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Shopping for Instacart has become a popular gig because it offers full flexibility and solid pay, ranging from $10–$30 per hour.
Are you curious about becoming a shopper? Here are the full details of the current application process, and how you get can quickly get started.
What Instacart shoppers do
Instacart shoppers visit stores to pick out and purchase items, then deliver the order to customers.
Shoppers use the Instacart Shopper app to complete each step of the process, and pay for the orders with a card preloaded with funds.
Shoppers are paid for each completed order. Earnings are sent via direct deposit once per week, or shoppers can pay a $0.50 fee to use Instant Cashout.
As independent contractors, shoppers can do as many or as few orders as they want. There are no guaranteed minimum earnings—except in California.
More details on shopping for Instacart
Instacart Shopper Requirements
- 18 years or older
- Able to lift 40 pounds
- For full-service shoppers: Access to a vehicle
The application process to become a shopper
You can begin the application process at either shoppers.instacart.com, or inside the Instacart Shopper app. If you begin on the website, you will be directed to the app after you create an account.
Overall the application process is well-designed and without many surprises. Expect it to take only a few minutes.
The Instacart application process: Apply > Wait for background check > Receive the Instacart payment card > Start shopping
Some of the steps in the application process:
- Fill out your basic information
- Confirm that you meet the requirements
- Confirm that you have access to a vehicle (no further details required)
- Take a photo of your driver’s license
- Take a photo of yourself
- Input your address to receive your Instacart payment card
- Consent to a background check
- Link a bank account for payments
After completing all of the necessary application steps, you’ll be able to explore the Shopper app and learn more about the ins and outs of shopping.
Check out the app features, read their starter guides, and consider doing some of the order demos that are linked in the main menu.
How do you know when you’ve been accepted? You will get both email updates and notifications from the Instacart app letting you know about your application progress. When you are accepted, you should receive an email along the lines of, “Congratulations, you’re ready to start shopping!”
You may be added to a waitlist
You will be added to a waitlist if Instacart is not currently accepting new shoppers.
The Instacart shopper app will let you know when you’re on the waitlist, and Instacart will email you when a spot has opened up for you.
How long is the waitlist? It depends on current market conditions. Typically you will have to wait at least a few weeks.
Instacart runs a background check
During the initial application, you will be asked to undergo a background check that looks at both your criminal background and your driving record.
The background check is first processed by a third-party company called Checkr, then Instacart makes the final decision to either accept or reject your application.
Instacart does not give detailed criteria for the background check, so it’s hard to say exactly what sort of background issues may cause a rejection.
Reports on hiring standards vary, and in the end the final decision is made by a human, so there is always going to be some unpredictable variation.
Instacart says that background checks normally process within 10 days. To check the status of your background check, visit the Checkr applicant portal.
You will receive an app notification when your background check is complete. Depending on your state, you may also receive an email copy of your background check and motor vehicle report.
Instacart occasionally re-runs background checks for active shoppers. You can be deactivated if Instacart finds new issues that don’t align with their standards.
Paying for groceries: The Instacart payment card
Shoppers use a pre-loaded payment card to pay for customer orders.
During the application process you will provide a shipping address to receive the card, and it should take around 5-7 business days to arrive. You’ll get an email with a tracking number when the card ships.
There is also a digital card option that connect an Instacart payment card to Apple Pay or Android Pay.
By using the digital card, you can start shopping without having to wait for your payment card to ship. But there is a downside to digital cards: You can only shop at retailers that accept Apple or Android Pay.
Demos: Learn how to do Instacart orders
As the application process goes by so quickly, you might find yourself suddenly worried about something important: How do you actually DO a delivery?
Fortunately Instacart has a very well-developed series of demos that will walk you through all of the steps you need to take to correctly complete an order.
Find the app demos by tapping on Menu (☰) > Demo Orders. You’ll find numerous demo orders covering different types of orders at different stores.
The demos are a nice feature that many other gig apps don’t have, or don’t execute nearly as well as Instacart does.
Application to activation: Only a few days in some cases
Your results may vary, but getting started with Instacart might only take you a few days.
My application to Instacart from start to finish only took 4 days. The initial application took few minutes, the background check took one day, then the payment card shipped in 4.
Read this next
- Not Getting Batches? How to Get More
- The Highs (and Lows) of Instacart Pay
- Are Double and Triple Batches Worth it?
- Is the Instacart Rating System Fair? How it Works
- How to Pick Better Batches and Avoid Bad Ones
- How to Contact Instacart
Terry Shelden says
I have been on wait list for over a year. Would like some one to talk to about how to get this process done.
Try one of the contact links on this page. You may be required to log in. If you can log in, log in on your phone and see if a chat option appears.
Briana Bell says
I’m trying to schedule onboarding session and nothing is working
Hi I joined to become a shopper in 2017 but never got any hits. I recently moved but have not looked at this app in yrs now trying to get on but my account has been deactivated and I cannot get in touch with anyone to get back in can someone please help me??
Try to contact shopper support
Charlene Shaw says
I was trying to set up my application but keep getting sent back to opening an account and I get kicked out. AGAIN. I’ve read about batches, etc. but still haven’t been able to put in my application.
I do DOOR DASH so I have an Idea of how this works, but would like to apply. Thank you.
Try starting the process in a different web browser, or try to get another person to take a look to see if they spot something you’re missing. Try to download the Shopper app. There are help tools inside