Instant Checkmate aggregates a vast range of public data and provides relatively accurate results. The user interface can be annoying, but the search tool is good enough to overlook this.
Wide range of data sources
Unlimited reports with monthly subscription
Multiple search methods
Tons of pop-ups to navigate through
No option to buy a single report
No upfront pricing
Single support option
No iOS app
Why you can trust TechRadar
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. Unfortunately, results aren't instantaneous, and the service prompts you with many questions and warnings before delivering a report, which can be annoying. However, the site is worth a look with a claim of over 1.4 billion searches and counting.
In this Instant Checkmate review, you'll learn whether this is the best tool for running a background check or people search.
Plans and pricing
Instant Checkmate only offers subscriptions for unlimited reports. One month costs $35.12, or you can sign up for three months for $28.09 per month when you prepay $84.28. Unfortunately, there is no option to buy one report for a single individual. However, you might be able to snag a "trial offer" for just $1.
Instant Checkmate enables you to search for someone based on their name, city, and state. There’s also a reverse phone lookup feature.
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 addresses, family members, marriages, and bankruptcies in its reports. The tool will also tell you if the individual you’re searching for 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 it should be. Getting started with a search is easy - enter the information you know about your subject in the search bar on the company's homepage. Next, you'll be prompted with several pop-ups asking for details about the person you're searching for to help refine your results. These include the gender of the individual searching for and other known relatives.
Along the way, multiple stops indicate that graphic content may be revealed and have you check the box. This happens numerous times during the search. Perhaps this is done to build up the search and get you more invested in it- emotionally and time-wise- so that you'll pay when the pricing is finally revealed.
After those pop-ups come more pop-ups, though, these warn 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 you might encounter as many as five such pop-ups before finally viewing a report.
Along the way, you also have to enter your name and email address to proceed. You'll also have to agree to receive Instant Checkmate's emails — perhaps viewed as another annoyance by some.
Things get better once you finally arrive at a report. This includes primarily accurate information (mistakes occur), especially regarding addresses. In addition, criminal records are given a likelihood score, a friendly reminder that Instant Checkmate isn't guaranteed to be correct.
Instant Checkmate has an Android app but not an iOS app, which is a miss not to include the other popular smartphone platform. Users in the Google Play Store give high marks with a rating of 4.3 out of 5 stars with praise for the ease of use, and accuracy of the data, with the occasional frustration on logging in and the lack of depth of info found.
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. In addition, it's relatively easy to cancel your Instant Checkmate subscription anytime.
Unfortunately, there aren't other support options like chat or a portal like similar services.
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’s website is secured with Norton Symantec, and all payment data is transferred using 256-bit encryption. Since all of the information on the site is available through public records, there’s relatively little emphasis on keeping reports secure. The connection is also a secure SSL connection that uses “A private and safe 128-bit encrypted connection.”
Instant Checkmate is one of the more reliable people search tools available. However, it’s a bit pricey compared to competitors like US Search. For example, US Search costs just $19.86 per month for unlimited reports. If you can afford it, go with Instant Checkmate since this information tends to be much more accurate than what you get with US Search.
If you need a Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) compliant background check, consider another service like GoodHire or Checkr. Both platforms are significantly more expensive and charge on a per-search basis, but the data can be used for employment and rental application decisions.
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 massive range of data compared to similar search tools. Unfortunately, running a search with Instant Checkmate is quite frustrating since you have to click through more than a dozen pop-ups before seeing the final report- even as a paying subscriber. For those that can overlook this uber annoying flaw, though, Instant Checkmate is otherwise relatively easy to use with complete results.
Bryan M. Wolfe is a staff writer at TechRadar, iMore, and wherever Future can use him. Though his passion is Apple-based products, he doesn't have a problem using Windows and Android. Bryan's a single father of a 15-year-old daughter and a puppy, Isabelle. Thanks for reading!