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

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253 Consumer Reviews for Instant Checkmate

Average Consumer Rating: 2.5
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 75 4 star: 17 3 star: 6 2 star: 10 1 star:  145
Bottom Line: 38% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 253
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  • Lost friends

    • West Palm Beach, FL,
    • Oct 22, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    I signed up to check out my own report but found it was a great way to find lost friends. Also, a way to check up on my children's past.

    I also used it to check out some history of two tenants I have had and was somewhat surprised at what I discovered about one of the tenants.

    Defiantly a useful tool for many purposes.

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

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  • Customer service rep

    Jeff was very nice and helpful. I suggested several ideas, and he said that he would check with his IT team about it. He said that these suggestions were very good and would be very convenient to the customer and management.

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

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  • Excellent search service

    Although I had to obtain reports from Checkmate in the beginning, an associate answered my call and walked me through the process until I had received the report. I will use Checkmate again.

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

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  • Correcting a mistake I did

    This is my first time using anything like Checkmate. I made a mistake and didn't do it right. But thanks to Laura, she helped me by fixing the mistakes I made and help me how to use Checkmate properly. Thank you Laura, I really appreciate everything you did for me.

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

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  • Very expensive and not very detailed.

    For one month, I've paid $37.48, and I get some very sparse reports. The reports will show the subject's addresses, but it does not confirm a current address. Also, there are a tremendous number of inaccuracies. I did searches for my family members, and much of the information is wrong. Then, I paid another $19.99 to upgrade my subscription, so I could get more detailed reports. I got the report I was seeking, but when I went to get another report, I found that the $19.99 was only for the one report. If I want another one, I need to pay, again.

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

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  • Not enough

    I felt that the price of $8.84 a month was high for unlimited phone search. I have looked at other sites in the past and got unlimited phone searches for free, and then they would charge us after that.

    I believe that this service could be far better by giving more information at the beginning, which would allow people's curiosities and interest them to possibly getting complete reports. But to tell me a name of a phone number that I actually already knew and I pay for that is a little too expensive.

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

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  • Bait and switch

    I paid for a single report, but the report I received didn't include bankruptcies and other information I was promised. Their service wanted an additional $19.95 for that information. I called and complained, and their representative found a way to get me the additional information I expected.

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

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  • Locating grandson

    I was able to obtain some information regarding my grandson. However, I was not able to locate his present whereabouts.

    All the information seemed to be accurate, and I found the names and addresses and telephone number of some of his acquaintances. This may prove useful in locating my grandson.

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

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  • Rating

    • Brewster, MA,
    • Oct 16, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    I recently became a member of Checkmate and was immediately impressed by how easy it was to navigate the site. The information provided was up to date and accurate. I would recommend this website to anyone looking to gain information on themselves or the surrounding others in your community.

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

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  • Fantastic!

    • Brick, NJ,
    • Oct 15, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    Excellent search tool, plus customer service answering the phone are polite and professional. I had some questions which they answered immediately! I will never use another search company.

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

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  • Unlimited phone report membership

    I signed up for the unlimited phone report membership. It was very easy to maneuver and use on the website. I was able to easily follow the directions and able to find out the information that I needed. When I had a problem, I called the service line and even though there was a small wait period, it was well worth the wait. I was attended to, and the lady answered all of my questions. She was very helpful, and again she helped me while I was on the site.

    I highly recommend this site as it is easy to use and when there was a misunderstanding, an operator was readily available! I was able to retrieve the information that I needed. Thank you so much for your help!

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

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Showing 1-11 of 253

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