Editor's Note: Instant Checkmate's subscription now gives access to premium data at no extra charge.
A people search service is only as good as the information it provides and Instant Checkmate had the most accurate information of all the services we reviewed. To test these services, we purchased reports for three different people including one of our reviewers. We then had each person verify the information was current and correct. All of our test subjects rated Instant Checkmate the most accurate service. Although report accuracy is high, Instant Checkmate is the most expensive option on our review which is why it doesn’t rank higher.
An important aspect of a people search service is how well if finds who you’re looking for. One of our subjects had a very common name, but Instant Checkmate provided a range of sorting and advances search features to help narrow down the results.
You can augment your search by adding age, middle name, city and state. With other services we had some trouble searching because they didn’t offer a current address filter. You can also search by phone, email address and location, which gives you additional flexibility when trying to track someone down.
Instant Checkmate provides a complete list of addresses and relatives as part of the report. Some services were very out of date, giving addresses that our subjects hadn’t lived at for 10 to 15 years. All the addresses, including the current ones, were present on Instant Checkmate’s report. The same held true for relatives and associates, though in some cases there were errors in the associates section.
Where many of the other services such as Veromi and Verispy, struggled to provide current phone numbers, especially mobile phones, Instant Checkmate found phone numbers easily. The same was true for email addresses, though for some of our subjects it found additional emails from defunct sites that were only tangentially associated with the person the report covered.
Instant Checkmate was one of the few programs that successfully included our subject’s marriages. All the people we bought reports for are married, but most services had trouble spotting this information, even though the marriages took place in states the services specifically said they could get data from.
We liked how Instant Checkmate flagged potential matches for criminal records. Other services we reviewed were indiscriminate and included partial matches. With Instant Checkmate, you can flag inaccurate information and have it removed from your report.
Instant Checkmate had one of the cleanest and well-designed reports. We liked the timeline layout, which made it easy to see when someone moved or started a new job. There’s a left-side navigation which lets you quickly skip to sections about work history and social media accounts.
For as great as Instant Checkmate’s reports are, the drawback is the expense. This is the most expensive service we reviewed. A monthly subscription costs $34.78, nearly $5.00 more than the second most expensive. One advantage of Instant Checkmate is that all types of data are included in the monthly subscription report, including information about criminal records, bankruptcies, property ownerships and any businesses they own. Other services have different cost tiers depending on the type of information want.
The people search industry is moving towards a subscription model, but the majority still offer the option to purchase single reports. Instant Checkmate doesn’t offer single reports, and doesn’t have budget options like other services which give you the flexibility to choose between one report or a subscription. You can download PDFs of your reports, but each is $2.99, which is also the higher than the other services we reviewed.