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Instacart Background Check 2022: Exactly What To Expect

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Shopping with Instacart can be an incredible job or extra money opportunity for many.

After all, this position features flexible hours, tipped wages, and a self-driven lifestyle that more than 500,000 people have made their gig.

But Instacart requires its job-seekers to go through a background check.

And background checks are intimidating; because of this, folks who are otherwise intrigued by Instacart’s jobs often get scared and turn away from the prospect.

Even if you only have very minor problems present in your record, background checks can feel uncomfortably intrusive, especially when you don’t know what they’re looking for.

That’s why we’ve created this guide for you.

Privacy is precious and is becoming rarer every day.

Everyone should have the right to know what sort of thing they’re consenting to when they apply for a job.

So let’s dive in!

What is an Instacart Background Check? A Primer

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of these background checks, let’s start with a broad overview of the process.

vector graphic showing a clipboard with a magnifying glass next to it to illustrate an instacart background check

What is an Instacart Background Check?

Everyone who applies to become an Instacart shopper needs to go through a background check before the company will work with them.

In short, these checks involve them using your Social Security Number to look through public and private databases that have information about you.

Who Gets Background Checked?

The company has every single one of its applicants go through this Instacart shopper review background check, even if you’re just applying to be a driver or a full-service shopper.

Because these background checks require social security numbers, this fact can pose a problem for some potential workers, especially undocumented ones.

Who Runs the Background Checks?

Instacart does not run their background checks; instead, they employ two different companies which do so for them: Checkr and Sterling.

Both companies should let you know that they are performing the check on you before doing so.

The Instacart Help website also notes that you will receive a copy of your background check results from the company that performed it, so you will find out which company did so at that point at the very least.

How Often do Instacart Background Checks Happen?

The company runs these background checks once every year.

They do this to prioritize the safety of all their employees, business partners, and customers, though it can be a hassle for many applicants.

Fortunately, it’s pretty unlikely that these recurring background checks would pick up something new from your past that they hadn’t the first time around.

So if there’s anything you’re worried about there, once you pass the first one, you should be good to go.

That said, they will likely encounter any new developments from the intervening years, so it’s important to keep your public record as clean as possible.

Can You Shop for Instacart Without a Background Check?

No, sadly Instacart will not allow you to shop for them without a background check.

Their application process requires that you submit your social security number to them and consent to a background check; if you refuse to consent, your application will not move forward.

What Does the Instacart Background Check Look For?

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s get into what they’re looking for when looking into your history.

Unfortunately, Instacart doesn’t disclose this information, and neither do the background check companies.

So we need to rely a little bit on hearsay and inference here.

What we do know is that Instacart specifies a list of criteria to each of the contracting companies and that the companies use those criteria to decide whether they should accept, consider, or reject you.

Driving History

Here are, as far as we can tell, the driving record items that Instacart especially looks for in their background checks:

Those are the three items that we’ve seen people report having their applications denied for the most.

The background checkers will find that information from public driving databases.

They don’t publicize their information sources, but they will likely check your information across driving violation databases across the country in the process.

Criminal History

Instacart is even less open about what they look for in their criminal background checks than what they look for in driving history.

As far as we can tell, they look for things like:

  • Recent felony convictions
  • Any violent crime
  • Patterns of crime indicating consistent recidivism

In this process, the checkers will look at any public criminal records databases to find this information.

Specifically, they will complete an SSN (Social Security Number) Trace, a Locator Select search, and a search of the Enhanced Nationwide Criminal Database.

How Far Back do Instacart Background Checks Go?

It’s not possible to determine, because it all depends on the availability of records and the policies that your state and local governments have on these sorts of things.

They may look at your whole life or just the past five years.

That said, they almost certainly won’t look at your juvenile records, and Sterling says that much openly.

What Can Disqualify You During a Background Check?

Several things can disqualify you during a background check, though Instacart has not made any of these factors public.

Common reasons that we have encountered in our research include multiple moving violations in a vehicle, relatively recent felony convictions, and being a registered sex offender.

How Far Back does the Background Check Go?

The short answer is this: it depends.

Sadly, there is no set date or limit to how far back a background check goes.

This will depend on the availability of records in your state and local governments.

Completing a Background Check

Completing a background check doesn’t involve much effort from you, even though it might entail a good bit of anxiety.

The only things you’ll need to do is provide documents (potentially) and consent to the check.

vector graphic showing man in the process of trying to become an instacart shopper

Required Documents

Checkr and Sterling don’t publicize what documents they will require from you, but they likely will only need your social security number.

They may also request a copy of your driver’s license or other official documents.

Consenting to the Check

It is legally necessary for you to consent to the check before it takes place, but that won’t require an extra step for you because it is included as part of the application.

How Long Does an Instacart Background Check Take?

Waiting is agonizing, and that’s doubly true when people are looking at your history.

Let’s explore the in-between time.

How Long Instacart Background Checks Usually Take

This depends on a few things, including the company that is performing the background check and the availability of your records throughout the process.

Checkr notes that their processes typically take 3-7 business days, while Sterling reports that 90% of theirs are complete within one business day.

That said, neither company guarantees those time frames.

They both emphasize that any number of complications could delay the process further.

Different Statuses of Instacart Background Checks

Instacart background checks often have status reports while you’re in the middle of the waiting period.

We’ll get into what those mean in the next section.

Background Check Status

Let’s get into what these different background check statuses mean.

Different Statuses and What They Mean

  • Complete – This means your background check has been completed, but there haven’t been any conclusions made based on it.
  • Pending – This means your background check is in process
  • Clear – This means that your background check is clear and will not lead to Instacart rejecting you.
  • Consider – This means that your check has encountered some issues, but not enough for you to be disqualified outright.
  • Dispute – This means you are in the middle of disputing your check.

How to Check Status of Your Background Check

When it comes to the status-checking process at a given point, the specifics will depend on the company in question.

But Checkr is the main one that uses these statuses and you will find them on Checkr’s candidate portal that they will send to you when initially notifying you of the check.

What Happens If I Get Denied From Instacart?

If your background check causes your application to be denied, you haven’t reached the end of the line yet.

It is possible to dispute your check, and we highly recommend you do.

Appealing an Instacart Background Check

There are a whole host of reasons you could get rejected from the Instacart background check, so don’t lose hope if you’re at this stage.

Why you Should Dispute a Rejected Background Check

Background checking agencies aren’t always right, and they aren’t always sure they’re right.

If you get rejected, you must request a copy of the results and dispute them if there is anything about them that seems off or inaccurate to your experience.

The Chances of Getting Instacart’s Decision Reversed

It’s really hard to say either way what the chances are of reversing the decision because that truly depends on the reason behind your rejection.

If you were rejected for a felony murder conviction, that’s likely going to be a harder sell than a couple of moving violations, but it’s hard to tell either way.

How to Dispute a Rejected Background Check

Like much of what we’ve covered so far, how you dispute the rejected background check will depend on the individual company that’s doing it.

For Checkr, you will need to reach out to their disputes email – [email protected] – and explain the reason for your dispute.

If you make a compelling enough case, it could sway them.

Sterling, on the other hand, has more particular instructions that they will detail in the email they send you with your rejection.

These are both what Instacart lists on their website, but if you receive other dispute instructions from the individual company, go with what the company says, as the Instacart page may be out of date.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the remaining questions we’ve seen people wrestle with.

Is there an Instacart background check phone number?

Not really, though you can reach out to the company performing your background check if you so desire.

If you want to do so for a dispute, Checkr has an email you can reach out to ([email protected]), and Sterling will have sent you an email with instructions for disputing.

If this isn’t for a dispute, you can either follow any contact instructions you received from either company when they initially reached out to you.

Can felons work for Instacart?

It isn’t clear if felons can work for Instacart; they haven’t publicized that data.

But some individuals report that Instacart does hire felons, just not those with recent convictions.

Can I do Instacart without a license?

You can shop for Instacart without a license, you just can’t be a full service shopper (someone who both shops for groceries and delivers them).

Instacart has a whole side of their business that is run by in-store shoppers though, so you can still be hired for that.

How do you know if Instacart is deactivated?

Hopefully, you will find this out when Instacart sends you an email notifying you of this development.

Otherwise, you might find out only by discovering that you can’t log in to your account in the Instacart shopper app.

Wrapping Up

The Instacart platform’s background check can be challenging to face for job applicants if your record contains some less-than-savory elements.

Hopefully, this guide has given you the resources to feel safe and confident facing the prospect.

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