Do Instacart Shoppers Pay Out Of Pocket?(No! Some Tips)

Instacart Shoppers Pay Out Of Pocket

Do Instacart Shoppers Pay Out Of Pocket?

In the US, they classify Instacart shoppers as independent contractors and not employees.

However, in Canada, they consider them employees because of this classification system.

In response to a class-action lawsuit from Canadian Instacart Shoppers last November 2018.

Instacart has agreed to pay back wages for any hours worked over 40 hours per week while maintaining their independent contractor status in the United States.

Do Instacart Shoppers Pay Out Of Pocket?

No. Instacart will reimburse you for all your out-of-pocket expenses if they incur while shopping for Instacart customers.

This includes costs for your smartphone or other mobile devices, credit card fees, and any market rewards, coupons, or other discounts you wish to use at the time of purchase.

Your cashback varies depending on whether an item is in stock.

If an item is out-of-stock at the time of checkout, then the customer will not get charged for that item; instead, your cashback will increase by 5%, 10%, or 20%.

You will never receive an extra charge for using a discount coupon (market reward) for an item because if it’s unavailable, you won’t receive payment for it, anyway.

Instacart shoppers do not need to buy groceries online, nor do they physically need to pay for them.

Can You Get Reimbursed For Instacart?

No, not directly through the link with your credit card. There is an indirect way to earn money towards purchases made with Instacart, though.

And that’s what I wanted to share here today. 🙂

Instacart uses Postmates as its delivery service. Of course, most of us know Postmates as the on-demand food delivery service.

With some locations offering grocery deliveries too now. For those new to these services: you place an order online via the App or website.

Postmates drivers get a notification of your location/order request, and they deliver it to you directly on your doorstep.

And you can get $10 just for signing up and doing $1 pickup orders. I just did it and got my $10 credit in seconds.

Once you sign up and order a pickup order (one should do), it will add the $10 to your account once your first payment clears–quickly.

Keep in mind that the usual referral codes for Postmates are “starbucks” or “FALL25”. Use those if you prefer using them instead of mine.

What Is Instacart Reimbursement?

This is reimbursement where Instacart clients pay for groceries and household items online.

Still, upon picking up their order from a retail location (grocery store or pharmacy), they receive reimbursement for the total amount paid on the Instacart App.

Instacart Reimbursement can be into two parts: “Grocery + Reimbursement” and “Brick & Mortar.”

Reimbursements are automatically processed after an Instacart shopper picks up an order.

Once processed, there is usually a delay before they deposit funds in your bank account, so please be patient.

Instacart provides the following methods of reimbursement to their Instacart shoppers:

1) Cash at Instacart shopper’s discretion, but may only pay for orders that do not exceed $500 in total value ($250 for bicycle deliveries).

If the total price exceeds this amount, the shopper must provide signed authorization from the customer on a separate document. If you are ever unsure, ask your manager

2) Personal check paid at Instacart’s discretion (must have proper ID). Some stores require two forms of ID if payment is by personal check for purchases over $75-100.

Your local store clerk should know what is necessary to ensure proper ID.

3) Electronic Check paid at Instacart’s discretion (must have proper ID),

Which is like a personal check but processed as an electronic deposit directly to the shopper’s bank account (up to $100,000 per day;

If total order exceeds this amount, funds will be on hold for 7-10 business days until the total amount clears).

Checks take time to process and should not affect other orders you pick up that same day. You can track your first and last Echeck payment available on your settings page.

4) Cash Back – Instacart allows shoppers to choose direct deposit under their name & banking information or cashback.

If selected, they send the cashback amount via Paypal, Venmo, or Dwolla (preferred), or paper check.

5) Instacart Gift Card – for stores that allow shoppers to use gift cards, the shopper will request a gift card under their name & billing information on their dashboard.

The shopper can then select the value of the gift card, which gets deducted from their pay. This feature is available in most stores with flexible delivery options.

6) First-time shoppers may have to wait until they have earned more than $50 before being able to receive payment by any of these methods other than cash.

Do Instacart Shoppers Get Penalized For Refunds?

No. As reported by some Instacart shoppers, the company does not penalize workers for issuing refunds.

The subject came up after a well-publicized incident in which an Instacart shopper refused to complete a delivery because the store didn’t have asparagus as advertised.

The customer called Instacart and demanded a refund but wasn’t able to reach the shopper directly.

Afterward, she went on Facebook and threatened legal action against both parties

—The driver for canceling her order so late and Instacart for not backing its own worker’s decision to go rogue.

The whole situation was strange, leading some observers to wonder if more than met the eye.

If you have ever worked for any similar employer-of-last-resort delivery service (i.e., TaskRabbit, Postmates, Exec, etc.)

You know that the company takes a big stick to your ass if you refund any customer for anything other than an utter failure of service.

Instacart is different. They clearly state what I’ve witnessed: “Instacart does not penalize shoppers who issue refunds.”

How Long Does It Take To Get Reimbursed On Instacart?

It takes about a week or two. Reimbursements to shoppers on Instacart take 1-2 weeks, depending on your bank.

This is a relatively long time compared to the services’ advertisement of speedy deliveries.

Unfortunately, shoppers can do nothing to speed up a reimbursement except request a faster one and hope that the company will comply.

If you need money quickly for groceries or anything else;

Then this is not an ideal service for use unless you have extra money saved up from previous orders that haven’t been out-paid yet.

Instacart also takes things slowly to verify transactions and prevent fraud/problems with orders.

In 2014 alone, they had over 80 million worth of confirmed fraud, so it makes sense they’d want to keep things on the safe side.

Reimbursements get canceled if they’re not claimed after a certain amount of time, usually around four months.

If you have noticed that you have money waiting for reimbursement for this long, along with no action on your part to claim it.

Try contacting Instacart to see if your reimbursement is still in process or canceled due to lack of activity.

Also, you can reach them through the social media accounts listed below in the references section.

The response rate from Instacart’s customer service team varies depending on what platform you contact them through;

And how busy they are at the time so keep trying if you get a response saying they haven’t received your information or documents.

Why Won’t Instacart Take My Card?

Instacart may reject your card because you are not in their service area. To find out if you live in an area that Instacart services, go to the [Instacart zip code lookup tool].

You can also contact Instacart to ask them if they accept your card and what ZIP codes they service.

If you’re still having issues, try using another credit card. Ensure the expiration date and the billing address matches your current address (not a previous one).

If you recently moved, make sure your card information is fully updated at all of your billers.

There may also be other reasons Instacart cannot accept your payment:

– The payment would put us over our processing limits for this item or order

– You are outside our delivery area

– The delivery details are inconsistent with the physical card information you provided

– Your bank or financial institution declined your order. Contact them for any issues with your payment.

Can You Write Off-Gas For Instacart?

Since Instacart has been in use as a delivery service for food, I would say yes, you can write off the mileage of driving to pick up groceries (not limited to Instacart users).

Also, since gas is well considered a “necessary” expense by the IRS, it’s 100% deductible.

It’s possible to write off the cost of the groceries, but not the Instacart fee. However, you can deduct any tips if someone gives them to you.

Tips are taxable income at a rate of 15%.

You have to save all your receipts, and filing is a bit more complicated than usual because everything is mile-driven tracked rather than an hour worked.

If possible, I would suggest tracking it with an app like Stride Tax.

It’s worth noting that most food delivery services require a car to use their service for this reason.

What If Someone Picks Up My Instacart Order?

Instacart will cancel the order, and you will get your money refunded back to you.

Sometimes there is a delay between the customer’s order and Instacart sending someone to shop for them.

If you get an email of your order cancellation, this means that Instacart did not find anyone in time and had to cancel the order so it wouldn’t sit idle on our shopper’s phones.

If you want to avoid getting orders canceled, try setting up your account so you can shop within an hour of when the app sends out requests.

Why Am I Not Seeing Any Batches On Instacart?

This is because of stiff competition from other shoppers.

Many new shoppers who try Instacart find it challenging to complete all the deliveries for a single store, and they will quickly give up.

Most of them will close their accounts, so you will not see any deliveries at all, even if there is inventory.

Instacart had no choice but to lower the rates to attract more shoppers;

So your pay per hour is only $10-$12/hour on average now, whereas it used to be $14-16/hour in earlier days.

This has caused severe problems as many shoppers quit after some time because they can never earn enough money despite working very hard (Note: some still do).

New stores require a lot of legwork from a cart, including securing a dedicated route, preparing the list of products for delivery, etc.

Stores that are new or just starting usually have shallow inventory, which means you cannot do many deliveries on your first day or two.

The key is to finish all of them within 3-4 days so that they can come up with an excellent dedicated route for you.

How Do I Cancel My Instacart Subscription And Get A Refund?

You have to call Instacart customer care. Instacart’s phone number is (888) 248-2462. You can reach the customer service 24/7, even on holidays.

On average, it takes 20 minutes for an agent to answer your call. The customer support office is open every day except Saturday and Sunday.

However, Instacart’s holiday schedule may vary depending on the country where a shopper is a resident. So, you need to check their holiday schedule for your region in advance.

You’ll have to provide your contacts and order details when calling the Instacart phone number or contacting through another way, such as email or chat message.

When talking with a customer care representative, stay calm and answer all questions asked.


Instacart shoppers can get reimbursed for their purchases.

The reimbursement process is unique depending on the specific situation and how long ago you made your purchase.

So Instacart recommends you contact customer service to discuss what’s best for your needs.

You may also write off certain costs associated with being an Instacart shopper, such as gas, tolls, or parking fees if a company account does not cover them.


Hi! I' am Tom. I was a manager in one of the biggest stores for over 10 Years, am also an SEO by night. I don't like to call myself a blogger; they are very analytical, do email marketing, and know all SEO stuff. I faced many questions from customers about different products, and there was hardly any help on the internet. After learning all the things about these products as a manager the hard way, I decided to start a blog and help other people.

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