In this in-depth Capital One Shopping review I’ll explain:
- What I like (and don’t like) about the platform.
- The seven best money-saving features.
- How you can earn “shopping credits” that are redeemable for free gift cards.
- When it makes sense to use Capital One Shopping vs. an alternative like Honey.
- The type of online shopper that will benefit most.
Note: You don’t need to be a Capital One cardholder to use Capital One Shopping. The browser extension and app are free and unrelated to the company’s financial services products.
Capital One Shopping is a free browser extension that helps you save money when shopping online, with features including automated coupon code lookup, price drop notifications, and “Shopping Credits,” which are points earned by making purchases at participating merchants. (Shopping Credits can be redeemed for gift cards.) If you take advantage of Capital One Shopping’s “Exclusive Deals” feature (explained below), you can earn far more than any alternative offers, making this browser extension a must-have tool for any frequent online shopper.
- Exclusive Deals offer incredible rewards compared to other options.
- Very easy to use.
- Works directly in your browser (no need to visit a website before shopping).
- Doesn't guarantee the highest reward rate or best coupon code.
- Limited cash-out options (no Amazon or PayPal).
- Exclusive Deals don't appear until at least a day later.
- Extensive data is shared with the company.
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 you if a lower price is available somewhere else.
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 is called “Shopping Credits” and can be redeemed for gift cards).
Capital One Shopping’s Seven Money-Saving Features
Capital One Shopping offers multiple ways to help save money, including price comparison, automated coupon codes and cash-back. While not as well-known, it also has a valuable “Exclusive Deals” feature that stood out in our testing as one of the best cash-back tools we’ve ever used.
#1. Exclusive Deals
Exclusive Deals are bonus rates at specific merchants that you’ve previously visited. For example, let’s say you visit Macys.com and browse items but do not actually buy anything. The next day, you might get an Exclusive Deal on a purchase at Macy’s.
This is made possible by the fact that when you install the browser extension, you’re required to allow it to track the websites you visit. We’ll cover safety and privacy concerns in more detail later in this review, but from a savings standpoint, these offers are among the best we’ve ever seen on a cash-back platform.
These deals are usually (but not always) sent the day after you visit a website, and only if you didn’t make a purchase. In my experience, they most often appear for Capital One Shopping’s featured partners.
To locate Exclusive Deals, open the Capital One Shopping website or app, click “My Rewards & Savings,” and then click “Discover.”
In my case, I had visited both the Saks Fifth Avenue and Macy’s websites while looking for a new hoodie. The next day, after not making a purchase, I got the offers pictured above from Capital One Shopping.
Here’s the kicker: these massive cash-back rates are for your entire purchase, not just the individual item. You don’t even have to purchase the advertised item to get the promo rate on your transaction.
In the case of Saks Fifth Avenue, the highest cash-back rate publicly available when writing this review was 10%. That means Capital One Shopping’s Exclusive Deals feature provided a 17% bonus.
#2. Price Comparison Tool
Capital One Shopping’s price comparison tools works on Amazon. When you’re browsing the site, the extension 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.
#3. 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.
#4. 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.
#5. 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.
#6. 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 me to pay the difference of $1.25.
Note! Capital One Shopping does not store your credit card information. Instead, your credit card is processed by Stripe, an industry leader in online payments.
The gift card is issued instantly and can access it when you sign in to the Capital One Shopping website.
Capital One Shopping’s Watchlist 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.
#8. Capital One Shopping Hotels
Hotels are an ideal purchase category for earning Shopping Credits due to their high price.
I’ve loved Rakuten for this, as they often have flash deals that allow you to earn around 10% back on hotel stays. On a multi-night stay, this can add up to a significant amount.
Capital One Shopping has rolled out a similar feature that allows you to earn Shopping Credits in their program for stays.
Testing out a few locations, I saw many rates above 5%.
When compared to Google Hotels, prices are often lower after applying Credits — but I did find some cases where the prices were indeed higher.
I’ve written before about Capital One Business Deals, which is separate from Capital One Shopping, and how they occasionally have some unbeatable rates on hotels through their partner Priceline. And, while not every hotel was available through their program, I did find even lower rates with this tool.
For example, the Waldorf Astoria Chicago had the following price points for the three tools on the same night:
|Capital One Shopping||$717.08 (after credits)|
|Capital One Business Deals||$511|
In short, I found their hotels functionality good, but if you’re shopping for hotels on a regular basis, I would definitely recommend Capital One Business Deals.
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 Capital One Shopping 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.
Another nice feature of the app is that you can check to see if any Exclusive Deals have been offered to you.
Note that the mobile app isn’t to be confused with the Capital One Shopping mobile browser extension, which allows you to take advantage of the features of the Capital One Shopping desktop extension on your smartphone browser. When I tested it on iOS, it worked on Safari but not Chrome.
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.
If you’re concerned about the data Capital One Shopping collects from you, a good tip is to use Capital One Shopping under a separate username in your preferred browser. For example, if you use Chrome, you can create a user just for Capital One Shopping.
The advantage of this is that Capital One Shopping will only track your data when logged in under that user. The disadvantage is that you might miss out on Exclusive Deals based on your browser history (if you do not shop as that user on a regular basis).
#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.
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.
Capital One Shopping FAQs
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 at the lowest possible price. 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.
Capital One Shopping can help both types of people.
If you’re just looking for a quick way to get up-to-date coupon codes, this is one of the easiest options available.
Or, if you enjoy getting every dollar of savings you can muster, Capital One Shopping’s Exclusive Deals are one of the best online shopping hacks I’ve ever come across. You’ll often have to wait a day before making your purchase, and it’s not guaranteed to work every time, but when it does, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better deal.
*Capital One Shopping compensates us when you sign up for the service using the links provided.