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What is a background check?

A background check is a screening solution for landlords and employers, informing them of key information that might affect a candidate’s ability to perform a role or a tenant’s ability to pay rent.

How do I carry out a background check?

If you’re an employer, the Experian Candidate Verifier gives you all the tools you need to effectively screen your candidates. If you’re a landlord, use the Experian Tenant Verifier to take the guesswork out of choosing tenants.

How long do background checks take?

The UK turnaround time varies depending on the type of background check being carried out. Adverse Financial Checks and Identity Checks can be carried out instantly. Media Checks, Sanctions File Checks, FCA Checks, and Directors Searches take around four hours. DVLA checks take eight hours. Personal References and Employment, Education, Professional and Technical Membership Referencing can take between 10-15 days to process. Basic Criminal Record Checks take between 14-21 days to process. Standard Criminal Record Checks can take up to four weeks, whilst enhanced Criminal Record Checks can take up to six weeks.

What are pre employment checks?

Pre employment checks allow organisations to verify a candidate’s claims and confirm their ability to carry out a role. The types of checks carried out will vary depending on the nature of the role. But pre employment checks can include an identity check, employment and educational history, professional and technical membership, sanctions, media profiles and adverse financial status. Some roles may also necessitate a criminal record check. Pre employment screening helps to protect organisations from application fraud, alongside the potential damages to reputation, integrity and profit that can arise from poor recruitment.

How do I get CRB checked?

An employer can ask for a CRB check (now known as a DBS check) for certain roles. If you need a DBS check for your role, your employer should provide you with all necessary forms and information. However, if you need to run a check on yourself, you can get a ‘basic disclosure’ with details of any unspent convictions by contacting Disclosure Scotland. Alternatively, we offer a service that provides you with a criminal record check, an electronic identity check and a financial check. To find out more, click here.

What is a reference check?

Reference checks are used to confirm the veracity of a candidate’s employment and educational history. They can also be used to fill any gaps in employment and to vouch for a candidate’s character and abilities. There are numerous types of reference checks. Education references are used to confirm a candidate’s attendance of their stated educational establishment, alongside any qualifications gained. Employment references are used to confirm a candidate’s employment history. Professional and technical membership references are used to confirm a candidate’s membership of official professional and technical bodies, alongside any positions and qualifications held. Finally, personal references, also known as character references, are provided by someone who knows the individual and who can vouch for their character and abilities. Experian will confirm with the referee how long they have known the individual, their relationship and whether they would doubt their honesty and integrity. 

FAQs related to 'Get my own report' and 'PAYG employee checks'

What is a criminal records check?

A Criminal Records Check (CRC) contains information about criminal convictions, and any other information considered to be relevant.

A background check will include a ‘Basic CRC Certificate’, which is supplied to us by Disclosure Scotland, who provides criminal records checks for the whole of the UK. A Basic CRC certificate will either provide information about outstanding convictions, or state that there are no convictions.

For some jobs, such as working in a school or in healthcare, employers are likely to need a specific background check - a ‘Standard’ or ‘Enhanced’ criminal record check. These specific checks are run by the Disclosure and Barring Service and can only be requested by the employer – individuals can’t do these checks on themselves.

To find out more, click here.

What is an identity check?

Our Identity Check (ID check) uses certain data sources; including the edited voters roll, to confirm that the person we’re checking is who they say they are. The identity check is usually the first step in a background check, and can assure employers that an individual has supplied the correct information and isn’t a fraudster or criminal trying to get a job using someone else’s identity.

What is an adverse financial check?

If the person we’re checking has paid all direct debits and other financial commitments on time, a clean and clear financial check will be returned. 

If they’ve missed payments in the past and have received County Court Judgements (CCJs), Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVAs) or been declared bankrupt, these would show on the report. 

We search public and private records for this information, and also carry out searches on the address/es that they’ve lived at previously. 

Knowing that someone has had a good financial history can help to give an employer peace of mind – especially if they’re applying for a role that involves cash or budgets.

What do I do if I think there is an error on my report?

If you have received your report and believe there could be an error, please raise it with us and we will double check it for you.

You can get in touch by phone, post or email. Please see the contact details to the right of this page. To help us find your report quickly, please provide us with the following information:

  • Your full name; including any middle names
  • Your date of birth
  • Your Experian Background Checking application ID number
  • What information is wrong, and what’s wrong with it

Experian will need to investigate the dispute before responding to you and this can take up to 5 working days.

Can I cancel my application?

After you have paid for your check, you have a period of 28 days to complete your application form. If you change your mind and no longer wish to apply for your check during this time, you may cancel your application at any point up until you finally submit your application form – it’s finally submitted when you click submit at the bottom of the form. Once you have submitted your application form you will no longer be entitled to cancel (and will not be entitled to a refund), as we will begin to provide the service on receipt of your form.

If you wish to cancel, you can get in touch by phone, post or email, using the contact information provided on the right of this page.  

To help you to write a cancellation email, we have put together an example so that you can see the sort of information we need to cancel your application:

I hereby give notice that I wish to cancel my contract of sale for the supply of the following service: background checking report

Name of consumer:

Address of consumer:

Reference number:

Signature of consumer (only if this form is notified in paper)


If you would like to cancel and have already paid for your checks prior to completing the application, then we will provide you with a full refund. Cancellations will be acknowledged promptly and refunds paid within 14 days.  We will pay refunds to the bank/credit account used to pay for the check.

If you do not complete your application within 28 days of payment, your application will be cancelled and no refund will be given.

Experian reserve the right to refuse an application, in which case we will refund any payment you have made.

What information do I need to provide for you to carry out my checks?

For Experian to complete your report, we will need certain details from you:

  • Full name (current and any previous names, including the dates you were known by these names)
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth (town and country)
  • Mother’s maiden name
  • National Insurance number
  • Five year address history (up to present day)
  • Email address

For your criminal records check we will also require copies of proof documents (1x proof of identity and 1x proof of residency). Click the button below for a list of the acceptable documents:



The documents can be supplied to us by email or post. Please be aware that your report can be delayed if you do not provide all the information above on your application.

Why do I need to provide ID documents when an ID check has been done?

Criminal Record checks in the UK are carried out by ‘Disclosure Scotland’, who ask anyone who applies for a check to provide ID Documents. This is for added security, to make sure that they’re definitely sending the information to the right person.

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