Our Secret Weapon for Getting Money Back When We Shop Online
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in 2016 and updated by The Penny Hoarder staff in 2018.
I’m a notorious email saver.
I rarely delete anything — especially not receipts.
Turns out that was a smart policy. In the past few months, I’ve earned $22 in refunds. And all I did was shop online like I normally do.
Paribus Review: How to Get Money Back for Online Purchases
My new secret weapon is called Paribus — a free tool that helps you get money back for your online purchases.
Intrigued? Wondering how saving your emails could earn you money?
Then keep reading.
How Paribus Works
Let’s run through a hypothetical. Say you purchase a toaster online from Target for $20. The next week, Target drops the price to $15.
Like many retailers, Target offers price protection within an item’s return window, so you’re entitled to a refund for the difference.
The only problem? None of us have time to check whether prices have dropped on our purchases.
That’s why Paribus is handy.
It scans your email archives for receipts. If it discovers you’ve purchased something from one of its more than 25 monitored retailers, it tracks the item’s price.
If Paribus notices the price went down on the toaster you bought, it alerts you and contacts Target (or one of the other monitored retailers) on your behalf or tells you how to easily claim a refund yourself.
To uphold its price-protection policy, Target refunds the $5 difference to your original method of payment — so you’d earn money without wasting your time watching the price.
Stores Paribus Monitors
Before signing up, you’ll want to see whether Paribus is worth your time. If you shop from one of the retailers it monitors for price drops, chances are, it will be.
To read more about which stores Paribus monitors and each retailer’s price-protection policy, check out the policy guides.
How to Sign up for Paribus
Signing up for Paribus is free — and super simple.
Head over to its website, and enter your email address.
Note: Paribus is only compatible with Gmail, Yahoo and Microsoft accounts. If you use a different provider, you have an option to set up an an auto-forwarding filter, which will forward your digital receipts to a Gmail, Yahoo or Microsoft account. When you enroll, you’ll give Paribus permission to search your email for receipts send refund claim emails on your behalf.
Once you sign up, the items you’ve most recently purchased at monitored stores will show up on your dashboard. You’ll be able to see whether the price dropped and whether Paribus filed a refund for you.
If you want to see what others have earned from Paribus, click “Deals.”
Here are a few deals folks had recently scored as of the most recent writing:
Is This Too Good to Be True? Is Paribus Safe?
The idea that Paribus is tapping into your emails makes some people feel iffy.
But the company has earned a B+ through the Better Business Bureau, which notes the score might have been affected by the length of time the business has been in operation (since 2014). Since 2016, Paribus has been owned by Capital One, which has an A+.
Now, Let’s Address Some Paribus Complaints
Some folks have posted online about Paribus not finding them any refunds. Sometimes, that’s just the case. It all depends on where and how often you shop and a store’s policy. Remember, the stores are actually the ones issuing the refunds — not Paribus.
If you have any technical issues, you can always reach out to its support team. Additionally, if at any time you want to cancel your account and remove all information, head over to “Settings” and click “Delete Paribus Account.”
So Will I Continue to Use Paribus?
Because I do most of my shopping online — where prices fluctuate all the time, even within the same day — I’ve been super happy with Paribus so far.
Honestly, the fact it’s so effortless is my favorite thing about it.
For me, giving Paribus access to my emails is worth it — and one of the easiest ways I’ve found to save money when I’m shopping online.
Disclosure: Paribus compensates us when you sign up using the links we provide.
Susan Shain is a freelance writer and digital nomad. She covers travel, food and personal finance (basically, how to save money so you can travel more and eat more). Visit her blog at susanshain.com, or say hi on Twitter @susan_shain.
Carson Kohler, a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder, contributed updates to this article.