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Instant Checkmate reviews 2022: Is it worth paying for?

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Want to vet a potential online date, track down a long-lost friend, or see what kind of information other people can find out about you? Using a background check service is a quick and easy way to find out what you want to know. 

Instant Checkmate is one such online service you can use to find out information about someone — including what others see online when they Google you. 

What is Instant Checkmate, exactly? It’s a public records search service that aggregates a large amount of public data, allowing you to see everything from a person’s contact information to their employment history and traffic records. 

Keep reading for our Instant Checkmate review to find out if it’s legit, how much it costs, and whether it really works:

Or, start searching on Instant Checkmate now >>

Is Instant Checkmate a legitimate site?

Instant Checkmate is a legitimate company based in San Diego. They’ve been in business for 12 years and have been accredited by the Better Business Bureau since 2014 (they currently have an A+ rating).

Instant Checkmate is clear about the services they offer and how their services can and can’t be used. For example, on its FAQ page, Instant Checkmate notes you can’t use their service to do an employment or tenant screening. However, you can research:

Instant Checkmate also clearly displays contact information for their customer support team on their website along with their hours of availability.

Additionally, on their Terms of Use page, they spell out how their subscription plans work, what their subscription plans cost, and how to cancel your account. 

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Instant Checkmate reviews 2022

BBB rating

Instant Checkmate has an A+rating from the BBB. However, customer reviews are mixed, with the company holding a 2.9/5-star customer rating. 

Positive customer reviews note that customer service is friendly, professional, and quick to resolve issues such as canceling subscriptions. 

4-star Instant Checkmate review.
5-star Instant Checkmate review.

Negative customer reviews claim the company tries to upsell customers with more expensive subscription packages and that the information included in background reports is outdated or incomplete. 

1-star Instant Checkmate review.
1-star negative Instant Checkmate review.

Our own experience with Instant Checkmate

I signed up for the $1 five-day trial to see how Instant Checkmate works.

Once I put in my payment information and verified my email address, I logged into my account and was taken to a dashboard where I could search for someone by name, phone number, email address, or mailing address. 

I started by running a background check on myself to see what kind of information was out there about me. I entered my name, city, state, and age, and in about 10 seconds, my report was ready. 

My report included the names, ages, and locations of close relatives (my parents, sibling, and partner), my parents’ home phone number, various personal email addresses I’ve used over the years, my current and former addresses, and neighbors associated with each of those addresses. I also saw sex offenders in my neighborhood. 

However, my report included no photos, education history, jobs, or information from social media profiles. Given that I’m a writer, often promote my work online, and have public social media profiles, I was actually quite surprised at the lack of information in my report.  

No results found on Instant Checkmate review.

I ran two more background reports: one on a family member and one on a celebrity (Brad Pitt). My family member’s report was similar to mine — I was able to see the names, ages, and location of close relatives, various phone numbers and email addresses they’ve used over the years, and neighbors associated with each of those addresses. There wasn’t any other information included in this report — no images, job history, or education history. 

The report I ran on Pitt at least proved to be a little more robust. For starters, I was able to see his education history and learned that he graduated from Kickapoo High School in Springfield, Mo., and was even awarded a master’s degree from Missouri State University. 

Brad Pitt's report on Instant Checkmate review.

Next, I scrolled through his location history and found a number of addresses in Missouri and California that he’s been associated with. I also saw a few phone numbers he’s been associated with in Missouri and California (apparently he’s an AT&T user — who knew?). 

Finally, I got a list of Pitt’s potential relatives, who were located in New Jersey, Missouri, and California. Surprisingly, his ex-wife, Jennifer Aniston, was on the list. (I did hear rumors they might be rekindling their relationship, so maybe Instant Checkmate is onto something here…)

Brad Pitt's relatives on Instant Checkmate review.

Speaking of Aniston — there was shockingly nothing available in his report on either his divorce with Aniston or Angelina Jolie. I was pretty disappointed with this part of the report. 

One important thing to note is that you can’t download a PDF version of any report without paying an additional, one-time fee of $3.99. I opted not to pay for this additional service. Any reports created are still saved in your account so you can access them at any time — so long as your subscription is still active. 

After three days, I canceled my account. The cancellation process was very easy: I simply went to my membership settings and selected cancel. I received a confirmation email 10 minutes later and was refunded the $1. After canceling my account, I no longer had access to my reports.

What does Instant Checkmate tell you?

When you run a background check on someone using Instant Checkmate, you may be able to see information like:

  • Present and past addresses
  • Employment history
  • Criminal background
  • Traffic records
  • Vital records (birth certificate, death certificate, divorce certificate)
  • Alternative phone numbers
  • Relatives and acquaintances 
  • Sex offenders in their neighborhood

Is Instant Checkmate safe?

Instant Checkmate is a safe and secure website. According to the company, their website is encrypted with https, which helps protect your data from being hacked or accessed by cybercriminals. 

They also use 256-bit encryption for payment data, which is one of the more safe and secure encryption methods. 

Does Instant Checkmate notify the person?

Instant Checkmate doesn’t notify the person you’re searching that you’re searching for them. According to an article on the company’s website, “The subjects of the background reports you pull will not receive any notice be it via email, push, or otherwise.” 

Instant Checkmate cost: Is Instant Checkmate free?

Instant Checkmate isn’t free. You’ll need to pay if you want to use this service. They offer a monthly subscription plan for $35.12, or you can prepay for three months at $84.28, which works out to $28.09 a month. With both plans, you get unlimited reports. 

Not interested in a monthly subscription? You can sign up for a five-day trial for $1, which includes unlimited reports. If you cancel before the five days are up, you’ll receive a refund. 

Just note, if you fail to cancel before your five-day trial is over, you’ll be enrolled in the monthly membership plan and be charged $35.12 every 30 days until you cancel.

Is Instant Checkmate hard to cancel?

You can cancel your Instant Checkmate subscription at any time with no early termination fees. Note that if your subscription has already started, you’ll be charged the full amount for that period even if you cancel before it ends. 

The easiest way to cancel is by doing so online. Log into your account, click on “Account,” and navigate to “Membership Settings.” From there, select “Cancel Subscription” and submit your request. 

Your cancellation request will be sent to a customer support representative. When they receive your request, they’ll cancel your subscription immediately.

You can also cancel by sending an email to [email protected] or by calling customer support at 1-800-222-8985. You’ll need to provide your first and last names and the email address associated with your account to cancel. 

Pros and cons of Instant Checkmate

Instant Checkmate has its benefits and drawbacks. On the plus side, it’s easy to use and costs just $1 for a five-day trial (which is refunded if you cancel before the five days is up).

It can help you vet people and see what kind of information others can find out about you. Because Instant Checkmate aggregates public data from many sources, this means you don’t have to go digging around and spend a ton of time to find information on someone. 

On the other hand, the information you can glean by using Instant Checkmate is all from public sources, so it’s not information you couldn’t find anywhere else. 

And as I experienced when I ran a few reports myself, the information included in these background reports can often be disappointing and incomplete. This is something many customers complain about in reviews. You may be able to find more information about someone by searching yourself. 

You also have to make sure you cancel your trial before the five days is up, otherwise you’ll be charged $35.12 for a monthly subscription. 

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Bottom line: Is Instant Checkmate worth paying for? Does it work?

If you don’t feel like digging around a bunch of different places to try to find information about someone, then it may be worth signing up for Instant Checkmate’s $1 five-day trial  — especially since you’ll be refunded the cost if you cancel before the trial is up. 

The service is easy to use, easy to cancel, and does a good job of providing basic information about someone, like phone numbers, email addresses, and current and past addresses. However, you may be disappointed if you’re looking for anything beyond that. 

Start searching on Instant Checkmate today >>

Is Instant Checkmate a legitimate site?

Instant Checkmate is a legitimate company based in San Diego. They’ve been in business for 12 years and have been accredited by the Better Business Bureau since 2014 (they currently have an A+ rating).

What does Instant Checkmate tell you?

When you run a background check on someone using Instant Checkmate, you may be able to see information like: addresses, employment history, phone numbers, and more.

Is Instant Checkmate free?

Instant Checkmate isn’t free. You’ll need to pay if you want to use this service. They offer a monthly subscription plan for $35.12, or you can prepay for three months at $84.28, which works out to $28.09 a month. With both plans, you get unlimited reports.

Is Instant Checkmate hard to cancel?

The easiest way to cancel is by doing so online. Log into your account, click on “Account,” and navigate to “Membership Settings.” From there, select “Cancel Subscription” and submit your request.

Is Instant Checkmate worth paying for? Does it work?

If you don’t feel like digging around a bunch of different places to try to find information about someone, then it may be worth signing up for Instant Checkmate.

Christina Heiser is a New York City-based content marketer and freelance writer. She covers beauty, health, nutrition, fitness, and parenting for a variety of online and print publications. Her work regularly appears on websites including NBC News and A Sweat Life. Over her decade-long career, she's also held editorial positions at Everyday Health and Women's Health. When she's not working, you can find Christina checking out the latest boutique fitness classes, attempting to master gluten-free cooking, and watching reality TV.

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