If you've done any online shopping recently, you may have come across Capital One Shopping. This site, owned by the major financial services company, Capital One, promises cash back and other shopping rewards when you shop online through the Capital One shopping website. But is Capital One Shopping a legitimate way to save money while shopping online, or are there catches you should know about?
This factual article will examine the key details behind Capital One Shopping to help you decide if it's worth using.
What Capital One Shopping Claims
Capital One Shopping makes the following claims about their service:
- Earn cash back rewards from over 5,000 popular retailers like Walmart, Amazon, and Best Buy when you shop online through their portal
- Rewards come in the form of checks or Capital One shopping credits
- There's no fee to join, and anyone can sign up for a Capital One shopping account
- Typical cash-back earning rates are between 4 and 10% but can be as high as 20–50% during special promotional offers
These rewards certainly sound enticing, but where does this cash back actually come from, and what's the business model? Let's analyze further.
The Cash-Back Business Model
Capital One Shopping makes money through affiliate commissions from the online retailers on their platform. This means that when you make a purchase through the Capital One shopping extension, website, or shopping app, they get a small percentage of the transaction amount from the retailer. The cash-back you earn comes out of this commission.
This practice of earning commissions via affiliate links is very common among other major cash-back sites like Rakuten and TopCashback. It's considered an above-board method of generating revenue. The merchants themselves are fine with paying commissions in exchange for customer referrals from platforms like Capital One Shopping.
In short, Capitol One Shopping’s cash-back model relies on well-established affiliate marketing practices. There doesn’t appear to be anything misleading or questionable about it.
Who’s Behind Capital One Shopping
Given that it has the name “Capital One” in it, it’s natural to assume that Capital One Shopping is owned and operated by the Capital One financial services company. While Capital One does own the platform now, it was actually created in 2021 by a deal company called Hopper.
Hopper had developed proprietary technology to predict price fluctuations and determine historical price trends on flights, hotels, and other travel inventory. In 2021, they decided to take this same concept and apply it to online shopping, launching a cash-back portal called Hopper Shopping.
In 2022, Capital One acquired Hopper’s shopping division for $24 million. They felt the platform nicely complemented their existing credit card rewards programs and helped further their mission of rewarding consumer spending. Following the acquisition, Hopper Shopping was rebranded as Capital One Shopping.
So while Capital One Shopping does leverage Capital One’s trusted name, the actual shopping platform was invented and originally managed by travel industry experts Hopper. Currently, Capital One oversees operations.
Protections for Customers
An important consideration is what protections exist if issues arise. According to Capital One's website, all eligible cash back earned through Capital One Shopping is guaranteed. If, for some reason, it does not track properly or the retailer refuses to pay the commission, Capital One claims they will still credit your account.
Additionally, Capital One Shopping uses secure 256-bit SSL encryption for all transmitted transaction data. This helps protect customers' personal and payment information as they shop.
Between the purchase guarantee and encrypted transmissions, key security measures are in place to instill confidence in all who choose to use Capital One Shopping.
The Verdict on Capital One Shopping
After looking at the key claims, business model, ownership history, and protections involved with Capital One Shopping, we can reach an evidence-based conclusion about its legitimacy.
Capital One Shopping appears to operate on sound business practices common across cash-back platforms. While initiated under a different name, it seems reliable, following both the Hopper and Capital One transitions. With industry-standard security features enabled as well, customers can reasonably trust Capital One Shopping as a legitimate source of cash-back rewards and a means of saving money on a shopping trip.
Any independent Capital One Shopping review also paints a positive picture. While all cash-back platforms have occasional complaints, the majority of Capital One Shopping reviews by reputable consumer sites reinforce that users can reliably earn cash-back from purchases made through the portal.