Pros / Its reports are organized in chronological order.
Cons / You can’t buy individual reports.
Verdict / Instant Checkmate had the most comprehensive reports we saw.
Editor's Note: Instant Checkmate's subscription now gives access to premium data at no extra charge.
When choosing a background check service, the accuracy of the information and the amount of data included are among the most important considerations. Instant Checkmate had the most thorough and current reports we saw. While other services, such as Veromi, included woefully out-of-date information, Instant Checkmate’s reports listed current addresses, marriages and phone numbers.
To compare background check sites, we purchased reports for three people and had them check the data for inaccuracies and inconsistencies. Most reports include information about email accounts, phone numbers, addresses and relatives. In addition, they often contain information about criminal records, marriages, court judgements and assets. Instant Checkmate also lists details about a subject’s work history and social media accounts.
This was by far the most accurate service we reviewed. There were a few inaccuracies, though none as egregious as those we found in other services’ reports, some of which listed aliases our subject had never used. Instant Checkmate didn’t have the most current phone numbers or email addresses for some of our subjects but returned complete results with nothing missing for others – whether you get complete results often depends on how the state the person lives in manages its public records.
One of Instant Checkmate’s especially nice features is it flags potential false matches. We saw this in the criminal records section. It also lets you confirm or deny that the data is accurate – if you say it’s incorrect, the company removes it from future reports.
Instant Checkmate was also one of the most accurate services in reporting our subjects’ marriages. Each person we purchased a report for is married, and other services had trouble finding that information. Instant Checkmate found all the spouses but sometimes listed them under associates.
Background checks tend to be more expensive than people search reports, which often only include contact information. Keep in mind that these background checks aren’t the same as those used by lenders, landlords and employers. The background check services we reviewed are best used to find someone you’ve lost track of or to evaluate a potential date or business partner.
To get a background check through Instant Checkmate, you have to pay $34.78 a month for a subscription – you can’t buy reports individually. With a subscription, you can get multiple reports for the same amount you would pay for just one at another service. However, if you don’t cancel in time, you’re on the hook for another month.
We also evaluated how easy it is to find people with this service. It can be frustrating to wade through page after page of results to find the person you want, especially if they have a common name. We had no trouble finding any of our targets, no matter how common their name. By including middle names, cities and states, you can narrow the results and find who you want more quickly.