About Instant Checkmate

Billing themselves as “the most popular background check website on the internet,” Instant Checkmate is a popular online data broker that claims to provide useful and detailed information on “just about anyone,” including personal information such as addresses and phone numbers, as well as professional licenses, arrest records, and more.

In order to accomplish this, Instant Checkmate claims to aggregate public records from multiple local, state, and federal databases, and to compile this information into a simple, easy-to-read report that contains more than 30 different data points. As such, Instant Checkmate claims to help you find what you’re looking for and to “help users learn the truth about the people in their lives.”

A screenshot of Instant Checkmate's Facebook AdA screenshot of Instant Checkmate's Facebook Ad

But is this really what you can expect from Instant Checkmate, and is the information contained in their reports worth your hard-earned money? We’ll answer all of your pressing questions in a moment in our review, but let’s first take a look at what you’ll pay to use Instant Checkmate.

Instant Checkmate Pricing & Refund Policy

For their services, Instant Checkmate charges the following:

  • 5-Day Trial Offer: $1
  • 1-Month Membership: $22.86 per month
  • 3-Month Membership: $14.86 per month ($44.58 total)
  • 6-Month Membership: $9.86 per month ($59.16 total)
  • Premium Reports: $19.99 each
  • PDF Fee: $1.99 (one-time fee only)

For each monthly membership plan, Instant Checkmate claims that you’ll be able to order an unlimited number of Standard reports, and will only need to pay for a Premium report (per individual) if you’re looking for additional information. We’ll come back around to this in a moment.

Important note: Other popular people search websites, such as SpyFly, BeenVerified, and Persopo offer prices that are equivalent to (or in some instances, lower than) Instant Checkmate. Because of this, be sure to check all your people search options before making a decision (HighYa is a great place to start!).

According to Instant Checkmate’s Terms, “Refunds are handled on a case-by-case basis with the ultimate goal of complete customer satisfaction.”

Instant Checkmate Phone Number, Contact Information & How to Cancel

With this said, in order to cancel your Instant Checkmate membership or to request a refund, you’ll need to contact customer service at 866-490-5980, email them at webcancellations@instantcheckmate.com, or submit an online form request.

Our Updated Instant Checkmate Review

Since writing our original Instant Checkmate review, around 200 HighYa readers have provided feedback about their experience with the company, with common consumer complaints that revolved primarily around the amount and accuracy of information contained in reports, in addition to the cost-to-value ratio of Instant Checkmate reports. In fact, these complaints are so prevalent that they’re precisely what we’ll focus on here.

In order to ensure the accuracy of our Instant Checkmate review, we recently spoke with a representative from the company, who gave us greater insight into their pricing model and what’s contained in their reports, which might help address some of your most common concerns.

Speaking of which, based on our research, here are the top online 2 customer complaints related to Instant Checkmate:

What Customers are saying about Instant Checkmate's Information

By far the most common complaint (here on HighYa as well as elsewhere online) related to information found in Instant Checkmate’s reports. And from this, there were two different parts: 1) the amount and 2) the accuracy.

The Amount of Information Contained in Instant Checkmate’s Reports

First, most Instant Checkmate customer complaints claimed that much of the information contained in their reports can often be found on Whitepages.com for free, or through a quick online search. However, keep in mind that not everything contained in an Instant Checkmate report can be found online (criminal records, as one example), for free or otherwise.

In other words, the company clearly states that they pull information from public records databases, meaning that much of this information is freely available to anyone with the time and motivation to gather it themselves. Instead, Instant Checkmate claims that the value they provide is quickly gathering this information and putting it into an easy-to-read report.

The Accuracy of Instant Checkmate’s Information

According to online customer reviews, the second part of this equation relates to the accuracy of the information contained in Instant Checkmate’s reports.

Taking a look at the company’s website, they state:

“We spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to keep the information we provide as accurate and up-to-date as possible, so you know you can trust our data.”

“Our Standard Reports use two separate data sources that we cross reference to ensure accuracy.”

Note: The Instant Checkmate representative we spoke with also confirmed that they crosscheck their information with other databases.

With this said, it’s important to note that there’s a fine line between crosschecking information with a second database, and verifying the accuracy of said information. Why? Because if both databases have incorrect information (an address, for example), this “crosscheck” is simply verifying that one database matches another—not that the information is necessarily accurate.

With this said, crosschecking databases is an industry-wide best practice, and Instant Checkmate appears to be following the standard. So if the information Instant Checkmate pulls from these databases isn’t correct, it would also be incorrect for any other people search companies who accessed the same databases.

What Customers are Saying About The Cost & Content

Next, there are numerous online consumer reviews that reference confusion about:

How Much You’ll Need to Pay

If you browse through the primary sections of the Instant Checkmate website, you’ll notice that you won’t be readily presented with any pricing information—other than learning that a Premium report costs $19.99—until you actually run a person’s name through the system. And considering that the Instant Checkmate website takes approximately 5 minutes to “load” (based on several test runs we completed) all the information about an individual (some online reviewers have claimed that this information should realistically be available in seconds), some might consider this a pretty big hassle.

Instant Checkmate also includes pricing information in their Terms of Use, which can be accessed from their website’s footer. Outside of sitting through the lengthy report ordering process, this means each visitor to the Instant Checkmate website will be required to expend a lot of extra effort looking for basic pricing information. And in our opinion, this may not provide the best user experience—but the information is technically there.

Even then, several customers have complained that it’s not made clear you’ll be up-charged (above and beyond the $20 monthly membership) for Premium reports, or that $1 trials automatically roll over to a monthly subscription, although we found this information to be fairly straightforward.

Important note: Keep in mind that although the verbiage on the Instant Checkmate website might lead you to believe otherwise, there is no guarantee that if you order a Premium report you’ll receive much more information, beyond what’s in the Standard report. However, regardless of what you do (or don’t) find, you’ll still be charged $20 (see next section for additional details). With this said, if the Premium report doesn’t end up containing much more information than a Standard report, it’s probably going to be very subjective as to whether or not you’ll find the additional $20 worthwhile.

When customers upgraded to a Premium report and felt they didn’t get their money’s worth, some claimed to have received a partial refund, while others claimed they weren’t successful at all, so it appears that Instant Checkmate’s customer service really does adhere to their “case-by-base” policy.

The Tangible Difference between Standard & Premium Reports

In other words, despite reading through the entire Instant Checkmate website, you might still be fuzzy about exactly what you’ll get for your money, as well when you’ll need to order a Premium report. And from our perspective, we can see where customers are coming from.

To provide additional insight, here is some information taken directly from Instant Checkmate’s registration page:

Instant Checkmate’s registration pageMany online consumers have stated that Instant Checkmate doesn’t clearly differentiate between what’s contained in the Standard (or “full”) and Premium reports. However, the above 2 examples taken from the company’s Registration page should help clear things up.

So here’s the skinny: Based on our conversation with the company, Instant Checkmate reports contain the following:

  • Standard Reports (also referenced as “full” in some areas of the website) – First and last name, date of birth, phone numbers, current and last known addresses, persons living at the same address, census data, satellite imagery of properties, possible relatives, spouses, and marriage/divorce records, arrest and conviction records, traffic records, DUI arrests, FAA licenses, DEA licenses, and/or nearby sex offenders. You can click here for a sample report.
  • Premium Reports – All of the above, in addition to civil judgments, corporate affiliations, watercraft owned, UCC filings, properties owned, voter registration, old phone numbers and/or email addresses, tax liens, Florida accidents, professional licenses, hunting/fishing/weapons permits, foreclosures, date a SSN was issued, aircraft owned, neighbors, and/or business associates.

Important note: As we mentioned above, keep in mind that just because you have the ability to order a Premium report for an individual (and pay the associated $19.99), this doesn’t mean that Instant Checkmate will turn up much more information than what’s contained in the Standard report.

During our call with an Instant Checkmate representative, we ran several different Standard and Premium reports on different individuals, and found that the information they contained was relatively similar. In addition, some of this information wasn’t completely correct, while other (presumably important) information, such as marriages certificates, was missing altogether.

Here are some of the details:

  • The Standard report showed property address and the title “homeowner” only, while the Premium added the loan amount and title company name.
  • The Premium report contained a list of people the individual lived with over the years, but did not contain a list of previous addresses.
  • The Premium report contained information about hunting and fishing licenses.
  • At the bottom of both the Standard and Premium reports Instant Checkmate listed social media information, but this was actually for someone else with the same name.

Based on the walk-through from the Instant Checkmate rep, as well as viewing the information each report contained firsthand, we can definitely draw our own conclusion (and opinion) about the value of Premium reports, and it’s this: From a consumer standpoint, we feel it’s a gamble as to whether or not you’re going to get you money’s worth when ordering a Premium Instant Checkmate report.

As we outlined above though, Instant Checkmate takes each refund request on a case-by-case basis, so if you decide to roll the dice and are dissatisfied, you can always call customer service and roll the dice again by asking for your money back.

Bottom Line: Is Instant Checkmate the Right People Search for You?

Based on the volume of traffic they receive, there’s no doubt that Instant Checkmate is a well-known name within the online background check and people search industries. As such, it stands to reason that their complaint volume might be higher than the competition. After all, the bigger the target, the more “hits” you’ll receive.

However, whether you’re reading them here on HighYa or elsewhere online, it seems that the vast majority of Instant Checkmate’s customer complaints repeatedly tell the same story, which we covered in this review.

And while we’re appreciative that the company took the time to walk us through their Standard and Premium reports—as well as to clarify what each includes—in addition to their easy-to-use interface, we can’t help but wonder why Instant Checkmate doesn’t display this much-needed information in easily accessible areas on their website, without requiring you to dig around or almost complete the ordering process beforehand.

Sure, the information is technically there and everything is disclosed, but based on our experience in using the Instant Checkmate site, you have to browse through the disclosures and disclaimers through the links located at the footer.

In our opinion, this might go a very long way toward further boosting their online customer reputation and entrenching their top ranking in the industry. Otherwise, it’s reasonable to believe that these misconceptions, which seem easy to clear up, could cause these same complaints to occur again and again.

So, where does this leave us? Ultimately, it comes down to your expectations. If you understand that a good chunk of the information found in Instant Checkmate’s reports can be found elsewhere for free with just a bit of time and effort, you might choose to perform the research on your own.

The good thing in our experience testing Instant Checkmate is that it really does do a good job compiling everything. If Instant Checkmate does not provide everything that you would expect in a report, it's ultimately due to the fact that certain information is simply not available in particular county offices associated with particular incidents of the individual. So whether it's Instant Checkmate or other similar services, some things are out of their reach.

It just so happens that certain information is sealed and not available for public display. In instances like this, services such as Instant Checkmate or other similar sites cannot retrieve it. Most likely, to our understanding, a court order/subpoena would be required to obtain such classified information. We can't blame Instant Checkmate for that. We certainly wouldn't want to say that the company intentionally and deceitfully did that. Although, each customer is entitled to their own opinion.

In addition, you save a substantial amount of time using Instant Checkmate to compile reports should there be a lot of information available versus having to perform a manual via Search Engine searches, contacting different services and courts, obtaining information from other third parties, etc.

Think of it this way: you have a grocery shopping list that contains chicken, milk, vegetables and some fruit. Imagine you having to go to four different markets all 5 miles apart from each other for each of the food groups. Pretty time consuming, right? Now, for an additional convenience fee, wouldn't it be easier to just go to one nice big supermarket that contains everything you need? Get the picture? That's how we perceive Instant Checkmate.

In conclusion, if you understand that 1) the information you uncover through Instant Checkmate might be limited and/or incorrect, and as a result, 2) you may end up feeling that you didn’t get your money’s worth (especially if you’re looking for more information than was provided in the Standard report), then the time and effort they can potentially save you might be worthwhile.

Ultimately we think Instant Checkmate is a decent tool for the money, just as long as the consumer is educated in how these people searches work in general based on public information availability as that would create realistic expectations. Due to the brilliant design and marketing of Instant Checkmate however, we can certainly understand why certain consumers get a bit frustrated.

Now Read: A Guide to Finding the Online Public Records You Need Without Paying a Dime

Want to Learn Expert Tips for Online Safety?

Join over 3 million HighYa readers who receive weekly how-to guides, tips & reviews and get a FREE COPY of our Complete Online Safety e-book. Enter your email below to get started!

136 Customer Reviews for Instant Checkmate

Average Customer Rating: 1.1
Rating Snapshot:
5 stars: 2 4 stars: 0 3 stars: 0 2 stars: 5 1 stars: 129
Bottom Line: 2% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 136
Sort reviews by:

  • Great product

    I used Instant Checkmate to gather addresses for an extended family reunion that we are hosting in June. It was incredibly helpful to have everything in one place, and I was amazed at the results and how much information was available. I plan to continue my membership because I think it will be very useful when I start to send out Christmas cards and also throughout the year when I need to send out birthday presents. The uses are endless!

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

    Help others find the most helpful reviews

    Was this review helpful?

    yes no
    Comments (0)
    View all 0 commentsHide comments

    Do you have an account? Log In before commenting.

    (If you don’t have an account – don’t worry, you can create it after)


  • Complete rip-off!

    I signed on because I needed some basic info on one person. During the process, they kept asking if I wanted an extended (Premium) search for another $19.99. What I didn't realize at the time was that there is virtually no relevant new information in the bogus $19.99 charges. Also at some point, they ask a question about a Premium membership. They weren't clear on what that meant, and I certainly don't need a multi-month membership, I was just trying to look up ONE address for ONE person, for God's sake.

    Anyway, maybe I was just an idiot for continuing to click on whatever ambiguous "extra" that popped up. My total bill (which is touted as $2.99 in the ads on the front page) ended up being $126.44! And all of that to get one address.

    This company may get you some information that they mine from other more legitimate sites, but, under deceptive practices, they will run incredible charges up for that ONE ADDRESS.

    P.S. I disputed the account with PayPal, so they immediately locked up my account, so I could not even get in to figure out how those charges got run up. And they told me if I wanted to re-register with another email address, that I would have to pay all the fees AGAIN. Add to that the rude and robotic "customer service" person and you have a "top scam of the year award" candidate.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

    Help others find the most helpful reviews

    Was this review helpful?

    yes no
    Comments (0)
    View all 0 commentsHide comments

    Do you have an account? Log In before commenting.

    (If you don’t have an account – don’t worry, you can create it after)


  • 5 out 5 people found this review helpful

    Rip off

    I tried the basic thing, then to "get more info" I did the $19.99 option. The info was basic stuff, except it gave a list of EVERY person in her apartment complex, as if I need that, including every person that owned her house.

    I called and complained that very night and they said they would credit me. I just got my bill for $19.99, $34.78, $2.99, $4.99, and with those charges all on 3/31/17 was another charge for pememberclub.com for $105.90. I looked that up online and it is called "Popularize Me" and have no idea what it is. It says their support specialists are standing by to make my inquiry satisfying and to resolve any issue and they are happy to support me if I have any disputes on my credit card statement, etc.

    This is a big giant scam and the only thing I charged on my VISA that day was Instant Checkmate. So I have over $150.00 charges! Now I have to fight with them come Monday. I'm reporting them to BBB.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

    Help others find the most helpful reviews

    Was this review helpful?

    yes no
    Comments (0)
    View all 0 commentsHide comments

    Do you have an account? Log In before commenting.

    (If you don’t have an account – don’t worry, you can create it after)


  • 9 out 12 people found this review helpful

    Very deceptive marketing with NO apparent concern for customer

    • New York,
    • Feb 24, 2017

    A real rip-off.

    The only way to access any services (even just a one-time usage) from Instant Checkmate is to sign up for automatic membership renewal, to the tune of $27 a month.

    Well, I used the service one time, with unsatisfactory results (spent an hour poking through slow, largely unproductive menus) and then found out a year later that I had been paying for a service I was not using to the tune of $351!

    I called Accounting and asked for my money back. To their partial credit, they gave me a partial refund but were cold to my pleas for justice.

    To me, it amounts to marketing manipulation. If Instant Checkmate was really concerned about providing satisfactory service, they would offer levels of involvement, like CarFax; i.e. a one-time charge, a one-week subscription rate, a one-month subscription rate, etc. Instead, they capitalize on the (usually) urgent nature of the customer's inquiry and provide access only under terms of setting up a recurring membership, which, without customer diligence and billing scrutiny, turns into a $351 mistake.

    They admitted that mine was not an uncommon situation, but still refuse to amend their sign-on terms to avoid this kind of thing from happening. My only conclusion is that Instant Checkmate does not care; they know this is a real problem but refuse to make things right for the consumer. In short, I think they know what they are doing is ultimately unfair.

    I will NEVER, ever use Instant Checkmate again. And I emphatically recommend that one one ever signs up for their services. They know that they are ripping people off and they do not care.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

    Help others find the most helpful reviews

    Was this review helpful?

    yes no
    Comments (0)
    View all 0 commentsHide comments

    Do you have an account? Log In before commenting.

    (If you don’t have an account – don’t worry, you can create it after)


  • 16 out 16 people found this review helpful

    Garbage

    • BUMBLEFUCK ,
    • Feb 13, 2017

    This is another dumb site. "Oh, it's free, almost there, just a little more info, your email, first name, please you're so close..."

    Oh, it's free to start your search, not get your search. Everybody I know has a fake email account. Nobody trusts any sites like these anymore. They're spam boats waiting to waste your time and spam you. So dumb.

    I would rate this less if possible. It lies from the get go, and I would not trust the information. Once you pay, it can tell you anything. All they want is your money. These sites have got have to realize that there is no business in trying to take advantage of people. There is zero trust on the internet because of garbage like this site.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

    Help others find the most helpful reviews

    Was this review helpful?

    yes no
    Comments (0)
    View all 0 commentsHide comments

    Do you have an account? Log In before commenting.

    (If you don’t have an account – don’t worry, you can create it after)


  • 12 out 12 people found this review helpful

    Don't waste your money!

    First of all, the price quoted on this site is no longer correct. InstantCheckmate.com now charges $34.95 for access to all of their outdated, incorrect information.

    We signed up following a death in the family, trying to locate a rightful heir. We did so, as they were the only place claiming to have any information on said gentleman. We subscribed only to find four disconnected phone numbers listed for this 72-year-old individual. He has resided at the same address for decades. Only God himself knows how old these numbers are.

    All the names of relatives listed are incorrect. In one instance, the party's deceased mother, a Rosella G was listed as "Rose Marie". We proceded to verify the accuracy of information on several other individuals, only to consistently discover the same outdated, incorrect or inaccurate information.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

    Help others find the most helpful reviews

    Was this review helpful?

    yes no
    Comments (0)
    View all 0 commentsHide comments

    Do you have an account? Log In before commenting.

    (If you don’t have an account – don’t worry, you can create it after)


  • 16 out 17 people found this review helpful

    Ripoff, scam, crooks.

    I was planning to obtain the aggregated data from public records and was willing to pay Instant Checkmate's advertised price.

    When I started the process, the price increased, so I navigated away from their page. Their "sticky banner" popped up offering me a $1 trial for five days for unlimited reports. That was okay, so I clicked it and filled out the form. I ran one report that held a lot of bad information (for someone else with the same name). Another banner said that to get accurate and deeper result (I'm paraphrasing because I don't remember the exact wording), to click here. In all, I wound up with two bogus reports, 80% of which was for the wrong people, and then they tried to charge me over $50.00.

    When my credit card company sent me a message regarding fraud, I asserted that I did not authorize $19.99 and then $29.99 and another $2.99, and they pended the charges. I called Instant Checkmate, and a rude lady told me to let her speak! I did, and she explained she would refund all 2/3 of the charges, and that I was mistaken in thinking I signed up for the $1 for a 5-day trial. She interrupted me whenever I tried to talk, but I finally told her she was wrong. I signed up for $1.00, and that's all I would pay. She kept telling me I was confused, and since they had to pay the state for the records (which was another false statement), they couldn't refund the last $15 or $20 (whatever that amount was). I called her out on it because they don't have to pay for public information. After telling me I was confused and that I never signed up for the $1 trial, I explained I had retired from a law enforcement agency, and knew she was lying.

    After researching this site, BBB, and other boards, it turns out that many, many people go through what I did almost verbatim. Their website keeps changing the dynamic, and you end up getting charged exorbitant amounts for nothing. The information they aggregate (for free) is terrible, and they try to keep a portion of your money when you catch on, giving you some back to calm your anger.

    I've been a programmer for almost 30 years, and will return to the PC I ran this on to capture their pages, meaning I can prove that they manipulate their website through simple forensics. This info will go to friends at the FTC and to the BBB.

    Avoid this company unless you want garbage at a premium price.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

    Help others find the most helpful reviews

    Was this review helpful?

    yes no
    Comments (0)
    View all 0 commentsHide comments

    Do you have an account? Log In before commenting.

    (If you don’t have an account – don’t worry, you can create it after)


  • 14 out 14 people found this review helpful

    I was unsatisfied

    Do not waste your money on this service. They do not provide anything that you can't find yourself with a little research.

    The report you get (for $35.00) is just basic info and then you get a pop-up saying you can get more for an additional fee. I'm pretty unhappy.

    I canceled mine immediately!

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

    Help others find the most helpful reviews

    Was this review helpful?

    yes no
    Comments (0)
    View all 0 commentsHide comments

    Do you have an account? Log In before commenting.

    (If you don’t have an account – don’t worry, you can create it after)


  • 11 out 11 people found this review helpful

    Not Accurate

    I was very disappointed when I did a background check on myself using Instant Checkmate. When you pay $35 for a service, you would think the information would be somewhat up-to-date. The information I viewed has not been updated in at least five years.

    The information did not show any of my social media accounts, and my birthdate was incorrect. I feel like I paid $35 for them to show me the email address I used for the account itself.

    When I gave them a call, their customer service informed me that I did check a box stating that not all information would be accurate. My advice is, do not waste your money here. The only reason Instant Checkmate received one star from me is because you cannot leave them with zero.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

    Help others find the most helpful reviews

    Was this review helpful?

    yes no
    Comments (0)
    View all 0 commentsHide comments

    Do you have an account? Log In before commenting.

    (If you don’t have an account – don’t worry, you can create it after)


  • 14 out 15 people found this review helpful

    Worst lookup ever

    I know more information than this site was able to provide. Tried to look up criminal history and I know for a fact there was some criminal history that exists and is highly public! Don't use this site. I signed up for premium too so I just spent $55 to get screwed and told that the information wasn't public enough to see. Terrible site and this is coming from a guy who never reviews.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

    Help others find the most helpful reviews

    Was this review helpful?

    yes no
    Comments (0)
    View all 0 commentsHide comments

    Do you have an account? Log In before commenting.

    (If you don’t have an account – don’t worry, you can create it after)


  • 28 out 29 people found this review helpful

    They sell your email

    So Google put their website as the first result when I searched for a place I can check my driving record. Put my name in, selected where I live, gave them my DISPOSABLE EMAIL.

    Then there're endless progress bars. They are so fake.

    If you need that much time to get information from various sources and compile them for real, dude you should fire your programmer; I can code better and I'm not even a programmer.

    And then after about eternity, they said they've done it and I should pay them. Nope, you are so bad and I can smell it from over the internet.

    But then the spam folder of my email EXPLODED. Checked the headers of them. Yep, all of the spams use the DISPOSABLE EMAIL I told them.

    Sure they sell customer emails on the side for some extra cash. Thank goodness I dodged a bullet.

    If you love your life, stay clear of this horrible website.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

    Help others find the most helpful reviews

    Was this review helpful?

    yes no
    Comments (0)
    View all 0 commentsHide comments

    Do you have an account? Log In before commenting.

    (If you don’t have an account – don’t worry, you can create it after)


Showing 1-11 of 136

Write a Review for Instant Checkmate!

Share your experience to help others avoid scams & discover great products!

Write a Review