• Price
  • Accuracy
  • Support
  • Interface/Features

Summary

The information I acquired through InstantCheckmate has proved to be thorough and correct, making it invaluable to me. It blows the competition out of the water with the user-friendly interface and high level of commitment to accuracy, providing you a ton of information in an easy-to-navigate format.

4.5
User Rating 3.2 (5 votes)
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Instant Checkmate: Overview

Instant Checkmate (www.instantcheckmate.com) is a subscription-based people search service that allows users to perform a search on any individual and receive a detailed report with contact information, location information, criminal records, and professional history. 

The service gathers its data entirely from publicly available sources such as public records repositories, social media websites, and information released from private companies. Instant Checkmate bests Google and other search engines for looking up long lost friends, learning more about new neighbors, or vetting online dates.

Instant Checkmate offers a service that is similar to other background-check companies, including that of its sister company Truthfinder, yet the price for a subscription is higher than most, and many of its additional features come with a price.  

Is Instant Checkmate free to use?

None of Instant Checkmates features are free. The site’s home page features a criminal records search bar that suggests that the company offers a free background report, but the results are inevitably hidden behind a membership paywall. What’s more, Instant Checkmate is more expensive to use than other websites of its ilk. 

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How does Instant Checkmate work?

Like other people search websites, Instant Checkmate aggregates public data from numerous government and commercial sources and it puts it all in one place. Although the information found on Instant Checkmate can be accessed through other sources, in practice, this is an onerous process requiring multiple trips to public records repositories, courthouses, police stations, and other record-holding agencies. 

Principally, what Instant Checkmate sells is convenience: they do the legwork so that your personal investigations and background checking is quick and painless.   

Where does Instant Checkmate get its information?

Instant Checkmate’s information database is comprised of aggregated data from dozens of public sources, including:

  • Federal, state, and local public records repositories
  • Social media websites
  • U.S. Census demographic information
  • FBI and local crime data
  • Commercial businesses
  • Sex offender registries
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Is Instant Checkmate legit?

Yes, Instant Checkmate is a legitimate company that is upfront about its services and does not scam its users, beyond some mildly misrepresentative advertising. In fact, the San Diego-based company holds an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. 

However, Instant Checkmate has had its issues: in 2014, the Fair Trade Commission (FTC) sued the company for violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) stemming from instances where Instant Checkmate provided reports to customers for illegal uses such as tenant screening and employment screening despite the fact that it is not a consumer reporting agency. As a result, Instant Checkmate has cleaned up its act, posting clear notifications in its FAQs page detailing how its services can and cannot be used.  

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Main features

An Instant Checkmate membership comes with two key features, the people search and the criminal records search. Let’s look at both features more closely. 

People Search

Instant Checkmate’s people search allows users to search anyone in the United States and delivers a detailed background report with extensive information on the person, in addition to any public records tied to the individual. 

How does it work?

Type in a person’s name, along with their approximate location (city and state), and Instant Checkmate scans its massive database for publicly available information on the person, returning a comprehensive background report. 

What info does it return?

Instant Checkmate performs a full background search on a person, delivering a report that may include the following information:

  • Names and aliases
  • Address and location history
  • Phone numbers
  • Photos
  • Family members and possible relatives (along with their contact information)
  • Email addresses
  • Social media accounts
  • Liens and bankruptcies
  • Civil judgments 
  • Vehicles owned
  • Employment history
  • Financial information

Additionally, Instant Checkmate offers a new feature that enables users to create a profile for individuals that a subscriber has searched, with editable characteristics like race, religion, political leanings, and more.

Criminal Records Search 

Instant Checkmate’s other claim to fame is its criminal records search, which delivers a thorough report with the criminal history of any person you search (if one exists). This feature is the best that Instant Checkmate has to offer. 

How does it work?

As with the people search, you type in a person’s name and Instant Checkmate scans its database of criminal record data and returns any arrests and convictions attributed to that individual. 

What info does it return?

Instant Checkmate returns a complete criminal background check on a person that includes the following information:

  • Arrest records
  • DUI arrests
  • Warrants
  • Mugshots
  • Misdemeanor convictions
  • Felony convictions
  • Court records
  • Inmate records
  • Traffic violations

There are some cases where Instant Checkmate will incorrectly attribute criminal offenses to people not responsible for them due to a law enforcement mix-up or a similarity in name between the actual offender and the search candidate. Additionally, some states restrict the release of criminal history information to a greater degree than others, resulting in low-information results for people living in certain states. Regardless, Instant Checkmate’s criminal records search is one of the best of its kind. 

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Additional features

To complement its main features, Instant Checkmate provides a number of other tools that subscribers can use. Unfortunately, unlike a number of other background check services, the company requires users to pay additional fees to access most of them. 

Here’s a brief rundown of additional features made available by Instant Checkmate:

  • Reverse phone lookup
  • Dark web scan
  • Address search
  • Sex offender watch
  • PDF copies of background reports
  • The option to remove your own report from the Instant Checkmate database
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Instant Checkmate Pricing

Instant Checkmate uses a “funneling” technique wherein users must first perform a perfunctory search–which is followed by flashy cinematic background scan graphics–before the user hits a paywall with genuine pricing information.  

While potential users will have no choice but to go along with this search, Instant Checkmate presents the following subscription options:

  • 1-month subscription – $34.78 
  • 3-month subscription – $83.46 ($27.82 a month)

Subscribers will save about $7 dollars a month if they opt for the quarterly subscription. All members are given unlimited reports for the duration of their subscription. As previously mentioned, extra features, like PDFcopies of reports ($2.99 apiece), come with added fees.

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Customer Support

Instant Checkmate has decent customer service: the company’s Member Care team is available by phone, email, Twitter, or Facebook. There are multiple phone numbers to call depending on the nature of your inquiry, and their service hours are posted on the website. 

Additionally, Instant Checkmate’s FAQ section is detailed and leaves no stone unturned, answering important questions about the accuracy of its data and its potential uses. 

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Detailed background check reports
  • Great criminal records search 
  • Solid, attentive customer service
  • Thorough FAQs section
  • Mobile apps for iOS and Android

Cons

  • Lofty subscription price 
  • Bonus features cost extra money
  • Unclear pricing information

Bottom Line

Instant Checkmate’s two main features, its people search and criminal records search, are some of the best of their kind on the internet. The main question is if they are enough to validate the steep subscription prices: a subscription to competing data brokerage company BeenVerified is at least $7 dollars cheaper per month. 

However, Instant Checkmate’s BBB accreditation is a testament to the company’s solid reputation, which, along with the company’s stellar search tools, may be enough to sway prospective users to their side. 

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