It was sometime after I applied for our Capital One Venture X cards that I started to get emails about Capital One Shopping. At the time, I figured that it was similar to shopping portals from other credit cards, like Chase, where you could earn extra points in the program. While I was wrong about that (more on that later), over the past year I’ve come to appreciate Capital One Shopping and haven’t uninstalled the browser plugin that I got to test drive the program.
Here are some things about Capital One Shopping that might not be evident to first-time users.
While the Capital One Shopping program would seem to be a part of Capital One, it runs independently of the bank and from the Capital One point program. You don’t even need a Capital One account to sign up.
All of the “awards” you’ll earn can only be used to redeem gift cards from affiliated retailers. Fortunately, many large stores like Walmart, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Bass Pro Shop, Belk, and Petco are partners with Capital One.
My first experience using Capital One Shopping was a bit of a fluke. I tried to take advantage of a sale on Saucony running shoes but found out the pair I wanted wasn’t part of the promotion. A few days later, I received an email offering me $42 back on the same shoes I was looking for.
I stacked that with an AMEX offer (remember you don’t have to use a Capital One card) and saved $62 on my purchase.
I chalked that up to being a one-time fluke on a pair of expensive sneakers. However, I’ve left the browser extension on ever since. For most of my boring Amazon.com purchases, all it has done is tell me that Amazon is the lowest price. I’ve saved some money here and there when the extension applied discount codes to orders I made at Macy’s and eBay.
My luck changed when I started to look at items during Amazon’s Early Access (2nd Prime Day) sales. While shopping for a new MacBook Air, it showed me some offers but with a Membership Rewards “buy with points” promotion, the price on Amazon was lower.
I learned that when Capital One Shopping’s browser extension compares prices, it subtracts the amount you’ll get back from the purchase price. So if Amazon is charging $100 but another website is charging $120 but giving a 40% rebate, you’ll see a savings of $28. Just remember that the rebate isn’t in cash but a credit you need to redeem via a gift card.
Can You Save Money Using Capital One Shopping?
Undoubtedly yes. You can save money using Capital One Shopping, as long as you won’t have difficulties spending the money earned at one of the merchants on the list of gift card options.
Here is how exciting my life is. I needed air filters for our AC system. Last time, I found a good deal on Amazon.com. However, the price has increased significantly since my previous purchase. Capital One Shopping showed me that I could buy the same item from a different website at the same price as Amazon and receive a 35% rebate.
Even if Capital One Shopping doesn’t have a considerable discount, you might find an item unavailable on Amazon. During the Early Access sale, I was looking to buy a pair of Beats earbuds for $99 (which usually go for $149). Unfortunately, they sold out before I could order them.
Capital One Shopping alerted me that Walmart.com was selling the same item for $99 and I’d get a 2% rebate. I purchased them from Walmart, which matched the Amazon sale price.
How Does The Browser Extension Work?
Capital One Shopping offers browser extensions for Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari and Microsoft Edge. Once installed, the extension will scan the items you shop for online and look for discount codes on the website and alternate sites with lower prices for the same item.
For instance, if I go to Marriott.com to search for a hotel, Capital One Shopping informs me that there’s a rebate available that I could activate with a single click.
While this is easy to activate, it also reminds me that I should check Cashback Monitor to see if any other portals offer a better deal.
The browser extension’s other function is finding better prices for specific items.
For example, I looked at a pair of Bose headphones on Amazon.com.
The box with “Save $143” is the browser extension letting me know that I could do much better than the $330 price on Amazon. The same item was for sale on eBay for much less. Clicking on the banner takes me to the website.
While I’m not casting aspersions at eBay sellers, I question when someone is selling an item for so much less than the usual price. I know that it’s possible the item was purchased at a large discount and the seller wants to flip it quickly. However, I also know that many goods of questionable origin are sold on eBay (and other sites). When paying over $200 for headphones, I want some type of security that the item is genuine and not so hot that it’s going to burn my fingers.
Luckily, Capital One Shopping also shows you a list of other websites selling the item.
One of the offers was from Focus Camera.
After adding tax and subtracting the rebate from Capital One Shopping, the adjusted price is $258. That’s a big difference from the $330 plus tax I’d pay with Amazon.com.
I checked with Cashback Monitor and the 3% back from Capital One Shopping is one of the best returns from Focus Camera. However, you could save 3.15% at Top Cashback, and 2% at Ratuken, Chase and American Aadvantage portals.
If you use the Capital One Shopping browser extension, there are some things to remember.
If you don’t want a program looking at every website you visit, you can turn off the extension and only activate it when you’re shopping.
In addition, if you’re going to use other shopping portals, I’d suggest using a different browser to make the purchases. That way there’s no way for the Capital One Shopping extension to “steal” the referral and credit the purchase to itself. I’m not saying that this happens, but it’s better to be safe if you want to buy something through Alaska’s shopping portal, not Capital One Shopping.
Before now, I was never a big fan of browser extensions. They didn’t provide any added value and occasionally referred me to a deal worse than what I could easily find myself.
However, the Capital One Shopping portal works in several ways. It looks for better deals on specific items, discount codes, and rebates through its portal. There’s also a “Price-drop” feature where you can have it alert you if the price of an item you’re looking at goes down, which I haven’t tried out.
From my experience, it does what it says it’s going to and has helped me save money with minimal effort.
Cover Photo by Pixabay
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