Match Group is bringing Tinder’s free background checks to two of the other dating apps it owns: Match (formerly Match.com) and Stir, a dating site for single parents (via CNBC). The system works similar to the way it does on Tinder: people can use it to see if whoever they’re talking to or planning to meet up with has a history of “violent and harmful behavior,” as the company’s press release puts it, though there is some nuance there that we’ll talk about in a bit.
When Match Group added this feature to Tinder earlier this year, there was a bit of a multi-step process to running one of the checks. The company says the process should be a bit easier on the Match service — if you’re talking to someone about meeting up, a box will pop up asking if you want to run a background check. Tapping on the link to do so will show you some extra information and safety tips, then hand you off to Garbo, the service that actually runs the background checks.
Once you’re there, you’ll have to enter info about the person you’re trying to run a check on, such as their first and last names, phone number, birthday, location, etc. Match won’t provide any of this information itself, according to a help document, so you’ll either have to know it already or get it from the person you’re trying to run a background check on. Obviously, that may be easier said than done without arousing suspicions.
The payment structure for the background checks is similar to Tinder’s — regular users will be able to run two background checks for free and will have to pay Garbo for subsequent ones. Premium subscribers will get four free background checks.
Many folks will already know this, but it’s worth repeating: while background checks can be a helpful tool, you shouldn’t just trust someone because an app gives them the all-clear. Match Group says that Garbo’s results are nuanced — they look at things like arrests, convictions, and sex offender registry data but won’t necessarily flag things that “have a disproportionate impact on marginalized groups,” such as convictions relating to drug possession or sex work — but there’s no guarantee they’ll catch everything.
It’s always best practice to let a few people know when you’re going to meet up with a stranger and give them some sort of time window when you expect to be home. And if the vibes are off, either take extra precautions or skip the meetup entirely.