There are many reasons to shop online, not the least of them being convenience and selection. With just a couple mouse clicks, we can get almost any item from anywhere in the world dropped off on our doorstep in a matter of days.
Still, the biggest motivating factor driving most of us to shop online is the desire to save money.
We rightly recognize that most items are cheaper online than in brick-and-mortar stores — and that’s before taking into account things like rewards and cash-back shopping programs, which can dramatically increase our overall savings.
But how can you be sure that you really are getting a great deal when you shop online?
That’s one of the questions we’ll touch on in this Capital One Shopping review, which highlights the features, benefits and drawbacks of this free service.
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.
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 both of those online shopping problems. It will show if lower prices are available on another site, and then provide working coupon or promo codes so that you can save even more.
The service has a few distinct functions and features, which we’ll list and explain in the next section.
But at the most basic level, it acts as an online shopping price comparison tool. Once added to your browser, it will tell you whether or not the Amazon item you’re viewing is available somewhere else for less money.
Similarly to the more well-known browser extension called Honey, Capital One Shopping also searches the web for coupon and promo codes, and then automatically tests them for validity. When it finds one that works, it applies the code to your cart at checkout.
Capital One Shopping’s Five Money-Saving Features
Capital One Shopping offers more than one way to help save money. The five features listed below each provide online shoppers with a unique and valuable benefit.
#1. Amazon Price Comparison Tool
If your primary online shopping destination is Amazon, you’re going to love the service’s Amazon price comparison tool.
When you’re browsing on Amazon, 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 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 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 the codes 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 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 — as was the case in the screenshot below.
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.
#3. 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 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 Wikibuy page.
#4. 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.
Additionally, there may be local stores in your area that have partnered with Capital One Shopping to offer credits.
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.
This method of earning cash-back is similar to that offered by Dosh.
Capital One Shopping Credits — as with Dosh cash-back — can be used to purchase gift cards from dozens of companies, including Barnes & Noble, Sephora, Staples, Walmart and others.
#5. 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 decrease 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 Wikibuy 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 app can be downloaded from the App Store for your iPhone or the Google Play Store for your Android device.
The 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 negatively impact your browser’s performance. This hasn’t been a problem in our 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 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 shopping through a rewards 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 worth checking a couple of different portals.
Capital One Shopping vs. Honey
If the whole concept of Capital One Shopping seems familiar, you may have heard of Honey, which is another browser extension that automatically applies coupon codes for the items in your shopping cart on big retail websites.
Honey (which is now owned by PayPal) is particularly useful for Amazon shoppers. It will show you if an item is available from a different seller (i.e., a third-party seller) on the site for a lower price, and shows you the Amazon price history of the item so you can see if now is the best time to buy, or if the price tends to fluctuate.
But Honey doesn’t monitor other sites for the lowest price, nor is there a mobile app (meaning you can only use the site on a desktop computer).
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.
It depends on the browser you have the extension installed on. These are the steps to remove it from Chrome:
— Right-click on the Capital One Shopping button in the browser window.
— Select “Manage Extensions.”
— 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 cash-back, 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 when an item is available for less at a different online retailer that you might not have known about, potentially saving you significant money with minimal effort.
*Capital One Shopping compensates us when you sign up for the service using the links provided