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Instant Checkmate review

A people search finder for those who need access to unlimited reports

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(Image: © Instant Checkmate)

Our Verdict

Instant Checkmate aggregates a huge range of public data and provides relatively accurate results. The user interface can be annoying, but the search tool is good enough that we can overlook this.

For

  • Wide range of data sources
  • Unlimited reports with monthly subscription

Against

  • Tons of pop-ups to navigate through
  • No option to buy a single report

Instant Checkmate is a people search finder that aggregates data from public records. The service is simple to use and offers a wide range of information, including contact details and criminal records. Results aren’t instantaneous and the service prompts you with a lot of questions and warnings before delivering a report, which can be annoying.

In our Instant Checkmate review, we’ll help you decide whether this is the best tool for running a background check or people search.

Instant Checkmate review

Instant Checkmate only offers monthly subscriptions with unlimited reports (Image credit: Instant Checkmate)

Plans and pricing

Instant Checkmate only offers subscriptions for unlimited reports. One month costs $34.78, or you can sign up for three months for $27.82 per month. There is no option to just buy one report for a single individual.

Features

Instant Checkmate enables you to search for someone based on just their name, city, and state. There’s also a reverse phone lookup feature, although this is somewhat hard to find on the Instant Checkmate website. When you run a search, you’re presented with a list of potential matches and you can pull a detailed report for any individual.

Instant Checkmate review

Instant Checkmate searches a wide variety of records to offer relatively comprehensive reports (Image credit: Instant Checkmate)

The service only checks public records, so there’s no information available through Instant Checkmate that you can’t get elsewhere. However, the platform does cast a wide net and includes details about properties, vehicles past address, family members, marriages, and bankruptcies in its reports. The tool will also tell you if the individual you’re searching is a registered sex offender, if they hold a gun license, or if they have any criminal, arrest, or traffic records.

It’s important to note that Instant Checkmate is not compliant with the Fair Credit Reporting Act. So, you cannot legally use this service for conducting a background check for employment or rental applications.

Interface and in use

Using Instant Checkmate wasn’t nearly as simple as we would have liked. Getting started with a search is easy—just enter the information you know about your subject in the search bar on the company’s homepage. You’ll be prompted with several pop-ups that ask you details about the person you’re searching to help refine your results.

Instant Checkmate review

Instant Checkmate requires you to click through a large number of pop-ups before you can access a report (Image credit: Instant Checkmate)

After those pop-ups come more pop-ups, though. These are warning you about the graphic details you might uncover in an Instant Checkmate report in a way that’s overhyped and annoying. It might be okay if there was just one warning, but we encountered more than five such pop-ups before we were ultimately able to view a report.

It’s also worth noting that in the middle of all this clicking through pop-ups, Instant Checkmate essentially stopped working. The report never loaded, and we had to start the process from the beginning. (It worked the second time around.)

Things get better once you finally arrive at a report. We found that the information we looked at was largely accurate, although there was an occasional inaccuracy around past addresses and licenses. Criminal records are given a likelihood score, which was a nice reminder that Instant Checkmate isn’t guaranteed to be correct.

Support

Instant Checkmate offers support by phone and email from 10 am to 10 pm Eastern Monday to Friday. If you’re having trouble signing up for the service or finding a report, you can turn to the online help center for tutorial videos and answers to common questions. One thing we liked is that it’s easy to cancel your Instant Checkmate subscription at any time.

Instant Checkmate review

Instant Checkmate’s site includes several how-to videos to help you set up an account (Image credit: Instant Checkmate)

It’s also worth noting that Instant Checkmate makes it easy to remove yourself from its search database. Most other people search tools hide this option, but it’s right in the footer on the Instant Checkmate website. Typically, your data is removed within two days after you submit an opt-out request.

Instant Checkmate review

Instant Checkmate’s website is secured with Norton Symantec (Image credit: Instant Checkmate)

Security

Instant Checkmate’s website is secured with Norton Symantec and all payment data is transferred using 256-bit encryption. Since all of the data on the site is available through public records, there’s relatively little emphasis on keeping reports secure.

The competition

Instant Checkmate is one of the more reliable people search tools available. However, it’s a bit pricey compared to competitors like US Search. US Search costs just $19.86 per month for unlimited reports. We’d recommend Instant Checkmate if you can afford it, though, since we found the information to be much more accurate than what you get with US Search.

If you need a Fair Credit Reporting Act compliant background check, consider a service like GoodHire or Checkr. Both of these platforms are significantly more expensive and charge on a per-search basis, but the data can be used for employment and rental application decisions.

Final verdict

Instant Checkmate is an affordable people search finder that provides relatively accurate information. One of the best things about this service is that you get a huge range of data compared to similar search tools. Running a search with Instant Checkmate can be frustrating since you have to click through more than a dozen pop-ups before you can see the final report. If you can overlook this flaw, though, Instant Checkmate is relatively easy to use.