About Instant Checkmate

By HighYa Research Team
Updated on: Jun 9, 2019

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.”

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 and 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 Experience and Review of Instant Checkmate

Since writing our original Instant Checkmate review, around 527 HighYa readers have provided feedback about their experience with the company giving it an overall rating of 3.5 stars.

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

Common compliments included the ease of use and useful information.

However, some common consumer complaints revolved primarily around the amount and accuracy of the 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, as well as how these data aggregators work in general, 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 and 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 and 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.

Removing Your Personal Information from Instant Checkmate

The company's website is rather transparent on the steps needed to take in order to remove your personal information from the website. To do so, you'll need to search for yourself using your name on the website.

Once the results associated with your name are displayed, you will have the option to remove each record. That will be followed by a confirmation email sent your inbox which you'll have to agree to in order to finalize the removal initiation process.

The process of removing your personal data may take up to 48 hours after submission, according to the website.

It's important to note, however, that removing your data from Instant Checkmate simply removes it from their database but not from the general public database as they (and other third-party background check tools) collect from local, state, federal, and independent sources

In other words, your information will still be accessible by other third-party background checkers and aggregators. In that case, you will need to learn of each other company's unique process (if possible) on how to remove your information.

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 have 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 that these people search websites work 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.

Lastly, we think it's positive that the company allows for you to opt-out of their database so that your personal information isn't accessible by others searching for you on Instant Checkmate.

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


Read 534 Instant Checkmate Customer Reviews and Complaints

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Average Consumer Rating: 3.4
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 268 4 star: 55 3 star: 24 2 star: 19 1 star:  168
Bottom Line: 62% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 534
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  • This company is actively collecting reviews from its customers. All reviews submitted are subject to moderation and approval to ensure they meet our Review Guidelines.
  • 19 out 19 people found this review helpful

    Faulty, inaccurate details

    • Lincoln, Neb.,
    • Feb 26, 2015
    • Verified Reviewer

    Yet another email that floods spam folders, trying to scare you into a subscription. The name alone sounds generic and they nickel and dime you for EVERYTHING. Info is outdated, recycled, or faulty and Instant Checkmate does all it can to bill as much money off customers as possible with inferior services. If it pops up in the spam folder, it's a good bet it rhymes with spam. Don't be suckered into a subscription thinking you'll find up-to-date info, everything I ever found on there (if anything at all), was ancient history. Instant Checkmate is a shady, crooked business.

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

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  • 13 out 13 people found this review helpful

    This company is a rip-off and rude to boot.

    I would give a minus zero rating, if that existed. 

    First of all they had information for my mother as if she were still living. She died in 1991.

    Second, I got the $1.00 trial plus $1.99 for a .pdf, which is bunk. When I tried to use my trial, I didn't find further information, only pop-ups trying to force me to upgrade constantly.

    Third, I found a $29.63 charge on my credit card for a month membership.

    I explained to the human robot I got on the phone that I had a medical emergency and had been hospitalized during the five day period. He couldn't seem to grasp how this might keep me from calling to cancel and just keep repeating his speel like a recording.

    I asked to speak to a manager or supervisor and was told, after being put on hold, that none was available. I told him that was bunk.

    In addition, the company did not send me any sort of a receipt via email to indicate my purchases or charges to my credit card. That is a big red flag.

    After threatening the company with contacting Master charge and the VA Attorney General, he finally agreed to remove the charges except for the $1.00 trial fee.

    We shall see. If I don't get an email and have the charges removed by early next week, I will contact the above.

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

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  • 9 out 9 people found this review helpful

    Con people

    Do not use this site. To check if I'm going to have real information, I did research on a person I know. And got mix of real and fake information about this person. Never got my money back.

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

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  • 14 out 15 people found this review helpful

    Consumer

    • California,
    • Feb 28, 2015
    • Verified Reviewer

    This is a total scam. They suck you in telling you they have juicy details about the person you're searching. Then they tell you it will be $22+ to access the juicy details. What they give you is absolutely nothing. Then they tell you they have the really juicy stuff (criminal records, etc.), but you have to upgrade to the premium service for an additional $20.

    I think it's a bait and switch. Do not fall for it. It's worthless. I wasn't willing to waste another $20 to find out if they really had any criminal records. They'd probably want another $20.

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

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  • 12 out 12 people found this review helpful

    Don't Waste Your Money

    • Greensboro, NC,
    • Mar 15, 2015
    • Verified Reviewer

    The information provided for a basic one month membership of almost $23.00 was simple public record info such as a list of aliases and address histories. Anything more beyond that you had to upgrade and pay more money for. I was continuously lead through several pages that lead me to believe I would get criminal background info. In the end, I felt like I wish I had made a donation to a worthy cause and not to line the pockets of a company that is dishonest and misleading.

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

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  • 13 out 13 people found this review helpful

    Bait and Switch SCAM? Possibly

    I paid 22.86 plus 1.99 for PDF for 1 month of (BAIT) "UNLIMITED" Reports. To determine accuracy of site my first requested report was on myself. I received name, address and phone number, less than a Google search. More reports were offered (SWITCH), but each and every other report would require an additional 19.99 per Report. I was informed by PayPal that although I had signed up for one month, recurring charges had been setup. I never leave negative reviews unless to WARN others.

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

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  • 15 out 15 people found this review helpful

    Beware of any site offering you "unlimited" everything for a low fee

    Instant Checkmate is yet another of the many online companies who offer, for a fee, the ability to search databases for personal information.

    Some of the databases are free and could be found with a bit of searching. Many are not; they're professional databases that companies who routinely conduct background checks (i.e. banks) subscribe to and/or other companies and individuals (i.e. Human Resources at a company, the landlord) may either subscribe to or pay a per-use fee (which is why there's a background check fee some places when applying to rent an apartment).

    When a reputable site like Intelius charges you $40 for a complete background check, they do so because it's costing them money, too. Professional databases aren't cheap; they require a subscription and/or per-use fee. Intelius may be paying $20 or so (pro-rated) for that report.

    For that reason alone, any site that tells you that you can have unlimited data on anybody, "unlimited" meaning criminal, marriage/divorce, etc., for $20 per month is full of baloney. To get a comprehensive background report, you're going to have to pay additional money. Instant Checkmate is somewhat deceptive in what it offers for the monthly fee.

    Once you pay that money, you won't always get the correct information or complete information. Some sites cut corners by subscribing to somewhat-outdated databases. Instant Checkmate appears to be one of those sites.

    For these and other reasons, I don't recommend Instant Checkmate. If you must have a thorough background check and need to do so online, go with a reputable site such as Intelius, but expect to pay $40 or more for the information.

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

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  • 16 out 16 people found this review helpful

    Instant Checkmate is Garbage

    • Washington, D.C.,
    • Mar 17, 2015
    • Verified Reviewer

    The information contained in Instant Checkmate is minimal and often non-existent. What a waste of time.

    I signed up for a one month subscription, but they continued to charge my credit card after the month was over. The guy at customer service said that the Terms of Agreement explained everything. They immediately canceled my subscription at my request on the phone, no problem there, but this is whole deal is garbage. Don't spend your money on them.

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

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  • 17 out 17 people found this review helpful

    Instant Checkmate is a rip off.

    • Sacramento, WA,
    • Jul 17, 2015
    • Verified Reviewer

    I ordered and reviewed information on an old friend of mine. Instant checkmate is a horrible service. Never use it. The information is inaccurate and contains no marriage or divorce certificates nor criminal records. The only accurate thing was a location from years ago. They have all kinds of hidden fees for basic PDFs and charge $20 for a premium report even after gouging you for the service and PDF download. They don't make it clear how to cancel the service after trial membership. They charge you for the month to month membership as soon as the trial is up and refuse to issue a full refund even just being four hours passed the trial expiration. They're a bunch of crooks in my opinion.

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

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  • 15 out 16 people found this review helpful

    Don't waste your money

    • Chicago,
    • Mar 28, 2015
    • Verified Reviewer

    All the information provided is generic and at best a guess, but really nothing that is worth paying money for.

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

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  • 10 out 10 people found this review helpful

    Total scam.

    • New Jersey,
    • Jul 18, 2015
    • Verified Reviewer

    I chose this site because the hype on the website led me to believe this would provide criminal and arrest records of my father who passed some 14 years ago. I know he in fact was arrested several times in my childhood, but was never sure of any of the particulars.

    After recently reconnecting with a still surviving sibling (his sister), I was prompted to do some research on my own. After paying for a monthly subscription of 22 plus dollars, I was asked for an additional $19.95 for a premium upgrade and then another $1.95 for a PDF format. Well, here's what info was revealed: No arrests records of any kind were found, no marriage licenses were found (my parents were married in Brooklyn in a catholic church and were married quite legally for 55 years, and there is no relation to me (a son).

    I canceled my subscription immediately. I was informed by Julio that unfortunately I should have read the fine print telling me some information might not be available or even accurate. This was a complete waste of time and money and I will try to dispute all charges from this fly-by-night operation.

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

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