Instant Checkmate is an intense background check website that thrives on the dramatics of the unknown, as their marketing tag line reads; find out the truth about anybody. The company began in 2010 in Nevada but has since moved and is now headquartered in California. They are one of the largest people search engines in the world. It operates by collecting public records from all over the United States and compiles it into an easy to read report. They can provide information such as phone numbers, addresses, contact information, previous arrests, criminal convictions, traffic citations, or sex offender status as well as much more details about any person’s life.


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The Good

  • Low cost
  • Public record based

Many background check websites charge customers a price per subscription they buy, or high subscription costs for customers who want to purchase more than one report. Instant Checkmate uses a subscription system for their charges as well. Customers have three different plans to choose from when selecting how they want to pay for their reports. A one-month subscription gives access to unlimited reports for an entire month for $22.86. A plan titled Moderate Users gives three months of unlimited reports for $44.58 or $14.86 per month. The final option is a Power User plan, which allows for six months of unlimited reports for $59.16 or $9.86 per month. Instant Checkmate states it’s reasoning for this type of payment system is because most background check sites charge more for a single report and Instant Checkmate offers a time frame of unlimited reports for a price instead. This method though does not give customers any free trial period and all purchased reports disappear after the paid time period is over.

The other benefit for Instant Checkmate can be considered both a positive and a negative. The website uses all public records or documentation for their reports, meaning that they search all across the country for public knowledge and compile it into neatly organized reports for their customers. Public records provide a generous amount of information and allows Instant Checkmate the ability to search for criminal convictions, traffic violations, felony charges, sex offender status, social media presence and much more. The negative however is that these services are public to anyone and can be accessed by anyone who has the time and patience to do so themselves. Instant Checkmate only simplifies the work anyone can do on his or her own time.

The Bad

  • Limited search type
  • Scarce customer support

Some background check companies, if not exclusively used for employers offer the ability to search multiple things for reports such as business, properties or even neighborhoods. Instant Checkmate however is a company that is limited to only people searches. The reason this causes a problem is because they are not a Consumer Reporting Agency and it is prohibited to use their website for any purpose governed by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). This restriction leaves customers with a big do’s and don’t list located right on their website. For example; Instant Checkmate cannot be used for employment screening, tenant screening, household worker screening, to determine qualifications or eligibility or much more. It can be used to check on old or new friends, family members, former classmates or others listed in the do’s column on the website.

There was also an advertising review conducted against Instant Checkmate in 2014 that stated the company was allegedly sending email solicitations that were deceptive in nature. The company neither denied nor admitted to either allegation but ensured that steps were being taken to stop the behaviors.

Among these serious charges against Instant Checkmate, the number of complaints filed against the company is still a concern. Although the website promises that customer service is the number one priority and if anyone is not satisfied with the report or wants to cancel their membership they only need to call their twenty-four hour customer service line, many complaints filed against the business state that the customer service representatives are hard to get a hold of and difficult to work with once a problem has been brought to light. However, being open twenty-four hours a day for customer support is a great benefit, the only form of communication listed through the website to call in and speak to a representative. In today’s online world, an email address or live chat might be better suited for their customers.

The Bottom Line

Instant Checkmate is an interesting background check website that has low costs for their customers starting at a month of unlimited report access for only $22.86, the cost that most other companies charge for a single report. They use public records for their screening services, which enables them to get a lot of information that is compiled into one easy-to-read report for their customers. However, they only have background information on people and are not FCRA ensured which means their checks can only be used in specific ways that are listed on their website. They also have had some legal trouble. They have a lot of issues to improve on, but are competitive in their pricing and marketing which is what makes them one of the worlds largest people search engines.

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2 Instant Checkmate Reviews

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  1. User Score


    April 6th, 2016 Medford, OR

    All searches imply that there is something in the criminal records history with “records found” result when what is found may actually be “no result.” This misleads users. Opting Out is unnecessarily difficult requiring the submission of a driver’s license and then re-submission of the same information to “match their records.” There are legitimate companies offering background checks….this isn’t one of them.

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    July 20th, 2015 TX

    a ridiculous amount of $ to pay for no information. You could search and find everything that their “report” finds without paying a plug nickel. Wow. Biggest waste of time and money.
    Will spread the word…

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