Help, Support and FAQ: Genlighten Fees

Curious about Genlighten's fee structure? Wondering what our charges cover? We answer these questions and more on this page.

Do I have to pay a subscription fee to access your lookup providers? does not charge a subscription fee. You may browse through the entire list of the lookups we offer at no charge. You pay only when you decide to submit a lookup request to our providers through our site.

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What do your lookups typically cost and who sets the prices for each lookup?

The provider fee for each lookup available on is set by the provider offering it. As a result, the fee you pay may vary significantly based on the complexity of the lookup, the time typically required and the providers’ costs (gas, copying, etc.)

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Are the lookups prices shown on the site hourly rates or are they fixed per-document fees?

Our providers always set a fixed fee for providing you with a specific document or collection of documents. They base that fee on their estimate of the time it typically takes them to complete the lookup along with any associated costs they incur. You will not be charged extra if it takes them longer to complete the lookup than they expected.

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What are the "Document Found" and "Not Found" fees for?

Our lookup providers are committed to performing a thorough search for the documents you've requested based on their experience and expertise. But at times, even the most diligent effort will not be able to produce the record in question. For example, a death record might have been misfiled and thus not appear on the microfilm pointed to by an index entry. The "Found" and "Not Found" fees recognize this reality of the research process.

If the provider finds your document as expected, you will be charged the "Document Found" fee they've set for the lookup. If their search is unsuccessful, you'll be billed the "Not Found" fee instead. In such cases, the provider will upload a "Not Found" report summarizing their search process for your reference. We encourage our providers to set the "Not Found" fee significantly below the "Document Found" fee, but the actual prices are left to our providers' discretion. If you're wondering what a provider's fees for a particular lookup will cover, you can use the "Ask the Provider a Question" utility to request clarifying details directly from them.

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How do you determine the processing fee added to my order and what does it cover?

We currently add a 5% processing fee to each lookup order, with a minimum fee per lookup of $0.50. These fees offset transaction charges that we are charged by PayPal. For every lookup transaction we process via PayPal or credit card, we are charged $0.30 plus 2.9% of the transaction amount. If we need to issue a refund to you for any reason, we are charged $0.30. When we transfer your payment to the provider who performed your lookup, PayPal charges us 2% of the transfer amount. As Genlighten grows and our transaction volume increases, the fees we pay will be correspondingly reduced, and we will pass those savings on to Genlighten clients and providers.

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Why is there a processing charge associated separately with each lookup?

When you order multiple lookups, even if they're all from the same provider, it's likely that they will be completed gradually at different times (perhaps even on different days). Accordingly, our payment process triggers payment for each lookup as the respective document is uploaded. Because we're assessed separate payment-processing fees for each transaction, we associate our processing charges separately with each lookup.

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Is there anything I can do to reduce the processing charge?

As mentioned above, with increasing transaction volume, the payment-processing fees we're charged should decrease, and we'll be able to pass those savings on to you. As we grow beyond certain thresholds set by merchant banks, we will eventually be able to let our providers pay for lookup requests from their own provider account on the site. Since we won't pay fees on those transactions, we should be able to completely eliminate our processing charges in such cases. Basically, as you help the site grow, you'll be helping reduce or even eliminate the processing charges.

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What fees do your providers pay?

Genlighten does not charge any listing fees to our providers. Instead, we retain a commission on each lookup you complete. That way, you only pay us when your clients pay you.

Our commission rate is currently 15%. If you as a provider set your "Document Found" fee at -- for example -- $10 for a particular lookup, we'll credit $8.50 to your Genlighten provider account each time you complete that lookup successfully and upload the client's requested document to the site. If you are unable to find the document, our commission will be applied to your "Not Found" fee instead.

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