Does Instacart Charge More Than Store Prices?


Instacart is one of the most convenient options out there for people who are always on the run and do not have enough time to buy groceries. Yet, many Instacart users have a concern regarding the prices on Instacart and whether they are more than store prices or not.  

The truth is that Instacart may or may not charge you more than the store prices depending on the store you’re buying from. If you shop from a store that is partnered with Instacart, the prices will remain the same.  

However, this is not all. So, to find out a much detailed answer continue reading on!  

Does Instacart Charge More Than Store Prices? 

As mentioned earlier, Instacart doesn’t charge extra than store prices when it comes to the stores they are partnered up with.  

For instance, you may find various grocery stores available on Instacart. However, not all are partnered up with Instacart. So, if you go for a store that’s in a partnership with Instacart, then you’ll be charged simply store prices.  

On the other hand, if you go for a store that is not on the list, then you’ll have to pay extra than simply paying the store price. This extra price can be called the markup price.  

To give you an example, Instacart is known to charge an average of 15% extra on the grocery stores that are not partnered up and have a markup. So, if you have a bill of $100, you will have to pay around $100 along with $15 as the markup charge. Hence, overall, you’ll have to pay $150. 

On the other hand, there are grocery stores for which Instacart doesn’t charge the markup price. So, to avoid any extra costs, you can opt for those stores. Let’s take a look at which grocery stores you don’t have to pay an extra price.  

For Which Stores Does Instacart Not Charge Extra?  

If you shop from the below-mentioned grocery stores, chances are that you wouldn’t have to pay prices that are more than the actual store prices.  

These stores include:  

  • Kroger 
  • Publix 
  • Safeway 
  • Petco  

So, if you buy anything from the above stores, you’ll be paying for the original prices. 

For Which Stores Instacart Charges Extra? 

Now, moving on to the stores for which Instacart does charge extra. These stores include renowned stores like – Costco and Aldi. So, if you purchase anything from these stores, you’ll most likely have to pay extra.  

For example, let’s talk about Costco. According to many people, if you purchase from Costco, you may have to pay up to 23% extra as markup. Yet, the benefit here is that you wouldn’t have to purchase a membership as required in the case of Costco. So, you can avoid all those membership costs and fees.  

Similarly, even at Aldi, you’ll have to pay extra for purchasing anything. However, the good thing here is that many products are often available at the same rate as the store price. But, a big limitation here is that you won’t be able to use any coupons or get offers on bulk products.  

Hence, overall, for big stores, like Costco and Aldi, you might have to pay extra.  

Does Instacart Notify You About the Markup Rate?  

The answer is – both yes and no. Now, due to customer complaints, Instacart does tell you if you’re paying anything extra for your purchases. However, the catch here is that they don’t give you the exact figure or percentage about how much extra you are paying. 

So, even if you do know you’re paying extra, you won’t know how much extra you are paying.  

Why Does Instacart Take Markup?  

Instacart may charge markup prices due to mainly the following reasons:  

1. Gaining Profits  

As Instacart is quite a big company, they have to have certain profits in order to sustain. Now, Instacart does take some extra charges like delivery fees, service fees, partnerships, etc.  

However, as they have to buy products at the same rate, they will charge a certain extra amount to keep up the profits, especially at stores that are not in partnership with Instacart.  

Contrarily, you won’t have to pay extra for stores that are in partnership with Instacart. This is because Instacart does get some amount of billed revenue from the partner grocery stores.  

2. Memberships  

In the case of stores, like Costco, that require you to take a membership, the markup price may be covering up the membership costs.  

Hence, one of the speculated reasons as to why Costco markup is so high is because Instacart might have to pay some amount to Costco. It is because Costco relies highly on memberships and when customers order via Instacart, they don’t have to pay for membership. This would mean a huge loss for Costco.  

So, to overcome that, Costco and Instacart may charge a higher markup.  

What Other Charges Does Instacart Take?  

Apart from the markup prices, Instacart is also known to take some other charges that you need to be aware of. These include:  

1. Delivery Charges  

You may already know that Instacart charges delivery fees. Now, this fee is also somewhat varying. For instance, the standard delivery fee is about $3.99. However, it may also go up to $10 on extremely busy days, like weekends.  

Another thing to keep in mind is that the delivery charges may also change depending on the time slot that you choose for getting the products delivered.  

2. Service Charges 

Instacart charges a minimum of $2 service fee. Yet, this fee also varies sometimes. But, most of the time, it is around $5 on your total order. However, in busy cities, like New York, it may go up to $7.5.  

3. Tips and Membership Cost (Optional Charges)  

Lastly, some optional charges include tips and membership costs for Instacart. When it comes to tips, you may get a suggestion of 5% on the total bill when you’re checking out. Hence, it is up to you to decide how much you want to tip or you don’t want to.  

You also get an optional membership option on Instacart. This may cost you around $99 per annum. The benefit here is that you won’t have to pay additional delivery charges on orders over $35. You may also be charged reduced service fees.  

Should You Go For Instacart or Not?  

So, now, the question arises whether you should go for Instacart or not. For this, let’s see some benefits and limitations too to understand whether Instacart would be the best option for you.  

Pros of Instacart:  

Some of the best benefits of Instacart include:  

  • Convenience 

One of the biggest benefits of Instacart is how convenient it is, especially for those who don’t have time to shop for groceries.  

So, if you’re a parent who has to constantly keep an eye out on your kids, then Instacart is extremely convenient. This way you won’t have to worry about your kids.  

Moreover, it is also convenient in the COVID-19 times, as you don’t have to be around a crowd. You can safely shop for groceries without worrying about getting infected.  

  • Great Option For Elderly and Disabled Customers  

Instacart is undoubtedly an excellent option for both elderly and disabled people. These people may face an issue while going to grocery stores. There’s always a risk of standing in huge lines which may not be convenient.  

But, with Instacart it becomes easy to order whatever you want and get it delivered to the doorstep. Additionally, Instacart also has a special service line for elderly people.  

  • Excellent Availability and Plenty of Options 

Lastly, Instacart is available in pretty much all the main cities. Moreover, it also has a lot of grocery store options to choose from.  

In fact, you can also order items again after two hours of the first order if you forget something you want urgently.  

Cons of Instacart: 

Some Instacart limitations include:  

  • Additional Charges  

As mentioned earlier, you may have to pay extra if you’re shopping from some specific grocery store, like Costco.  

You may also have to pay up to $10 to $15 extra for delivery charges, service charges, tips (if you want). Hence, the overall bill will cost more.  

  • Not Available in Certain Areas  

Even if Instacart is available in mostly the main cities, it isn’t available in many other rural or small cities. This is a huge drawback.  

  • Not Great For Frequent and Bulk Orders  

Lastly, as mentioned above, Instacart may charge a 15% markup price. So, if you’re planning to purchase groceries frequently or in bulk, it may cost you more.  

For instance, if your total billing amount is around $300, you’ll have to pay $45 (or even more!) extra if markup prices are applied.  

Final Thoughts  

In conclusion, Instacart doesn’t charge extra in the case of stores that are partnered up with Instacart. However, it does charge an extra 15% amount (average) in the case of non-partnership stores. So, the total billing amount depends on the store you’re buying groceries from.  

When it comes to deciding whether Instacart is good enough or not, it is all up to you. If you want convenience, go for it. If you want affordable prices and no hidden/extra costs, you may want to reconsider using Instacart.  

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