Thank god that there are some best background check service through which the world seems to be becoming a smaller place. Well, I think we should thank these types of services more as compared to Facebook for it. These types of services are basically in-hand help to evaluate someone’s complete background details.
In this world, where people cannot even trust their family members, it is important to be safe rather than sorry. So, these are some very popular sites which serve as background check service.
Top 10 Best Background Check Service
I am listing them all out in this compilation given below. These are the most reliable services you can trust upon to conduct a detailed search on suspicious someone around you.
The first best background check service out here is Been Verified which operates for the residents of USA only. Been Verified is widely used for the purpose of carrying out a detailed and accurate search about someone’s background and to verify the objectionable and suspicious person.
Even the idea of getting started with Been Verified is quite simple, just fill in the basic information about someone and search for him/her. The result is received in form of a detailed report having different sections which help users to receive well-organized information about someone.
Through its website and mobile applications, Been Verified has been doing a fantastic job from the year 2007 in the field of public search and criminal background check. Over the year, Been Verified has fully tried to elaborate its functionality and remained successful in it too. You can get to know more about it through the features mentioned below.
Important Features of Been Verified
To understand how Been Verified works and how efficient it is, looking at its features is really important and vital. Some of its unique features are simple accessing and deep digging about an individual, reverse phone lookup service through mobile application. Other features are dashboard handling and customization, criminal records and arrest history.
I would strongly recommend everyone to go through this section before directly heading towards paying the subscription charges for this service. Here is the detailed pricing plan of Been Verified which makes it one of the best background check service.
- Trial Period
- 1 Months Membership Plan – Charges $26.89 with unlimited reports and additional exclusive features.
- 3 Months Membership Plan – Charges $17.48 per month with same features like the previous plan.
If you still want to get detail information about the Been Verified then you can check out Been Verified Review.
Spokeo also a background check service which is much larger than our imagination. It has reportedly more than 20 million of registered users on its platform till date. Spokeo acquires the information about people through different online and offline sources and then combine them together to present in form of a well-organized report.
The entire sources that Spokeo searches are totally legal and these are included in white pages, social media, and open public records. In fact, it can get you the minor details and pending cases about someone in just some fraction of seconds.
The different types of information which can be gathered through this best background check site are information about long lost friends, relatives, loved ones, information about someone’s income, phone number, address, credit status, religion etc. This is like a detailed study about someone’s background as well as current status.
Features of Spokeo
Spokeo is a really diverse platform and hence it offers some distinctive features which are hard to finds in other such sites. And finally, the basic features of Spokeo which comes with subscription charges are reverse phone lookup, deleting your information, reverse address and email search, public search directory etc.
Every best background check service is comprised of some subscription charges and Spokeo is nothing different in this aspect. Here is a detailed study about the pricing policies offered by Spokeo to its users which are mentioned below –
- Trial Period – comes differently with different subscription.
- Casual Users Plan – Charges $13.95 per month with detailed information about someone.
- Moderate Users Plan – Charges $7.95 per month with information less than the earlier plan.
- 6 Months Subscription Plan – Charges $4.95 with moderate amount of information.
You May Like: Spokeo Review
3. Instant Checkmate
So, the competition of best background check service has just started and the next one in it is Instant Checkmate. IC is quite like a detective which finds out even the minute details about someone with additional charges on it. With keeping the identity of user confidential, Instant Checkmate has the power of driving a lot of important court documents instantly.
Instant Checkmate is also available as an application but for Android users only. Such background search sites gather information about someone through the various legal source and then put them together on a single platform so that the user can access them easily.
Features of Instant Checkmate
There are some unique features of Instant Checkmate which helps it to make a difference amongst other best background check service. Some of these features of Instant Checkmate are reverse phone lookup, email report facility, criminal records and sex offender check, phone number and address finder, affordability etc.
Must check out: Instant Checkmate Review
This is the time to evaluate the different pricing schemes offered by Instant Checkmate so that a final decision can be made over the best and most economical plan amongst all. There is a great deal of versatility in that which is listed here in complete details.
- Trial Period – 5 days of trial period for the charges of $1 only to prevent unethical use of the site.
- 1 Month Subscription Plan – Charges $22.86 with all the usual features which comes under normal report.
- 3 Months Subscription Plan – Charges $14.86 per month with the same features as above.
- 6 Months Subscription Plan – Charges $9.86 per month with the same features as described in 1 month plan.
- Premium Report – Charges $19.99 per report for additional deep information about someone.
Peoplelooker is just like any other best background check service which is being mentioned in this list. Despite gaining less popularity, the site provides services like identity confirmation, criminal background search, and general information etc. about a person.
PeopleLooker is generally known as a People Search Engine as it optimizes the search results with the help of various filters and then comprises the report of the desired person with various types of information.
The idea behind PeopleLooker is to let people clear their doubts about someone without even revealing their identity and this turn out to be quite confidential. In this modern contemporary world, I think this is a great tool.
Features of PeopleLooker
Your money is precious so invest it in something which is worth of it. The progressive approach towards the features of this best background check service will give you elaborative description towards its insights and crystal clear uses of it.
Some of the features of PeopleLooker are reverse phone lookup, court runners, remove your information, completely confidential searches, social media links etc. With so many of great features, PeopleLooker really stands out from all the background search tools
As I have already mentioned several times that it is so important to get completely acknowledged with the pricing policies of a service rather than directly investing in it. So, in order to save some bucks of the users, I have listed down the entire pricing plan of PeopleLooker here.
- Trial Period – No, but you can buy 5 days access in $1.
- 1 Month Subscription Plan – Charges $28.42 along with all the normal and premium features.
- 3 Months Subscription Plan – Charges $19.89 per month along with all the features.
Not everyone can afford 4-figure background check services, that’s where AccurateNow may come to the rescue. It primarily is built for, and targets very small to medium businesses as its consumer-market.
It’s compliant to FCRA, State laws as well as local laws/requirements required before running a legal background check on a person.
Additionally, it’s mobile-friendly and can be used from cell phones as well. The agreements which require signs are sent over digitally and the entire process is buttery-smooth.
Features of AccurateNow
Accurate Now is pretty detailed with its reports. It can dig up details regarding Social Security Number trace, name variations, Address history, country criminal records etc. It also claims being able to pull reports from any U.S county and not just the “current county” provided for a background trace.
Other checks include checking the Sex offender’s registry, Global Watch (Terror-lists, People of Importance, people in political limelight etc). It also checks the 7-year criminal history of a potential candidate.
Although what separates it from most other best Background check services on this list is the fact that it offers most of its other checks as add-ons. Meaning they aren’t included in the initial report unless opted for, this keeps the cost low and provides users the choice of paying only for the data they will actually use.
The add-ons include License verification (professional and personal), employment verification, Vehicle reports, Federal reports, and educational history.
AccurateNow doesn’t have any monthly subscription plans, rather users can pay for each individual report. It has three plans, the offered checks in each vary depending on their prices:
- Basic+: USD $29.95/report.
- Standard: USD $59.95/report.
- Premium: USD $74.95/report.
Truthfinder is counted amongst the best background check service which was launched in March 2015 only. This is a platform which follows the concept of simple accessing approach and hence provides a handful of results for the search of the desired person.
Over the time Truthfinder got successful in launching its mobile application too for the android users. In this way, the accessing of feature reverse phone lookup becomes quite simpler than ever.
The main factor responsible for this boom in its fame is the simplicity that it offers in its accessing. Truthfinder is comprised of a huge database which involves some crucial and very hard to find information like bankruptcies details, educational information, traffic accidents, professional licenses, neighbors etc.
Features of Truthfinder
This is the time that you get acknowledged to the features and services offered by this amazing best background check service. Some of its features are criminal and arrest records database, reverse phone lookup, normal and premium reports, confidential searches, high-level security etc.
Check out: TruthFinder Review
Like the rest of the sites that works in the field of background search, Truthfinder also charges some amount to provide the complete information about someone in form of detailed report. The detailed pricing plans of Truthfinder are given below –
- Trial Period – 5 days trial period for $1 only.
- 1 Month Subscription Plan – Charges you $27.78 per month with complete information and features included.
- Power User Plan – charges $23.02 per month and valid for 2 months with the detailed report features.
- Reverse Phone Lookup – Charges $2 per reverse phone lookup.
USSearch is a popular and amongst the best background check service which is offered by the organization PeopleConnect. USSearch made its debut in 2000 and being so old in this field, helped it to gain a huge popularity and reliability.
USSearch is counted as the most influential name in the world of background search. It provides deep report with crucial and confidential information about someone like tax liens, sex offender checks, marital status, neighbors details, criminal records, social media links etc.
USSearch has always made sure that the details it is providing maintains the level of accuracy in it and hence it has varied sources which are quite authentic.
Features of USSearch
USSearch is comprised of some really amazing and eye-catching features. Being an old site did not stop it from being one of the most advanced and best online background check tool right now. Some of the features the site contains are reverse phone lookup, Omni search, criminal and background search report, dashboard, property records etc.
Read Detailed Review: USSearch Review
There are some great pricing plans offered by this best background check service which I personally liked a lot more than other sites. You would love to see their pricing policies which are way different than other ones in this list –
- Trial Period – Varies with different plans.
- Pay Per Search Plan – Charges $2.45 per search including the basic and minimal information about someone.
- Criminal Report Plan – Charges $14.99 per report including criminal and arrest history.
- Background Search Report Plan – Charges $39.95 per report with exclusive information.
- 1 Month Subscription/Omni Search Plan – Charges $19.95 with unlimited search options along with 2 days trial period.
The next one is Intelius which is also a venture of PeopleConnect organization which was launched in 2003. This is a privately held company which is quite popular and reliable in terms of carrying out a detailed and complete background search about someone.
Intelius gains some brownie points for being a much simpler site as compared to the other ones. The site is being updated on a daily basis and hence whenever you conduct a search about someone you get the updated information about them only.
Having the mobile applications made it even more accessible for the users especially for the reverse phone lookup scheme. Some exquisite information which can be received by Intelius are court judgements, lawsuits, criminal checks, personal information, social networks and email addresses etc.
Features of Intelius
Some of the features and services provided by Intelius are people search report, background check report, reverse phone lookup, Intelius premier, identity theft protection etc. All these features comes with a price and that too offered in form of different types of subscription packs.
Intelius follows the footsteps of USSearch background check service and hence offers quite similar pricing policies for its users. There is no doubt that it is one of the best background check service and hence the pricing is quite reasonable. You can check the details regarding it below –
- Trial Period – offers 7 days trial period for free of cost.
- Pay Per Search – Charges $3.95 per search with normal information.
- People Search Plus Report – Charges $9.95 per report with exclusive and detailed information.
- Background Search Report – $49.95 per report with additional information.
- Intelius Premier – Charges $19.95 per month and reduces the prices of other reports.
Spyfly might not be that popular as a tool for background check service but it is still competent enough to be included in the list of best background check service in this list. Spyfly started its campaign from the year 2012 and it is based in San Diego, California.
Spyfly is the perfect tool to confirm someone’s individuality and keep you and your surroundings safe from fake people. This is a highly confidential system which not only protects your identity but also keeps you information safe too.
Spyfly gathers all the important information through various sources and public records and thereafter compiles them together on a single platform. Some exclusive information which can be received through Spyfly are nationwide sex offender report, criminal history, background check, personal information, financial statistics, property records etc.
Features of Spyfly
Being one of the best background check website Spyfly offers various features. Some of them are so extraordinary that you would surely feel surprised to get such vast information about a single person. The features of Spyfly are getting premium information in free trial, unlimited reports, accuracy, simple user interface, emergency reports, email alerts, sex offender reports etc.
So much of information is provided by Spylfy then it is surely a fact that it is not going to be received free of cost. So, there are some of the pricing plans of Spyfly which should be known to you. These are listed right below here –
- Free Trial – Offers 7 days of trial period for the charges of $1 only.
- 7 Days Subscription Plan – Charges $2.99 for some really deep and additional information than free trial.
- 1 Month Subscription Plan – Charges $29.97 monthly with same information as earlier plan.
- Specific ID Protection – $1.96 per month for exquisite security for your identity safety.
Checkpeople is amongst the oldest and best background check service launched 20 years ago. This service is adequate enough to find out the deep and complete information about someone’s personal as well as professional background too by keeping the security measures running in parallel.
Checkpeople is mostly used for the criminal background and arrest history check as it contains a huge and accurate database in the same field. The other information which can be retrieved through it are pending cases, court judgements, sensitive criminal information, past cases etc.
CheckPeople is also quite excessively used for finding out about unknown callers with the help of its mobile applications. It has really excelled its services into different streams.
Features of CheckPeople
There are various features associated with CheckPeople. There is no doubt in the fact that they are paid ones and their pricing plans is discussed below too. Some of these features are criminal background search, unlimited searches, sex offender database, reverse phone lookup etc. Such best background check service are quite recommended for official checks.
Before you head to start using CheckPeople, you must get acknowledged to its detailed pricing plans. The detailed analysis of the pricing plans of CheckPeople is given below –
- Free Trial period plan – Offers 5 days of accessing for $1 only.
- 1 Month Subscription Plan – Charges $29.95 and provides single report about the desired person.
- Moderate User Plan – Charges $24.95 per month with general information about someone.
- 3 Months Subscription Plan – Charges $14.95 per month and the most recommended plan amongst all.
- 6 Months Subscription / Power User Plan – Charges $10.95 per month for frequent use of this service.
The last one in this list of best background check service is eVerify. This service was launched in October, 2010. Let me already explain that there is also a government site of the same name so do not get confused with that one and follow this site only to conduct a background search on someone.
As the name says it all, eVerify is the best way to verify about someone suspicious with the help of online mode and gather all the relevant information on a single page.
Features of eVerify
Before I move further, I would like to throw some light on the detailed list of features that comes handy with eVerify platform. These features also include the option of carrying out best criminal background check too. The other ones are asset information, deep web search, reverse phone lookup, court documents, personal information, marital status etc.
Now finally let us discuss the pricing plans associated with eVerify platform. The entire statistics regarding the same is given below and you can take a look at it to choose the desired plan –
- Free Trial Period Plan – It lasts for 5 days and charges $2.95 for it.
- Pay Per Report Plan – Charges $19.95 per report and also ensures premium information too.
All these information is really hard to find when you try to collect them through different sources. This makes it one of the best background check service of all time. However, the accuracy of this site is still under some questions.
12. ENanny Source
Hiring for your company, office, or local project; nothing compares to the need of getting a really trustworthy person as much as when compared to entrusting someone with your child! That is something eNanny Source specializes in; it exclusively provides background check services for Nannies.
The site also functions as a mediator and can help individuals find Nannies or help Nannies find people in need of Nannies. Users can use “Find a Job” or “Find a CareGiver” options on the site accordingly.
The site claims to be in business since 1994 which does make it one of the oldest websites in the industry. The delivery time of the reports doesn’t generally exceed a duration of 3 days.
Features of eNanny Source
eNanny Source is a completely FCRA compliant service; and its reports include the individual’s history for the past 7 years.
It helps users look into the individuals’ criminal background, Sex offenders’ records, court records, records associated with the individuals’ Driver’s license, and even the Alias database for the individual.
eNanny Source has 3 primary pricing plans,:
- Basic – USD $24.0: This despite being the cheapest plan searches the Sex offender’s records, runs a SSN Trace, and even a Criminal record check.
- Gold – USD $54.00: The second most-expensive package; it includes everything that the Basic plan does in addition to also checking the county courts records for the individual.
- Most Comprehensive – USD $94.00: This is the most expensive plan; it searches for everything that the site is capable of searching for, in addition to including everything in the Basic and Gold packages; it also offers additional county-court searches (even previous counties the individual has lived in), Alias database search, and Driving records.
In addition to all these plans, the company also has an à la carte package; it’s like an add-on which can be coupled with any of the packages above and can be used to search for more counties, Personality Assessment, Verification of Degrees or Reference checks.
I would however mention I didn’t spot any Credit Card checks and/or drug tests among some other tests I consider should’ve been included when it comes to Background checks.
13. Background Checks
The website claims to have access to over 1,000+ databases and being capable of getting background checks and history from all the 50 U.S States, in addition to Puerto Rico and Guam.
The layout seems somewhat more professional for the website, as for the Background reports they are graphical, consists of bars and graphs and seem easy to understand. Here’s a sample report from the company.
Features of Background Checks
It provides for one of the most comprehensive background checks I’ve seen so far, the report includes address history, criminal history, Driving history, County court history, Federal court history, Credit Report, Bankruptcy Report, Employment history, Reference verification, Educational qualification verification, Sex offender’s database search, Drug screening reports and even Terrorist Watch-list verification!
The company has 3 pricing plans:
- Basic – USD $29.95: Includes all the basic searches including Criminal search, Sex offender’s directory search, SSN Verification etc.
- Better – USD $49.95: Includes all the benefits of the basic plan; in addition to 1 county criminal search, 3 days delivery and a team of broader researchers.
- Premium – USD $64.95: More in-depth and wider searches.
14. Proforma Screening
Proforma Screening is a US-Based screening solution which provides a number of reports. Although its working-model slightly differs from the others.
It focuses on being “customizable” and complying to all regulations.
Features of Performa Screening
The company offers exactly 5 types of screening services, namely:
- Criminal Records
- Personal Records
- Reference and Verification.
- Drug & Health.
- and finally “Consulting”.
Criminal Record verification basically checks the court-records and other information available about an individual’s criminal past. This includes details such as from the State as well as Federal courts, Sex offender registry, and even Intl. crime records.
The “Personal Records” test on the other hand includes information which isn’t found in a criminal record. For e.g. Credit reports, media presence, driving records etc.
“Reference and Verification” screening basically helps employers verify the authenticity and legitimacy of the data presented by an applicant either on the résumé or elsewhere. This includes data from Immigration-registry, educational institutions, personal reference verification, license verification and so on.
“Drug Testing” screens the user for usage (or abuse) of drugs and other related habits.
This is what’s “Different” about this company as compared to the other Background checking services on this list. Performa Screening doesn’t have a static pricing-plan.
Rather, all the services can be ordered individually, and a quote needs to be requested for them. Also the Pricing isn’t displayed unless a company/individual/employer registers with Performa and specifies their needs.
GoodHire is another potential choice for background check for small business and non-profit organizations. GoodHire provides compatible packages and the pricing plans are designed to offer multiple checks, for the same amount of money.
Features of GoodHire
GoodHire provides FCRA complaint background check services. Its screening process is fast and integrates with lots of HR (Human Resources) platforms. It claims to make use of Data science, custom sources and compliance filters for the checks. What’s special is it adheres to all Federal, Local and State laws to obtain the reports, hence eliminating risks of future legal complications.
The details it can search for include Social Security number, Drug screening, Criminal Databases (Federal, State and International), Healthcare sanctions, Educational checks, Motor Vehicle checks, etc.
The obtained reports are pretty detailed and easy to understand, along with additional commentary.
Its pricing depends on the “number of checks” and the types of checks included. Not all of these plans include all the available checks on the platform (except the Premium plan). The lower volume packages (Upto 50 checks) are as follows:
- Basic: Costs $29.99. Turnaround time: 1 business day.
- Standard: Costs $54.99. Turnaround time: 1-3 business days.
- Premium: Costs $79.99. Turnaround time: 2-4 business days.
There also is a higher-volume plan, which isn’t available for direct orders and rather a custom quote needs to be requested for the same.
eKnowID is another name which warrants a mention in this list of best Background Check Services. It is a BBB accredited and FCRA compliant company.
Fortunately eKnowID too doesn’t have a subscription-based pricing model, rather it only charges for individual tests, depending on the exact tests you’ve ordered. No long-term commitment required.
Features of eKnowID
The company is capable of fetching a number of background information about a person, including:
- Social Security Number trace.
- Address History.
- Sex offender’s Database.
- Terrorist Watch lists.
- Court Check (7 year).
- School Verification
- even Employer Verification.
The platform isn’t only for recruiters and employers, it also can be used by individuals to get themselves verified and checked which data can then be used when hunting jobs.
The company offers three pricing plans, the number and types of test in each plan differs based on its price. The plans are as follows:
- Express Lite: USD $29.95: Includes SSN Trace + Address History +Criminal Database (National) + Sex Offender’s Database.
- The Standard: USD $54.95: Includes Express Lite benefits + Terrorist watch list and Country Court check (7years).
- Top Hire: USD $79.95: The Standard Benefits + School Verification + Employer Verification.
Custom background checks too can be ordered for Driving Records, Credit Reports, Reference verification etc. individually and cost much less. A Federal Criminal Courthouse search for e.g. costs only USD $18.00.
Intellicorp boasts 20+ years of experience in Background screening, and claims to have FCRA certified staff. Although what separates it from almost all the other best Background Check services is that while most others “can’t” be used for making Employment or Career-impacting decisions, Intellicorp is made exclusively for Bushiness and Organizations.
Features of Intellicorp
The company claims to offer the following results in its Background Screening results:
- Civil Court Records: Doesn’t just provide “existence” records, but also details such as names, case numbers, dates of filing, judgement etc.
- Credit Records: FICO credit scores, credit limit, balances, SIC/NAICS code of businesses etc.
- Criminal Records: Multi-State Criminal records, County Court records, Federal and Statewide Criminal search, also verifies a candidates former last names.
- Driving Records: Personal driving records, offences, CDL (Commercial Driver’s License) records etc.
- Detailed Drug-Screening: This includes Urine screening, Saliva Screening among other basic drug-tests.
- Personal Details: Personal details such as education, References, DOT verification, Social Security Number Verification etc. are included.
- Medical Verification: This tests the individuals’ status against OIG’s “excluded individuals list“, NPDB (National Practitioner’s Database) status, Medical fraud etc.
There are quite a few other tests which the company is capable of and provides results for .But I’m sure you’ve got the idea of its potential. Let’s glance at its pricing plans.
The packages are categorized into three plans based on the “usage” or “industry“- Pre Employment Volunteer, Healthcare, and Tenant. Each of these packages have three plans:
The exact tests in each packages’ each plan varies. Although the pricing isn’t displayed for any plan, and a user needs to Signup and and get in touch with the company for the exact pricing plans.
cFirstCorp has a slightly different working-structure and geographical coverage as compared to most other options on this list. For starters, even though it seems to focus primarily on the USA and Indian market, it sure is capable of, and offers International screening in over 200+ countries.
It has certification from ISO, ACBCB, IAF and QIC and many other similar bodies. Also is compliant to all the legal requirements keeping the checks above-board. Boasts checking experience of over 2Million+ records. It does offer a number of unique and uncommon tests as well.
Features of cFirstCorp
The company has categorized its checks under 4 individual categories, but here are the possible checks in a nutshell:
- Psychometric Testing: One of the few best background check services which offer Psychological tests for the subject.
- Educational History: Verifies authenticity of degrees/diplomas etc.
- Identity Check: Checks Licenses, Passports, Social Security Numbers, etc.
- Vehicle Checks: Check status of a vehicle, license number, driving records, violations, fines etc.
- Criminal Checks: Criminal checks are matched with Courts, Sex Offenders database, Federal criminal search, City records and even Terrorist watch lists.
- Financial Records: Checks Bankruptcy records, Credit History, Taxes, debts, various accounts.
- Social Media Search: Searches for suspicious or negative mentions/involvements of the user’s social media accounts.
- Sanctions Search: Checks the user’s employment restrictions (if any), and provides causes and verdicts on the cases as well.
- Drug Tests: Involves voluntary admission of the subject for a Drug test.
- Fingerprint Checks: In another unique check offered by cFirst, they offer Fingerprint tests and results compared against government databases.
In a nutshell as mentioned earlier, some of these tests are unique and exclusive to cFirstCorp.
The company doesn’t have a default pricing page. Rather, potential customers need to either Request a Callback, call on the provided numbers, or get in touch with them using the live-chat or contact form.
Checkr could very well be the most “advanced” as well as “practically useful” company so far on this list of Top 10 best Background Check Services. Let’s start with the fact that it’s one of the very few companies which actually offers its services to be used for “Hiring Employees”, among other things.
Then it has its own A.I which gets only the most relevant and accurate information. This also prevents unconscious foray into illegal grounds, only legally obtainable data is what the A.I gathers. It also has a “real-time” monitor, which monitors new charges or mentionable data about your subjects.
It also boasts a “Charge Classifier” which makes understanding the legal language faster as well as easier.
Features of Checkr
Checkr is capable of conducting the following checks:
- Social Security Number (SSN)
- Education and Employment Records.
- Drug Reports.
- Credit Checking.
- Driver Details
- and Criminal Records.
In a nutshell, there isn’t much left and the company does seem to offer everything else that we expect from one such company.
I really love the idea behind these best background check service. This is like hiring a reliable detective to check on someone’s true identity. These services are of course comes with paid features but every penny you pay is worth spending. But, in the world of competition, it is important to pick the best one.
Keeping that in mind, I have only mentioned the most reliable types of best background check service sites in the list above. I have made sure that whatever amount you spend, it must not be paid in vain