military detainees. This information helps law enforcement agencies determine whether to hire or fire a potential employee based on their criminal past.

In addition to submitting fingerprints, the FBI also maintains a database of fingerprints from those who have served in the United States. The IAFIS database contains fingerprints of approximately 162 million individuals, including those who have served in the military. Because of its wide-ranging use, the FBI is able to match a potential applicant’s fingerprints with the IAFIS database of people fingerprinted in connection with criminal activity.

Background Check vs Fingerprint Check

What is a name-based background check?

Name-based background check companies compare applicant’s information with personal identifiers with prior criminal records

A name-based background check compares the applicant’s information with previous criminal records and allows the company to conduct a broader search. Because it is based on an applicant’s name, the company can search local and national sources and point to records in specific jurisdictions. This method of background check can yield results within days and is faster than fingerprinting.

Unlike fingerprints, a name-based background check enables employers to make more better hiring decisions. Name-based background checks provide detailed reports on applicants’ felony and misdemeanor convictions, dispositions, case numbers, sentences, and classifications. Name-based background checks also uncover an applicant’s educational history and social media footprint. Additionally, these reports are EEOC-compliant and can reveal a range of personal information that fingerprints cannot.

What is the difference between a background check and a fingerprint check

A Name-based background check compares an applicant’s information with personal identifier with prior criminal records. Applicants can challenge a match that is not based on their own personal information. The applicant’s fingerprints are used as the primary identifier, and the name they provide during fingerprint submission is their Master Name. A name-based background check also includes fraudulent data. Some criminal offenders use false dates of birth and aliases to hide their identities.

Difference between online Background Checks and Fingerprint Checks

Live scan fingerprinting allows for a faster, more accurate screening process. A live scan is a form of biometric identification that captures a person’s fingerprint in real time and converts it into digitized data. Live scan fingerprinting systems have come a long way from standalone capture devices. Today, these machines interface with an Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS). Live scan fingerprinting has many advantages, including speed and accuracy.

Live scan vs traditional fingerprinting

Before live-scan fingerprinting, an applicant must fill out a special request form. The form must be completed for the specific agency you are requesting the report from. The operator will then send the form to the appropriate agency. It is important to choose the right form depending on whether you’re requesting a criminal history record or a rap sheet. If you’re requesting a criminal background check for someone in California, be sure to check with the agency that generated the request.

A live-scan fingerprinting process improves the chances of getting a background check. Traditional fingerprinting requires fingerprint impressions that may be contaminated, unusable, or simply not presentable. Fortunately, live-scan fingerprinting reduces this risk and dramatically reduces the time it takes to complete a background check. But live-scan fingerprinting has some drawbacks. First of all, it’s messy, and there are high chances of errors. Second, it’s not as accurate as traditional fingerprinting, and live-scan fingerprinting processes aren’t as quick or convenient as traditional methods.

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