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Last Updated: November 24, 2021
Employment background checks:
One-time search option:
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Mapping locations of persons with criminal records:
Do you think you know everything about the people in your life?
A quality background check may reveal the opposite and bring a lot of surprises!
However, finding a reliable, meticulous, and accurate background screening service is not an easy undertaking. To help you with this, we dedicated a fair amount of time to examine and compare different service providers.
Among them, Instant Checkmate appears to be taking one of the leading positions.
This Instant Checkmate review is about to unravel whether such a verdict is well-founded.
So let’s dive into some facts about the platform.
What Is Instant Checkmate?
Instant Checkmate is one of the most prominent US background screening agencies. The company was established in 2010 by Joey Rocco, who is also a co-founder, and partial owner, of industry peer TruthFinder. Its headquarters are currently in San Diego.
The agency specializes in criminal record investigations. However, it contains a broad spectrum of other significant research options.
Instant Checkmate is very suitable if you’re looking to:
- get in touch with a long lost family member or friend
- confirm or repudiate the red flags about someone in your surroundings
- perform the Instant Checkmate reverse phone lookup
- check for the potential sex offenders in your future neighborhood
- conduct any other similar personal check-ups
On the other hand, the home page of the official Instant Checkmate website explicitly states that the company is not Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) compliant. And, even the pop-up window appears, making you confirm that you won’t abuse the findings.
And so, Instant Checkmate itself advises and warns you against using this platform for:
- pre-employment screening purposes
- tenant screening and selection
- making household help hiring decisions
- as consumer credit granting or refusal argument
- any similar conduct that requires an official consumer reporting agency mediation
Is Instant Checkmate legit?
The company uses trusted, valid public sources that don’t interfere with anyone’s privacy rights.
So far, over 1.4 million Americans have put their trust into Instant Checkmate services, a fact that, by all means, carries weight. On top of that, more than 70,000 users have left five-star ratings on the platform’s official review page.
Finally, Instant Checkmate acquiring the BBB A+ grade is proof that the company uses legit methods in conducting the business.
Is Instant Checkmate safe?
Instant Checkmate utilizes verified Norton Symantec. And so, all payment information is secured with 128-bit encryption.
However, keeping in mind that we are talking about the publicly available records, there’s little to no need for keeping the reports secure.
Features and Services
The biggest distinction among different background checking companies lies in their features and services. Let’s see what Instant Checkmate has to offer in that area.
A brief review of Instant Checkmate features
The following are the platform’s features that impressed us the most.
- The classic website layout — you won’t need to waste half of the day trying to figure out how to start your search. All the commands are quite straightforward and self-explanatory. The information is not cluttered.
- The speed of search — depending on what type of search you are in for, the process might take from only a couple of minutes, for a basic search, to a maximum of 15 minutes, for a full background report. The Instan Checkmate search may not be “instant” as promised. But, compared to traditional background check methods, one could see it as such.
- Clarity of content — for each service that you choose, there are clear instructions and explanations. You’ll know what information to provide and what kind of result to expect in each stage of the search.
- Instant checkmate app for mobile devices — a feature that busy people appreciate the most. You can additionally save time on your searches by performing them simultaneously with other activities, such as queuing or walking.
- Crimeware blog — enables you to stay up to date with the latest crime news and safety precautionary measures. Useful tips and engaging stories are a bonus.
A brief review of the company services
After spending a fair share of time inspecting the platform and different Instant Checkmate review pages, we came up with this list of the most popular and beneficial Instant Checkmate services.
Criminal record database search
Going through national, state, and local courthouse records searching for a person’s criminal activities’ traces is a safe yet very time-consuming endeavor.
So why spend all that time and risk incomplete findings when you can hire Instant Checkmate to do what is the best at instead?
Criminal record database search is Instant Checkmate background check company’s claim to fame. And while this tool isn’t completely inerrable, for example, there were instances where the subjects’ names got mixed up, it’s definitely worth the try.
Furthermore, DOJ, FBI, CIA, and INTERPOL files take a significant part of the Instant Checkmate database. So if someone is on the government watch list, you’ll be among the first ones to know.
USA inmate search
Are you suspecting that someone you know may be in jail?
You can now locate any inmate, convict, or prisoner very precisely for the regular Instant Checkmate cost of service. The nationwide coverage makes your search likely to succeed, even if the inmate has moved recently.
All you need to start the search is to enter the person’s full name and, preferably, their last known location.
Arrest records inspection
Most criminal record checks deal only with court records and convictions.
For that reason, most Instant Checkmate reviews praise the platform for going one step further, adding arrest records to its database.
Arrest records are official documents stating an individual’s suspected or alleged criminal activity. They normally are part of public records. However, some states limit or prohibit their display. Moreover, some background check agencies skip this part of research to avoid interference with different Freedom of Information laws.
This is not the case with Instant Checkmate. Once you create your Instant Checkmate account, you’ll get access to all available arrest records.
With Instant Checkmate, finding public information about nearly anyone in the US has never been easier.
The people search option will reveal:
- personal information, including ethnicity, religion, political views, height, weight, and similar
- contact information with location history and social media accounts
- financial and professional data and history
- residential information, such as someone’s estimated home value, assets, and similar
Sex offender registry inspection
This service enables you to identify registered sex offenders within your area or any other area of your interest.
To get a quick link to the service, go directly to the Instant Checkmate services dashboard at the bottom of the home page.
Reverse phone lookups
By simply entering the unknown number into the dedicated Instant Checkmate phone lookup column, you get to learn far beyond just the caller’s name.
The search reveals social media information, online activities, photos, geographical position, and more.
But also, if you are happy with what the service reveals, you can always upgrade your search. For example, you could perform a full background check with the name you’ve discovered.
Unlimited background reports
As soon as you subscribe to the Instant Checkmate monthly service, you get access to unlimited background checks. This is a privilege that not many competitors offer. Most of the time, companies charge each of the searches additionally.
Even during the Instant Checkmate trial period, searches on this platform are unlimited, and no per report fees apply.
The opt-out service
Some people are more particular about their privacy than others.
In each case, the company respects your right to remove your information from its database.
Simply choose the Do Not Sell My Personal Information option on the bottom right side of the website control panel and follow the easy steps.
Additionally, California residents can submit the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 request on the opt-out page.
How Does Instant Checkmate Work?
Instant Checkmate collects data from millions of public files, including:
- local, state, and national government records
- different national security organization findings and reports
The information is carefully contained in an extensive database, ready to use at all times.
All you need to do from your side is to:
- Visit the official company website or download the app and, from there, follow the simple instructions.
- Enter the name and the address of the person you are aiming to check, and press the search button.
- Don’t leave the page immediately because there might be a couple of questions from the Instant Checkmate side. These questions are eliminatory and serve the purpose of narrowing down the search. The search can discontinue until they are answered.
- Choose the Instant Checkmate 5-day trial or pay for the full subscription.
- The search results will then appear.
- What shows up on a background check will depend on numerous factors, including the accuracy of the information you have provided.
- If you are unhappy with the results, you can repeat your search an indefinite number of times. You can also research whoever else comes up to your mind. Instant Checkmate membership price covers unlimited searches.
How Much Does Instant Checkmate Cost?
Instant Checkmate is slightly more expensive if we compare it to the competitors of the same rank. However, no matter how comprehensive your search, no additional or hidden fees apply. There’s also no limit regarding how many people searches you want to do per month, which makes the platform ideal for frequent users.
These are the two main Instant Checkmate pricing plans currently available:
- Recommended — 1 month of unlimited reports — $35.12 a month
- Power Users — 3 months of unlimited reports — $28.09 a month ($84.28 total)
You can also order a PDF report of each search for $2.99.
A free trial option is not available with Instant Checkmate.
However, if you linger for a couple of moments on the payment page, a $1 trial alternative will pop up — a charging strategy that the most Instant Checkmate reviews have condemned as a bit sneaky. Namely, the website will try to charge you the full price first. And only if you hesitate for long enough, the low-cost promotional plan will appear.
Keep in mind, though, that this trial period is valid for five days only. If you forget to cancel your membership within that period, the platform will charge you the full monthly subscription.
Also, if you get the Recommended or Power User plan, the membership will automatically renew. So make sure you keep track of time and complete your cancelations ahead to avoid unwanted charges.
The company reserves the right to refund only the accidental Instant Checkmate fees charged within the last 12 months.
Probably the best criteria according to which to rate any service are its user reviews.
Who better to judge the Instant Checkmate competency than the people who have already tried it?
In line with that, we checked several of the most popular reviewing sites such as BBB, TrustPilot, and ConsumerAffairs.
Reviews of Instant Checkmate on TrustPilot
Among several hundred reviews on TrustPilot, most are the positive ones. People of different interests, ages, and gender are claiming that Instant Checkmate has been extremely useful to them. Some even go as far as calling the service perfect or amazing.
Still, few people gave very poor marks and left disappointed comments. Most of these are concerning the recurring payment and lack of sought-after details in the reports. Some users claim that they’ve never received their report.
But all in all, Instant Checkmate complaints are much fewer than exaltations, and the overall rating is very high.
Instant checkmate reviews on BBB
Even though BBB officials deem Instant Checkmate worthy of an A+ rating, customer reviews on this platform don’t fully correspond to it.
Among the most repetitive objections are those of:
- high fees and inadvertent charges
- people being concerned about their private information shared so freely
- complaints being ignored or not solved timely
The overall rating is much below the expected as well.
Among these three forums, ConsumerAffairs users’ ratings of Instant Checkmate, Inc. are the highest.
Customers are delighted with the platform’s ease of use and the quality of information they’ve managed to obtain.
As expected, there are a few complaints regarding the Instant Checkmate charges and lack of information.
Like with most people background search companies, Instant Checkmate customer service lacks 24/7 live support.
Instead, you can reach the live representative during office hours, 7 AM to 7 PM PST (or 10 AM to 10 PM EST). Alternatively, you can visit the online help center or write an email to the address provided on the official website.
The FAQs page is also available, and it contains the answers to some of the questions you might have.
Luckily, for urgent matters, like opting-out or membership cancelation, direct links are provided at the bottom of the Instant Checkmate homepage. LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook links are also available for the customers’ convenience.
As for the quality of the customer service, opinions in Instantcheckmate.com reviews are divided. Most people claim, though, that once they reached the representative, they received the needed assistance.
No matter how exceptional any product may seem, one should never rush getting it without considering the alternatives. Sometimes, only by comparing different products, one gets the correct perception of them.
In the same way, our Instant Checkmate review wouldn’t be complete without offering you some reasonable alternatives.
So, here they are.
Instant Checkmate vs BeenVerified
With its enticing advertisements, affordable prices, and package promotions, BeenVerified knows its way around the business.
However, many users complained that its search results are not always accurate.
Instant Checkmate accuracy, on the other hand, while not impeccable, seems to an extent greater.
Also, same as Intelius, BeenVerified has had some infamous pricing strategies throughout its career.
Instant Checkmate vs TruthFinder
And so, they have quite similar business and operational models.
The main differences between the two lie in the facts that:
- TruthFinder’s website is more polished, and it includes practical explanations, instructions, and tutorials.
- Instant Checkmate has fewer pop-ups and insists less on supposed spectacular findings.
- Neither TruthFinder nor Instant Checkmate offers a free trial. However, you can get this benefit at Instant Checkmate for as low as $1.
- TruthFinder service includes dark web scans.
Instant Checkmate vs Intelius
Among the two, Intelius has a longer history and, therefore, a more voluminous database. The basic principle on which both search platforms operate is very similar. Both of them collect public data into one gigantic pool of information and extract it as needed.
But also, there are some notable differences. They are as follows:
- The cost of an Instant Checkmate monthly subscription is slightly higher, but the price list of services is much more transparent.
- Both companies offer a five-day trial, with a considerable difference in cost and cancellation fees. Intelius charges double for its trial and has quite a high cancellation fee of $7.95.
- Instant Checkmate doesn’t offer one-time search options, while Intelius does provide a one-off service.
- Instant Checkmate has a higher BBB grade, and overall online Instant Checkmate ratings are higher.
Is Instant Checkmate a Scam or a Valuable Background Search Tool?
With millions of registered users and tens of thousands of five-star reviews, Instant Checkmate keeps disproving all the allegations of being a scam.
Aside from that, the company is legally registered and highly rated by the BBB.
FCRA compliance disclaimer, fees transparency, and clear usage instructions furthermore speak about the company’s ethics. Keep this in mind before considering any Instant Checkmate alternative.
Of course, a perfect background screening tool doesn’t exist. Information gaps, double identities, and opting-out rights of each user can all interfere with the search results. Still, Instant Checkmate keeps collecting the information and constantly works on improvements.
Payment issues and double charges can happen at times. However, there could be various reasons behind it. Besides, usually, a third party is the one in charge of payments. Luckily, all the refund requests for accidental charges are accepted unless they exceed one year span.
For all the additional questions you might have, Instant Checkmate provides live customer support.
- cheap trial
- user-friendly interface
- extensive database
- reliable sources
- refunds limited to one year
- no individual reports purchase
- no around-the-clock customer service
Is Instant Checkmate free?
Instant Checkmate is not free. Professional background check agencies like this one usually charge fees to cover all due expenses of quality search. And for service betterment purposes.
Is Instant Checkmate anonymous?
Instant Checkmate claims to be completely anonymous. In other words, the company doesn't notify people of searches taking place under their name.
How accurate is Instant Checkmate?
Depending on various factors such as availability of public data, preciseness of the details provided, or your search interests, Instant Checkmate can be very accurate.
How good is Instant Checkmate?
While researching for this Instant Checkmate review, we concluded that the platform has righteously deserved the status of one of the best in the market.