About Instant Checkmate

By HighYa Staff

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

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Read 526 Instant Checkmate Customer Reviews and Complaints

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Average Consumer Rating: 3.5
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 267 4 star: 55 3 star: 24 2 star: 17 1 star:  163
Bottom Line: 63% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 526
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  • Editor’s Note: It is our understanding that this company has been asking its customers to leave feedback on HighYa. We assure you that each of these reviews has still been subjected to the same verification & vetting process that all submitted reviews go through. Learn More Here
  • 1 out 4 people found this review helpful

    Background search for a person with multiple arrests

    • Paducah, KY,
    • Feb 21, 2016
    • Verified Reviewer

    This is a major rip off, with poor records. I have a ex wife with multiple DUI arrests, with children in the car (which are child endangerment charges), and drug charges that go back 10 years, and guess what? None of these records were found by Instant Checkmate. I'm so happy they charged me almost $30, for nothing. Another thing that proves to me that it's a scam, is that the husband's name does not even come up as related. I will be filling a complaint.

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

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  • 0 out 1 people found this review helpful

    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

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  • works as promised

    • San Diego, CA,
    • May 30, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    Someone shady was calling my sister and leaving threatening messages. We suspected it was a guy she had a restraining order against. I was able to find out exactly who it was by using Instant Checkmate and the problem is now being dealt with appropriately.

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

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    • Jun 2, 2017

      Crystal K., Account Manager

      Hi Alex,

      Thank you for sharing your story. We are so happy to hear that Instant Checkmate was able to help you resolve this scary issue. If you ever have a question or need help with our website, our US-based member care team is standing by 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can reach us at 1-800-222-8985.

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  • 0 out 1 people found this review helpful

    I love Checkmate

    I think this is a great tool to use to check out people. And depending on your job, this tool can be used all the time. Good job. It's nice to be able to see other people's lies and deceit because in the world today you never know who you are dealing with, and that's very scary and intimidating to know there are people out there that you have no idea who they are on the inside. People can deceive you so much these days, and it's nice to know there is a great tool to do background checks on people.

    I love this site and would recommend it to everyone. But I wish it wasn't so expensive per person. It would be nice if it was a little bit cheaper, especially for the information you get because sometimes you don't always get the information that you need.

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

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  • 0 out 1 people found this review helpful

    I am a genealogist

    This has helped me so much in finding links to missing ancestors when there is nowhere else to turn. For instance, you can find a location that helps you find them especially if they have a common name. If the first address does work, they also give you a history of the residences, which may prove even more helpful. Finding the married name of a female relative is very often also possible using this source.

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

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  • 0 out 2 people found this review helpful

    If you online date, search Instant Checkmate!

    • Riverside, CA ,
    • Jun 2, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    I truly like this site; it helps anyone to pull up a background with just a phone number. Good for people that online date, before you go on that date, just search the number! Quick and easy! I will share this site with people that want background checks on anyone.

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

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    • Jun 2, 2017

      Crystal K., Account Manager

      Hi Charm,

      Thank you for the positive review and high rating! We couldn't agree with you more. If you ever have any questions or need help with our website, our US-based member care team is standing by 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can reach us at 1-800-222-8985.

      Sincerely,

      Member Services

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  • 1 out 3 people found this review helpful

    A very helpful resource!

    My name is Robert Raskin, and as a successful business owner in Las Vegas, finding the right people to add to my team is crucial. Instant Checkmate has been one of the most reliable methods of performing background checks that I have used. My only complaint about this service is that I didn't know about it sooner, because it could have spared me a few headaches!

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

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  • 0 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Detailed Specific

    • Atlanta, GA,
    • Jun 4, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    Instant Checkmate allows you to know an individual's public records without the hassle of a court house and major charges that correspond with that. It gives a detailed description of every crime committed including speeding tickets. Excellent source.

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

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  • 0 out 1 people found this review helpful

    I love using Instant Ckeckmate

    • Tupelo, MS,
    • Jun 4, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    I own a Repo company in Tupelo Mississippi. My Repo agents use Instant Checkmate to help find the vehicles. It is very useful, it gives current addresses and previous addresses. We have found several vehicles by using relatives addresses provided by Instant Checkmate. We have used other search sites and I believe that Instant Checkmate is the best.

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

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  • 0 out 2 people found this review helpful

    Instant Checkmate

    I've been using this service for a year and have been very pleased. I have found old friends and deceased friends and relatives. I check it every week and find it very interesting. Several times I've come back and discovered interesting things about people. Once I was hired to find a lost son. There was no contact for 20 years, and it only took a few minutes to find him.

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

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  • 0 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Very useful tool

    • St Catharines, Ontario, Canada,
    • Jun 6, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    Instant Checkmate is a great business tool. In today's business world I find there are too many people out there trying to con you, scam you and generally steal from you. Instant Checkmate helps me weed them out. I use it to help me identify my potential customers and find out basic information; where they are, address, etc.

    Instant Checkmate literally "instantly" get this information to you, helping me decide whether to pursue the inquiry or drop it.

    The website is clean and easy to navigate, allowing you the opportunity for more in-depth analysis of the name or phone number, I have not needed to use this yet.

    Instant Checkmate seems to take privacy and security seriously, as I do, and this gives me confidence in using the product.

    Another attribute is that it is not limited to one area, state or city; Instant Checkmate covers the entire United States (maybe you could get more for Canada?).

    All in all, I would not hesitate to recommend this service to other businesses, in fact, I have on several occasions! Gathering accurate information on the people you want to do business with has become very important to keep you one step ahead of the cons and scams.

    The one time I did not use the background information we get taken for $2,000.00! So we use it all the time now. Thank you.

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

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