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Instacart Background Check

Getting paid to shop for Instacart sounds like a great way to make some money, and the easy sign-up process makes becoming an Instacart shopper an attractive option for anyone looking for a simple side hustle. There’s just one small hurdle standing in the way. Before you can get paid to shop, you have to pass the Instacart background check.

To help you decide if it’s worth your while to apply to the Instacart platform, we’ve put together a guide with all of the information you need to know about the Instacart background check. So let’s jump in.

Who Has To Go Through The Instacart Background Check?

Instacart Background Check

Everyone applying to work with Instacart has to pass a background check.

Instacart gives you two ways to earn money – as a self-employed, independent contractor working as a full-service shopper, and as an Instacart in-store employee.

As a full-service shopper, you shop for customers and deliver their groceries to their homes, and as an in-store shopper you fill customers’ grocery orders and stage them (bag and label them for pickup).

Both types of role require a background check, but the background check for full-service shoppers has an extra step because driving records need to be checked.

You’ll need to give your permission for the background check and provide your social security number, full name, address, date of birth, and if applicable, your driver’s license details. Instacart covers the cost of the background check so it costs you nothing to apply and see if you pass.

It might seem strange to have to undergo a background check when you’re working on a self-employed basis, but Instacart needs to carry out its due diligence to make sure that the contractors they hire aren’t a risk to store staff and customers.

What Does the Instacart Background Check Look For?

While Instacart doesn’t make their exact background check criteria public, they’re looking for the standard background details about you.

Instacart’s background check will confirm your identity and your right to work in the United States by running a Social Security Number Trace. You won’t be able to work on the platform if you’re an undocumented worker.

You’ll also go through a criminal records check, and if you’re applying to be a full-service shopper, your driving history will be checked.

Read Also: Does Instacart Hire Felons?

Instacart Criminal History Background Check

Instacart Criminal History Background Check

All applicants will be screened through the Federal Criminal Records Database and the Enhanced Nationwide Criminal Database. Your name will also be checked against the Department of Justice Sex Offenders Registry.

Based on online reports from other applicants who’ve been through the background check, you’ll be disqualified for having a recent misdemeanor or felony convictions, or a pattern of repeat offending.

Older offenses may be considered, but the decision will be made on a case-by-case basis based on the nature of the offense, how long ago it took place, and if your record has been clean since then.

Offenses that will usually disqualify you include:

  • Violent offenses
  • Sexual offences
  • Robbery, burglary, or theft
  • Fraud
  • Arson
  • Firearms offenses

Instacart Driving History Background Check

Because full-service shoppers use their vehicles to make deliveries to customers’ homes, applicants for this role will have their Motor Vehicle Report scrutinized. Instacart wants to hire shoppers with clean driving reports, so they’ll be looking for:

  • Moving violations
  • Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
  • License suspensions or revocations
  • Accident reports
  • Traffic citations
  • Penalty points

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How Far Back Does Instacart’s Background Check Go?

The background check will go back at least 7 years. Some states have laws limiting background checks to 7 years, while in other states employers can look at your entire adult history.

The following states limit background checks to 7 years:

  • California
  • Colorado
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • Texas
  • Washington

How Long Does The Check Take?

For many would-be Instacart shoppers waiting for the background check to complete has been a lengthy and frustrating process.

In some cases, background check results have come back in just 15 minutes, while in others the background check is still pending weeks or months later.

Delays can occur for multiple reasons, but the most common reasons that background checks take a long time include:

  • The background check agency being used, and how busy they are. Instacart uses two outside agencies to carry out their background checks – Checkr and Sterling. Checkr says that their background checks normally take 3 – 7 working days. Sterling is faster and claims 90% of their checks are ready within 1 day. These are best-case scenarios though, and neither company offers guarantees.
  • Criminal records in your county, or a county you lived in previously, may only be accessible through a manual check. When this is the case, you have to wait for a clerk at the courthouse to look through the records.
  • Courthouses are closed for a holiday.

How To Follow The Status Of Your Background Check

You can follow the progress of your background check on the portal where you entered your information. You’ll see various status updates.

Pending means that your background check is underway.

Complete means that your background check is finished but that no decision has been taken yet based on the findings in the report.

Consider means that your report contains some issues but you haven’t been disqualified. Instacart will evaluate your report before making a decision.

Clear means that everything in your background report was satisfactory and you’ve been cleared to work for Instacart.

Dispute means that you’ve raised an issue about discrepancies in your report.

What Happens If You Fail The Background Check?

What Happens If You Fail The Background Check?

A background check is a consumer report regulated by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).

If Instacart decides that they can’t hire you because of information in your background report, FCRA rules state that they must send you two notices.

The first notice is called a Pre-Adverse Action notice, and this informs you that adverse action will be taken. The notice will also inform you of your right to request a free copy of your report and of your right to dispute incorrect information contained in the report.

You only have a certain amount of time to dispute the report, so if you believe that your report contains inaccurate information about you, you need to act quickly.

If the deadline for disputing your report has passed, and you haven’t contacted them, Instacart will send you a second notice which tells you that you aren’t eligible to work for them.

Background-checking agencies do make mistakes, so if you’re sure that you shouldn’t have failed the check, get a copy of your record and insist that the inaccuracies are corrected.

If, on the other hand, you failed the background check and the information in your report is correct, then there isn’t an appeals process where you can ask Instacart to reconsider their decision.

Instacart Repeat Background Checks

Once you’ve been approved as an Instacart shopper, you’ll have to pass an annual background check to remain on the platform.

Instacart says that the annual check looks for any criminal offenses and driving offenses you may have committed since your last background check took place, but some shoppers report that older offenses that weren’t disqualifying when they first applied, caused them to be deactivated when their second background check took place.

There is an appeals process that deactivated shoppers can use, and when the reason for deactivation is a failed repeat background check, Instacart may offer you the chance to prove that you’ve been rehabilitated since the offense took place. You’ll need to provide the documentation they tell you to submit and then wait for a decision.

Deactivated shoppers can withdraw funds from their Instacart account, but they can’t accept new orders.

Quick Recap

You’ll need to pass a background check before you can work for Instacart as a full-service shopper or as an in-store shopper, and then you’ll face an annual background check every year you remain an active shopper.

The Instacart check goes back at least 7 years, and in addition to confirming your identity, will check to see if you’ve got a criminal history. If you apply to be a full-service shopper, your driving record will also be checked.

Any recent violations will usually result in your application being rejected.