Our Secret Weapon for Getting Money Back When We Shop Online

Cash being sorted on January 5th, 2018. St Petersburg Florida
Carmen Mandato/The Penny Hoarder
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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.

Capital One Shopping Price Protection Review: How to Get Money Back for Online Purchases

My new secret weapon is called Capital One Shopping Price Protection — 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 Price Protection Works

Let’s run through a hypothetical. Say you purchase a toaster online for $20. The next week, the price drops to $15.

Many retailers offer 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 Price Protection 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 Capital One Shopping Price Protection notices the price went down on the toaster you bought, it alerts you and contacts the store (as long as it’s one of the more than 25 monitored major retailers) on your behalf or tells you how to easily claim a refund yourself.

To uphold its price-protection policy, the store refunds the $5 difference to your original method of payment — so you’d earn money without wasting your time watching the price.

Stores Price Protection Monitors

Before signing up, you’ll want to see whether Price Protection 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 Price Protection monitors and each retailer’s price-protection policy, check out the policy guides.

How to Sign up for Capital One Shopping Price Protection

Signing up for Price Protection is free — and super simple.

Head over to its website, and enter your email address.

Note: Capital One Shopping Price Protection 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 Capital One Shopping Price Protection 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 Capital One Shopping Price Protection filed a refund for you.

If you want to see what others have earned from Price Protection, 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 Capital One Shopping Price Protection Safe?

The idea that Price Protection 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, Price Protection has been owned by Capital One, which has an A+.

Now, Let’s Address Some Capital One Shopping Price Protection Complaints

Some folks have posted online about Price Protection 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 Price Protection.

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 Price Protection Account.”

So Will I Continue to Use Capital One Shopping Price Protection?

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 Price Protection so far.

Honestly, the fact it’s so effortless is my favorite thing about it.

For me, giving Capital One Shopping Price Protection 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: Capital One Shopping Price Protection 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.