Instant Checkmate Reviews: Cost, Pros & Cons [Updated 2021]

instant checkmate

Looking to find information on someone? Perhaps an employee you’re looking to hire?

Instant Checkmate is a background check program that provides publicly available information on a person. This includes email, phone numbers, social media pages, criminal history, and so much more. 

You could find lots of this info by going through individual databases, but Instant Checkmate does the heavy lifting for you in a simple, single search. You don’t even have to know the name of the person!

Most of these background check programs do things that are quite similar, so there is not much room for variants. What sets Instant Checkmate apart from the crowd is the five-day trial period and simple user experience. 

The interface is where you put in your search query and then just hit that search button. After some time, you will get all the information there is on a single person. 

Pros & Cons Of Instant Checkmate


  • The user interface is very easy to learn/use.
  • A massive amount of public info is available with just one search.
  • A five-day trial is $1.00.
  • Many search methods to choose from.
  • Clear directions and ideas about how to use info.
  • Handy smartphone/tablet app.


  • Their policy will only grant you one years’ refund of accidental charges.
  • You cannot buy individual reports.
  • Reports may be slow to load.

What We Liked About Instant Checkmate

Every background check service has access to all the same data, so the accuracy or amount of info does not vary from service to service. The significant differences between companies are in their prices, bonus features, and interfaces. 

You will be glad to know Instant Checkmate is legit, and they are, for the most part, upfront about the services they provide. However, you need to read the fine print —make sure you cancel that subscription on time to avoid extra charges!

As you will see, they have an A+ rating with the BBB. But the platform is not without its fair share of issues. 

For example, in 2014, the Fair Trade Commission sued the company for violating the FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act). This came about because of instances where reports were provided by the company to customers for illegal purposes, such as screening tenants and potential employees, even though it is not a consumer reporting bureau. 

Since then, they have done an excellent job of reforming themselves and making sure clear FAQs are posted that indicate to customers how their services are to be legally and properly utilized. 

Instant Checkmate’s Interface

We must say that Instant Checkmate’s site interface is incredible. It is so easy to use, looks clean, and it is quite reliable. We knew just where to click at each moment of the search process. 

The best part was how you could look somebody up using just an email or phone number. This is important for folks who are going on first dates, folks curious about somebody they just met, or if you just have a funny feeling about somebody. 

Before meeting in person, you can enter the phone number into Instant Checkmate and discover their actual name and any criminal records they have. This is not a perfect method, but it is one way to keep yourself safe and in the know. 

Helpful Information

Web-based information services like Instant Checkmate do not have accreditation by the Consumer Reporting Agency (CRA). As a result, they cannot be used legally, such as screening a potential tenant or hiring a staff member. 

Instant Checkmate is very clear about this matter. They make you tick a box that indicates you will not use the info you get for tenancy matters or employment decisions.

The background check reports posted by Instant Checkmate also include social media information. 

You might wonder where Instant Checkmate gets all of their information. 

Here is where they pull that publicly available, aggregated data:

  • Local public records, state records
  • Local crime and FBI records
  • Social media sites
  • US Census information/demographics
  • Sex offender registry
  • Commercial places of business

The process is straightforward when using Instant Checkmate. You type in the name of the person, their city, and state, then the database is scanned. Soon after, a background report is generated. 

You will get the following information in your report: 

  • Social media pages
  • Aliases and names
  • Phone numbers
  • Location and address history
  • Relatives’ and family members’ contact info
  • Vehicles owned
  • Financial info
  • Civil judgments
  • Bankruptcies and liens
  • Email addresses
  • Employment history
  • Photographs

You may also take advantage of the newest feature in which you can create a profile for the people you have searched. 

The criminal records aspect is another point of curiosity for users. This gives you a detailed report on the criminal history of the people you have been searching for, and we think this is a pretty great feature!

You can glean the following information from criminal records: 

  • Traffic violations
  • Inmate records
  • Court records
  • Felonies
  • Misdemeanors
  • Mugshots
  • Warrants
  • DUI arrests
  • Arrest records

There may be a few cases in which Instant Checkmate will make an error and assign criminal offenses to somebody who has not committed a crime. This could be due to a name similarity (for example, a father and son who share the same name) or a mistake made by law enforcement. 

It should also be noted that some states prevent the release of criminal history records. Regardless, we do think Instant Checkmate’s criminal history records are some of the best of their kind. 

Click here to Get Started with Instant Checkmate for only $1.00.

How Can Instant Checkmate Do Better? 

Instant Checkmate should be more precise when advertising what services they offer, and the costs associated with these services. We could not find a page that offered a price list or discussed the different plans. You would have to run a background check first, and then the company tells you about the cost. 

Plus, the $1.00, five-day trial is only offered if you hesitate on the checkout page for a little while. They wait and see if you will scoff at the $25 charge, and only then will they offer you a discount. That is a bit on the sneaky side if you ask us. 

Also, the information there is not updated as often as you might like. If you want to see somebody’s most recent criminal history, chances are it will not be there if the event just occurred. The site does not offer free searches, but at least the trial period is pretty cheap. 

What’s The Cost Of Instant Checkmate?

They offer one-time reports and monthly options, but the monthly membership is more expensive than competing services. 

5 Day Trial

  • $1.00
  • Offers basic background check
  • No reverse phone lookup
  • Offers reverse email lookup

Monthly Report Plan

  • $35/month
  • Offers basic background check
  • No reverse phone lookup
  • Offers reverse email lookup

Quarterly Report Plan

  • $28/month
  • Offers basic background check
  • No reverse phone lookup
  • Offers reverse email lookup

Phone Lookup Plan

  • $5/month
  • No basic background checks
  • Offers reverse phone lookup
  • No reverse email lookup

Your PayPal or credit card will be automatically charged for any report plan at the end of the period. For instance, if you sign up for the three-month plan after those first three months are up, you will be billed again.

But remember, you will get a $1.00 five-day trial membership if you linger on the payment page for a moment. It is a neat way to see what Instant Checkmate can do for you without a substantial financial investment. But if you forget to cancel that membership before five days are up, you will be charged the total amount for a one-month membership. 

Once you get past the paywall and get your report run, you have the option of upgrading to a premium-level report. This is supposed to have more info, but there is no way of knowing that until you buy it. No matter what, you pay $20 for every premium report you want to see. 

You could also purchase a PDF of the report for $3. This is a clean and professional way to keep track of all your reports, but it might be more economical to screenshot them.

If you want to look somebody up who has a common name, or you are constantly getting crank calls, a phone number lookup could be suitable for you. These are separate entities from the standard reports plan. You can get unlimited phone reports for just $5. 

In the past, Instant Checkmate offered a reverse email lookup all around. Nowadays, you can only get that if you purchase a standard membership. 

Click here to Get Started with Instant Checkmate for only $1.00.

FAQs About Instant Checkmate

Do you have queries regarding Instant Checkmate? See what others asked, and perhaps you will find your answer!

How This Info Is Used

Instant Checkmate and similar services are not a channel by which you can make legal decisions. Info from the site cannot be used in a court of law. 

Any information you find on that report should be checked twice and compared against official records, especially any criminal offenses you discover. 

Before you sign up, be sure you don’t need to use Instant Checkmate for any purpose which requires FCRA compliance, such as decisions regarding the following:

  • Hired help screening (nannies, contractors, landscapers, etc.)
  • Screening for tenancy
  • Insurance
  • Employment
  • Consumer credit reports

This info is to be used for personal knowledge, for situations like the following:

  • Information regarding parents of the kids your children hang out with
  • Figuring out where sex offenders in your neighborhood live (You can check this government website for that)
  • Information about potential dates or romantic relationships
  • Uncovering contact info for relatives and friends

How To Make The Most Out Of Instant Checkmate

Our team decided to take advantage of the $1.00 trial, and we ran a bunch of different searches to test out its accuracy and see what features the site offered. We put in names of teammates, folks we already knew plenty about, and people we only knew a tiny bit about. We even put in a fellow we knew had a criminal history. 

The information we got was pretty accurate, but it is always an excellent idea to double-check any data you get. 

Here are two big takeaways from our experience using Instant Checkmate:

  • Suppose you have a person using the same email for a bunch of different social media sites. In that case, they will have more info as opposed to somebody who lacks social media or who utilizes different email addresses for their accounts. Because of this, reports on younger folks are more precise compared to older folks who don’t have as solid a grasp on email/social media/etc.
  • The services are not excellent at differentiating between folks who have the same name. For example, we looked up sons and dads who had the same name, and all their info was blended on the same report. We imagine this is the case if you happen to have a prevalent first and last name, such as “Michael Johnson.” In situations like this, to boost your chances of getting the right individual, we advise a reverse lookup using their telephone number or email if you can get your hands on it. 

Canceling our subscription was an easy process. We just went over to the account settings and pressed a button labeled “Cancel My Subscription.” It was very easy, and there were no fields to fill out. We chose a reason as to why we were canceling and confirmed our decision to do so.  

Then we got an email confirmation from PayPal stating that Instant Checkmate even refunded our dollar. 

What Did Users Think About Instant Checkmate?

Instant Checkmate has an excellent rating with the Better Business Bureau, an A+ to be exact. The reviews regarding the interface and the available information are pretty standard for a site such as this one. 

However, many statements are made about how transparency is lacking regarding this site —membership renewal pricing and how the auto-renewal works are not adequately communicated. Be sure you cancel that membership as soon as you are done getting your reports, so you don’t incur those recurring charges —set a reminder on your phone or desktop computer as a failsafe. 

The customer service is also not great. When you take a look at the Better Business Bureau site and Consumer Affairs, the responses given by customer service reps are rather trite, and they don’t help much.

Final Thoughts About Instant Checkmate?

We think Instant Checkmate is just fine for some quick basic research about people in your life you are curious about. It is just as good as other similar services, and it makes finding info pretty easy. 

Instant Checkmate does offer some pretty good features that make it stand out from the crowd: 

  • It has a $1.00, five-day trial.
  • It contains a helpful email and phone number lookup

Instant Checkmate is also a big help for people that would like to talk to their long-lost relatives or school buddies from years ago. It will aggregate and pull mailing addresses, telephone numbers, and email addresses, all from publicly available records. This gives you many options to reconnect with your loved ones. 

While the customer service needs a complete overhaul, the service is pretty solid. Instant Checkmate is reliable and easy if you need to find somebody. Now that you’ve heard what we had to say about this background check service, you may go for that $1.00 trial and make your judgment.

Click here to Get Started with Instant Checkmate for only $1.00.

Instant Checkmate Reviews: Cost, Pros & Cons [Updated 2021]

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