This is my in-depth review of Capital One Shopping.
In this review I’ll share:
- What I like (and don’t like) about it.
- My experience using the extension and redeeming credits for gift cards.
- When it makes sense to use Capital One Shopping vs. alternatives like Honey.
- The type of online shopper that will benefit most.
Note: Capital One Shopping used to be called Wikibuy, but its name was changed in October 2020. You don’t need to be a Capital One bank or credit card user to take advantage of the features mentioned in this review, which are offered independently from the company’s financial services products.
Capital One Shopping is a free browser extension with the aim to help you save money shopping online. The features we found most helpful were the ability to search for and test coupon codes automatically, as well as its cash-back functionality. In our testing, other apps sometimes found a better coupon code or had a higher cash-back rate. But overall, what’s to like about Capital One Shopping is that it's an all-in-one tool that more often than not saves you time and money. So if you’re not the type to spend 30 or more minutes looking for that perfect coupon code, Capital One Shopping is a must-have browser extension.
- Free to download.
- Very easy to use.
- Works directly in the browser.
- Doesn't guarantee highest cash-back rate or best coupon code.
- Limited cash-out options (no Amazon or PayPal).
What Is Capital One Shopping?
For most of us, Amazon is the go-to online shopping destination. It’s where we look first and, increasingly, it’s the only place we look at all. Amazon has such a strong reputation for offering low prices that we’ve come to take that as a given.
But it’s not always the case that Amazon actually has the best deal on a particular item. There are tens of thousands of online retailers of all shapes and sizes, and that’s to say nothing of the thousands of private sellers operating on sites like eBay.
Meanwhile, coupon and promo codes can be a great way to save money, but they’re often frustrating. Finding a legit coupon code is hard, and you can waste a lot of time sifting through mounds of web spam before coming across one that actually works.
Capital One Shopping is a free browser extension that aims to solve these issues.
To start, when shopping on Amazon and a few other select retailers, Capital One Shopping shows if lower prices are available elsewhere.
The extension also provides working coupon and promo codes, when available, with the click of a button (as shown in the short video clip below).
Plus, it lets you know when you can get extra cash-back for shopping at a particular store (this cash-back credits to your account and can be redeemed for gift cards).
There are a few more features, which we’ll list and explain in the next section. But the above three — price comparison, applying coupon codes and cash-back — are the three ways you stand to benefit most.
Capital One Shopping’s Six Money-Saving Features
Capital One Shopping offers more than one way to help save money. Below, we’ll dive more into the features we discussed above, as well as other ways the tool can help you save.
#1. Price Comparison Tool
The price comparison tools works on Amazon, Target, Home Depot and Best Buy.
When you’re browsing on Amazon, for example, Capital One Shopping works in the background checking prices at hundreds of other retailers and sellers.
The plugin adds a widget directly to the Amazon page that tells you whether there’s a lower price in its large database of retailers. In the example below, Capital One Shopping wasn’t able to find a lower price.
But as we noted above, Amazon doesn’t always have the best price.
For example, when I was researching for this article I discovered that I could save $22.61 on Apple AirPods by purchasing them somewhere other than Amazon.
These savings opportunities are also shown directly on the Amazon page via the Capital One Shopping widget.
Clicking on the icon opens a popup with a few more details and a comparison table:
Clicking “Continue to Capital One Shopping” takes you to a page where you can view not only the top offers for the item in the service’s database, but also historical price data.
In the screenshot below, you can see that the lower price on AirPods is offered by an eBay seller. Just click “Save $22” and you’re sent to eBay, where you can complete the transaction.
#2. Automated Price Protection
Select retailers offer price protection policies, meaning that you’re entitled to a refund if the price of an item you purchased goes down within a designated period of time (usually around 14 days).
Of course, the catch is that you have to pay attention to the price of items you’ve already purchased, which isn’t a practical use of most people’s time.
Capital One Shopping can not only monitor your purchases for price drops, but in many cases it can automatically request a refund from the retailer. This feature was added in late 2021, after Capital One Shopping merged with the popular price drop protection app Paribus.
Here are some key facts about Capital One Shopping’s price protection feature:
- It requires email access. The feature works by scanning online shopping receipts found in your inbox and archives, which means you have to grant it permission to view your emails.
- It uses proprietary technology to identify and open only online shopping emails (i.e., receipts and shipping confirmations). In other words, the service does not open all of your emails — only those it thinks are shopping-related. However, it should go without saying that there’s no guarantee emails won’t be mistakenly opened by the service.
- It only works with Gmail, Yahoo! and Outlook.
How well does price protection actually work? Prior to merging with Capital One Shopping, Paribus had filed $20 million in claims on behalf of its customers. The biggest limitation of this feature is that the number of monitored retailers is fairly small.
#3. Automated Coupon Codes
When you’re shopping on a participating retailer’s website, Capital One Shopping will test out various coupon codes. There are hundreds of participating sites, including AT&T, Dell, Kohl’s, T.J.Maxx, Walmart and more.
Where do these coupons come from?
Well, the answer to that question is part of what makes the service such a powerful money-saving tool.
While some of the codes it tests are publicly available, others are crowdsourced: they’re codes that have previously been used by other Capital One Shopping members.
Here’s an example of the system in action: Say your favorite clothing brand emails you a special “members only” promotional code for 25% off your next order. When you enter that code at checkout, Capital One Shopping adds it to its database of codes for that site.
The next time a user goes to check out with that merchant, the browser extension will test the code to see if it’s still valid.
This means you can potentially tap into a wide array of savings that you would never have known existed or had access to.
Capital One Shopping tests all of the available coupon codes in its database and applies the best of the bunch. Depending on the store’s policy, you may be able to use more than one code.
Whether you’re able to use one code, multiple codes or none, the entire process is handled automatically and usually takes just a couple of seconds.
#4. Universal Product Search Engine
Capital One Shopping’s product search engine is essentially the same feature as the Amazon price comparison widget, except that you don’t need to be on Amazon to use it — you can simply open the browser extension and enter the item you’re shopping for, as shown below.
Clicking on the product’s name will take you to a Capital One Shopping search results page, where you can browse a variety of matching offers.
The product search engine results page has all sorts of useful information including:
- Offers from other sellers including tax and shipping charges.
- A chart showing the price history of the item from the past 30 days up to the past 365 days.
- 30-day insights, including current savings; Amazon’s price; the average, best and highest price; and price volatility as a percentage.
- The top alternatives (similar products to the one you’re watching).
- YouTube reviews.
- Professional reviews.
- Related products.
You can also use the search engine when browsing products in brick-and-mortar stores. Just scan the barcode and you’ll be taken directly to the product’s page.
#5. Capital One Shopping Credits
Capital One Shopping Credits, which can be redeemed for gift cards, are awarded as a percentage of your spending at partnered retailers.
When you’re on the site of a partner, the extension button will show the percentage of Credits you can earn. All you have to do is “activate” the offer by clicking the button — it’s essentially free money.
When you then log in to your account, you can see your Shopping Credit balance, plus every shopping trip that was activated (even if it resulted in no purchase).
Additionally, there may be local stores in your area that have partnered with Capital One Shopping to offer Shopping Credit promotions; to earn Credits this way, enroll in the Local Offers program, link an eligible debit or credit card, and then check the “Local Offers” section on the site or app to see the deals near you.
One downside to Capital One Shopping is its limited withdrawal options (pictured below). What’s notably missing is Amazon, PayPal or a Visa gift card. Therefore, you’re somewhat limited here compared to other sites.
To redeem rewards for a gift card, you’re asked to input your credit card information for identity verification and security purposes. If you have enough rewards in your account for the gift card you want, the amount in the “Total” field will show “$0.00” and your credit card will not be charged.
However, you also have the option of rounding up your gift card purchase. For example, I recently had a rewards balance of $18.75 but wanted to get a $20 gift card. As shown in the screenshot below, Capital One Shopping allowed my to pay the difference of $1.25.
Capital One Shopping does not store your credit card information. Instead, your credit card is processed by Stripe, an industry leader in online payments. Your data is safe and secure.
The gift card is issued instantly and can access it when you sign in to the Capital One Shopping website.
#6. Price Drop Notifications
As its name suggests, Capital One Shopping’s price drop notification feature lets you know when an item goes down in price.
When paired with the service’s historical price charts (which allow you to view an item’s price data over a period of 30 days to one year) this has the potential to be a valuable tool that helps you avoid overpaying.
However, after signing up for and testing the service, we were uncertain about how the price drop feature actually works. The tool is poorly documented in the service’s help files, and our confusion stemmed in part from trying to understand the following settings panel in the user dashboard:
As you can see, the settings allow you to choose when and where you’d like to be “notified.” But as you may have also noticed, the options don’t really make sense in the context of price drop notifications.
So we reached out to the company for clarification, and here’s the answer: the settings above refer to on page notifications. They control when and where you’re alerted about a better price for an item you’re actively shopping for and/or are in the process of buying.
In other words, they are totally unrelated to price drops.
Given that, we still wanted to understand and clarify how the price drop feature works. So here are some key facts, based on our conversations with the company.
- Users are notified of price drops by email only. There are no text messages or push notifications.
- You cannot choose which items you’d like to be notified about. The extension keeps a record of all the items you’ve viewed, and it may (or may not) alert you about any number of them.
- You cannot set a notification threshold. The service decides when a price drop is worth flagging.
- Emails are sent twice per week, typically on Tuesday and Thursday. However, you’ll usually only receive an email on one of those days.
- Not all users receive price drop notifications. According to the company, only people who have viewed more than four products and have $20 in cumulative savings will receive an email.
The lack of customization options limits the feature’s usefulness. Since you can’t control what you’ll be notified about (or when), it doesn’t make sense to defer a purchase until there’s a great price on a given item (because you might never be notified about that deal)
With that said, it can still be helpful to receive price notifications about things like big-ticket items that you don’t need to purchase immediately (where a 10% discount might result in hundreds of dollars of savings), and seasonal items (like sporting goods) that you’re willing to buy in the offseason.
How to Add Capital One Shopping
The extension is quick and easy to install.
- Go to CapitalOneShopping.com.
Enter your email address and create a password. You can also log in with your Google or Facebook account.
- Select “Add Capital One Shopping to X” (where “X” represents the web browser you use).
If you don’t see “Add Capital One Shopping,” update your browser or switch to a compatible one. The service is compatible with the latest versions of Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge and Safari.
- Select “Add Extension” or “Allow” when prompted.
If you’re redirected to the add-on or extension store for your browser, select “Get” or “Install” on the store page.
- Answer a few questions about yourself.
- Select “Continue to my Capital One Shopping page” or close out the window.
Once Capital One Shopping has been added to your browser, you’ll see a green “S” followed by a period (S.) in the extension section of your web browser.
iOS and Android App
The service’s mobile app can be downloaded from the App Store for your iPhone or the Google Play Store for your Android device. The mobile app is not the same as the browser extension, and you should view it more as a companion product.
It allows you to search for items or scan barcodes when you’re out shopping, and it will show you different prices from popular retailers. You then have the option to order the item at the better price directly through the app.
Capital One Shopping Downsides
#1. It can slow down your browser
The extension, like any other extension or add-on software, has the potential to negatively impact your browser’s performance. This hasn’t been a problem in my testing, but it may be noticeable for some users.
#2. It collects a ton of data
Capital One Shopping tracks and records things like user-provided information (email, address, etc.), cookies, location information, third-party beacons and buttons, payment information and transaction data.
While it is a legit service, it’s important to always remember the adage that in the internet age, if a service is free then you are the product.
For many users, providing that data is a fair exchange for the savings you can get by using the service.
#3. It may not always find the lowest available price
There are millions of retailers on the web and no service can monitor them all. Capital One Shopping focuses on the largest, most popular stores. That does eliminate a lot of the research a buyer has to do, but not all of it.
Would I bother manually researching the lowest price on a 12-pack of paper towels? No. But if I were making a substantial online purchase — like a mattress or a computer — I would use this as a starting point and do a little additional research myself.
#4. Offers are sometimes out of date, which wastes time
Because retailers change their prices so frequently, including coupon codes, Capital One Shopping may show you an offer that’s no longer available when you try to place the order.
Similarly, sometimes the service will show you an item that’s already been sold on eBay, or that has recently become out of stock.
#5. You may be able to get a better deal by utilizing a cash-back shopping portal
It can pay to think about more than the sticker price. For example, if Capital One Shopping shows you an offer that’s 5% less than Amazon’s price, but you can get 10% cash-back by going through a cash-back shopping portal like Swagbucks or Rakuten, then you’re better off opting for the latter in spite of the higher price.
At the same time, you may be able to reverse engineer this by checking Capital One Shopping for lower prices, then visiting those retailers directly through one of the cash-back portals mentioned above.
It’s also worth noting that Capital One Shopping Credits are usually among the highest-tier of cash-back shopping rates — though it’s always a good idea to check a couple of different portals to see which one is offering the better deal.
Capital One Shopping vs. Honey
Personally, I find both extensions useful, and therefore have them both installed. (Keeping in mind, you can only earn cash-back from one app per purchase.)
I’ve found the cash-back rates are often different between the two, so it’s worth testing both to see which has the best rate. There have also been times when one was able to find a working coupon code and the other wasn’t.
If you’re not familiar with Honey (which is owned by PayPal), the biggest difference is that it is particularly useful for Amazon shoppers.
A few useful features are:
First, Honey shows you if an item is available from a different seller (i.e., a third-party seller) on the site for a lower price.
Second, Honey tells you if an item on Amazon constantly fluctuates in price.
Then, with the click of a button, it takes you to a page that shows the price history.
Honey, however, doesn’t monitor other sites for the lowest price.
Overall, I’ve found Honey the better tool when shopping on Amazon, while Capital One Shopping is more useful for other retail sites.
Learn more in our Honey review.
Frequently Asked Questions
The site, app and browser extension are safe, but the service does collect a lot of information on users, including browsing and shopping behavior.
The service is currently only available in the United States, but plans to expand internationally in the future.
These are the steps to remove the extension from Chrome:
1. Right-click on the Capital One Shopping button in the browser window.
2. Select “Manage Extensions.”
3. Click “Remove Extensions” at the bottom of the screen to delete it.
Removing the extension from other browsers is done in a similar way, though the exact wording and process may be different.
Wikibuy was founded as an independent company, and was later purchased by Capital One. For a while, it was officially known as “Wikibuy from Capital One,” but its name was changed in October 2020 — presumably to better leverage Capital One’s name recognition and overall positive reputation.
Capital One Shopping Review: Final Thoughts
Once I find something I want to buy online, it becomes a game for me to find it for the lowest possible price.
Whether that’s using a site like Cashback Monitor to know where I can get the most cashback, setting deal alerts to aid in saving money, or utilizing a credit card strategy like the Chase Trifecta that’s going to maximize my rewards.
I enjoy this game. It takes time, but saving a few extra bucks puts a smile on my face.
Others (like my wife) don’t enjoy this game at all. They want the simplest and most straightforward method for finding a great deal.
So if you’re an online shopper looking for a shortcut to finding great deals, this is certainly a simple, effective and easy-to-use option.
That’s especially true thanks to its ability to let you know if there are better offers for an item at a different online retailer that you might not have known about, potentially saving you significant money with minimal effort. Plus, its strategy of crowdsourcing digital coupons means it has a large, up-to-date database of discount codes that get tested and applies automatically during checkout..
*Capital One Shopping compensates us when you sign up for the service using the links provided.