Instant Checkmate Review

Dave Platt

In a Nutshell

Instant Checkmate provides one of the simplest public record searches on the market. The site provides numerous search options, including a people directory, a criminal record database, and a sex offender database. It’s open for inquiries 24/7, and ideal if you need to run a large number of searches each month.


  • Unlimited searches
  • Choose from 3 types of report


  • Premium reports not included in subscription
  • Slow search process

Instant Checkmate Instant Checkmate Visit Site


  • Best for bulk reports
  • Unlimited searches
  • Easy-to-read reports

Why Go With Instant Checkmate

Here are  two great reasons to go with this company. One, you’ll love being able to choose the level of detail in  your report . Two, the reports are beautifully laid out.

3 types of report to choose from

While it’s great to get a comprehensive collection of data, this is not always practical or necessary. Sometimes basic contact information and an address history are more than enough. Instant Checkmate knows this., They offer three different types of reports that are tailored to different needs: email reports, standard reports, and premium reports.

The report layout is easy to follow

Understanding an Instant Checkmate report is very easy. Criminal records are color-coded so you can quickly see whether it’s an unlikely, likely, or possible match. And navigating the different sections of a report is quick and simple.  Just click on the tabs to the left of the report to quickly jump to the section you want to read. You can also download reports in PDF format if you’d rather have a hard copy.


Instant Checkmate has month-to-month or three month subscription options, with a three month subscription being the cheaper option. Both membership plans include unlimited reports.


3 Months
1 Month

*Last updated: November, 2020

Reports Offered

  • People search
  • Background search
  • Criminal records
  • Reverse phone lookup
  • Reverse email search

Customize Search

Instant Checkmate’s three report types are progressively more comprehensive:

  • email reports
  • standard reports
  • premium reports

Email reports and standard reports are included in your membership subscription; and you can get an unlimited number of them each month. Premium reports, however, incur an additional fee.

The most basic report available, an email report will give you the following information:

  • Name
  • Address history
  • Social media information
  • Known relatives

While the email report may not give you a lot to go on if you’re checking a prospective date or a suspicious neighbor, it should be more than enough to get you started if you’re looking to track someone down.

Standard reports are more comprehensive, and include the following additional information beyond an email report:

  • criminal background check, including arrest and prison records
  • sex offender information
  • government licenses

Premium reports are the most comprehensive reports Instant Checkmate produces, and they’re also the most expensive - an extra $19.99 on top of the price of your monthly subscription. Here’s a list of the additional information a premium report can uncover for you:

  • Civil judgments
  • UCC filings
  • Properties owned
  • Voter registration
  • Tax liens
  • Professional licenses
  • Hunting/fishing permits
  • Weapons permits
  • Foreclosures
  • Aircraft owned
  • Neighbors
  • Business associates

Is Instant Checkmate Legit?

One thing to remember about this site’s offering is that it aggregates all free and accessible public information  for its users. Instant Checkmate never claims to offer information that you can’t find on your own. It’s just that you wouldn’t spend the time doing the research yourself. Just like you wouldn’t question the legitimacy of a different service that you could theoretically do on your own, such as home construction, so too with this background check service. It just does the hard work for you.

Instant Checkmate has access to millions of federal, state, county and local public records. The company is very upfront about the types of records it has access to. There's even a page on the website that lists all data sources Instant Checkmate uses, and their data collection process.

The information Instant Checkmate has access to is primarily public data, which it gathers via Freedom of Information requests. Data points include criminal databases, court records, sex offender registries, census data, and other demographic data. Unfortunately, the list excludes credit and social security information - data which other background check websites claim to be able to provide.

With that being said, Instant Checkmate is also very upfront about how often it updates its databases. It does so every 24 hours, which should make for very accurate results.

How It Works

Instant Checkmate stands out from the crowd thanks to its top-notch customer service, comprehensive manual directories, and a commitment to go above and beyond in order to educate and entertain its subscribers.

Comprehensive Manual Directories

While Instant Checkmate has a powerful search engine, sometimes it’s just easier to look someone up manually. To this end, Instant Checkmate has a comprehensive set of manual directories you can use to search for specific information. There are four dedicated directories you can use to look someone up:

  • a people directory
  • a criminal records database
  • a sex offender database
  • an inmate search

You can quickly sort through these directories and hone in on the person you’re looking for alphabetically. In addition, the criminal record database, sex offender database, and inmate search are also sorted by state and by most populous city.

More Than Just a Background Check Service

Instant Checkmate is more than just an online service you can use to check people’s background or track down old acquaintances. It’s also committed to inform, educate and entertain. To this end, the company runs two blogs: The Luminary and Crimewire.

The Luminary is a relationship and lifestyle blog. Some of the topics it deals with are light-hearted. That doesn’t mean it shies away from addressing more difficult issues. The blog also addresses tough situations, such as how to make a long-distance relationship work or even how to deal with a loved one who suffers from addiction.

Crimewire, on the other hand, has a very different objective in mind: being the go-to resource for all things crime-related. You’ll find tips and tricks on being savvy and staying safe both online and offline - from information on identifying and avoiding scams, to dealing with an abusive date or partner. On the lighter side, you’ll also find interesting tidbits such as histories of famous crimes and trivia - great to know on quiz night.

Ease of Use

One of Instant Checkmate’s biggest selling points is that your membership allows you to carry out an unlimited number of searches, as opposed to other companies that charge extra if you go over a certain amount. This makes it the ideal choice if you plan on searching for people in bulk. For instance, you can use Instant Checkmate to get in touch with the old gang from high school.

What’s more, Instant Checkmate’s manual directories allow you to instantly get specific by focusing on the criminal information you want to find. There’s a criminal records database and a sex offender database, both of which include arrest records sorted by state. You can also carry out an inmate search, which goes through prison system records and court data in order to find out where the person you’re searching might have been incarcerated in the past.

Help & Support

One of Instant Checkmate’s standout features is the quality of its customer support. The website itself is full of helpful information, including a comprehensive FAQ page which you can consult to find more information about the service or address any issues you may have. You can also speak to a live customer service representative 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling their toll-free number.

Round the clock support means you don’t have to wait around at odd hours to speak to someone if you live in a different time-zone. Whether you have an issue with billing, navigating the website, or with the results of a search, you can instantly pick up the phone and speak to a friendly person who’ll help you out.

If the thought of speaking to someone on the phone makes you nervous you needn’t worry. You can also get in touch with customer support by opening a support ticket or sending an email.

Unsurprisingly, the company enjoys an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.

Instant Checkmate’s FAQ section is extremely comprehensive. Not only will you find answers to your most pressing questions, you can also watch how-to videos that show you how to make the most of your subscription, and get the right information on the subject of your search.

Live support is available via a toll-free number. Unlike many other background check websites on the market, Instant Checkmate’s phone lines are open 24 hours a day. Finally, Instant Checkmate’s social media accounts are active, responsive, and  fun to follow. Learn more about what background checks can do for you, or simply beat your workday blues by reading their fun posts.

Bottom Line

Whether you’re looking to track someone down, or uncover information on a person you have a bad feeling about, Instant Checkmate is a great tool to have. Also, the service goes above and beyond simple background checks; aiming to educate and entertain via its social media accounts and two blogs.

Admittedly, the report generation process can sometimes be  slow and frustrating . However, the quality and detail in the reports and ease of use more than makes up for this.

About Instant Checkmate

Founded in 2010 by current CEO Joey Rocco, Instant Checkmate’s original mission was to help people date more safely by making it possible to run a background check before meeting in person. Since then the company has grown to become one of the largest and best known people search engines in the US. Using a powerful search algorithm to trawl millions of federal, state, county and local records, Instant Checkmate now delivers millions of background check reports each month. The company also has a strong corporate social responsibility program. Part of its profits support the Together We Bake organization: a comprehensive training and development initiative for women recently released from jail.



Note: This Background Check service is not FCRA compliant. You may not use Instant Checkmate's service, or the information it provides, to make decisions about consumer credit, employment, insurance, tenant screening, or any other purpose that would require FCRA compliance. This is applicable, but not limited to, a Background Search, Credit Background Check, Criminal Background Check, and/or Driving Record. Instant Checkmate is not a consumer reporting agency and does not, and cannot, provide consumer reports. These terms have special meanings under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 USC 1681 et seq., ("FCRA"), which are incorporated herein by reference.

David Platt developed an extensive working knowledge of background check and data management services in his time providing support for military access credentials with respected biometric security service provider SureID. He has further developed his internet security skills in completing a Bachelors of Science degree at Portland State University.

Instant Checkmate customer reviews

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01 Dec 2020

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Top Reviews

Amber, HI
a year ago

Ease of use

Brand satisfaction

Value for money

Service quality

It is easy to use and it is very detail-oriented as well as it gives you any information you need

Don, DE
10 months ago

Very simple to use even if not tech savvy. I was able to figure it out without assistance.

a year ago

I found the man I was seeing was married with 3 children. Thank god I used Instant Checkmate on him. Although it took a little while for the background on him to load.

Jennifer, FL
a year ago

It found out all the background information that I needed to make a decision about an employee

Misty, OK
a year ago

Its great. I have been with them for a long time I do not plan on switching any time soon

Kathy, AR
a year ago

Very friendly people, trustworthy, and easy to use. That is the one my company that I worked for suggested for me to use.

Heather, OR
10 months ago

I liked that it gave me all the information I was looking for on the person. It was fast and easy to use with out much complications. The price was fair given other sites where way highest priced for the same information.

Jess, IN
a year ago

It did what it was intended for. Easy, simple interface. Easy to use. Accurate and affordable

Tammy, IL
a year ago

I liked everything except the customer service experience they worked hard to help me over all.

Kathy, KY
a year ago

Instant Checkmate was a good value, easy to use and conducted at a very quick pace to my satisfaction

Beth, TX
a year ago

It was easy to use. There was not really anything I disliked about it. It was convenient. I had to use it because of my employer.

Chris, TX
a year ago

pretty good service and decent price. I have used it before at other places and liked it so I decided to try it again. They have great service and they care about helping

Carmen, IL
a year ago

I found it to be useful, performing at a more expected rate. I found not too much to dislike other than a bit too pricey for me but not a decision maker

Joseph, IL
a year ago

Not one problem. I have experienced problems with others in the past with slow response time

Sarah, MI
a year ago

It was very easy to use and pretty self explanatory. I didn't have to contact customer service

Sue, NJ
a year ago

It's a pretty good service that I have never had any problems with in the past at all. It's good customer service too.

Missy, OH
a year ago

It was easy to use and accurate. Everything checked out great with using this service. Definitely will do it again in the future.

Terri, MN
a year ago

Just liked how easy it was to use and the price. Easily accessible when ever I needed to use it. Can use your cellphone.

Amy, TX
a year ago

I don't like having to pay for something if I need to find out something that may be important. It has accurate results, though, like for example, it lists a person's relatives and last known address.

Brenda, MN
10 months ago

I had technical issues that were resolved fast, The employee was courteous and helpful, I trust them

30 customer reviews