Capital One Just Acquired a Company That Can Save You Money When Shopping Online

Nov 21, 2018

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Capital One just made an acquisition that could well be a leading indicator of banking moves to come. Wikibuy, an online tool that “gets you better offers, automatically applies the best coupon code at checkout, and lets you know when prices drop on products you’ve viewed and purchased,” is now a part of Capital One. Every Wikibuy employee will be staying on and joining the new parent company, though its headquarters will remain in Austin, Texas.

So, what’s the big deal for you? For one, it’s a starkly different approach to the increasingly computerized nature of price hunting as compared to rival banks and issuers. If you’ll recall, Chase and Citi modified their price protection perks on cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve in response to an explosion of claims from automated tools like Earny and Sift. Once it became effortless for customers to spot price drops and file claims for the difference, Citi and Chase also pumped the brakes on price rewind features.

Capital One, however, seems to be embracing this brave, new world. I’d never heard of Wikibuy prior to now, though I check Cashback Monitor before making any online purchase. In the growing market of automated online shopping comparison engines, Wikibuy seems to be peaking at the right time. Formed in 2016, the company has grown to include two million community members who have collectively saved more than $50 million.

As with similar tools, Wikibuy has a browser plug-in that scans your shopping and alerts you of better prices elsewhere or applicable coupons. The upside is clear — the tool makes it much easier to rest easy knowing you’ve found the best deal — but the downside is that you’re essentially giving the company permission to track your shopping habits.

My hunch is that Capital One wants that data. As it seeks to better target prospective customers, knowing what one shops for will allow it to creatively market new cards and banking services to those who are most likely to bite. It could even toss out special sign-up offers for Wikibuy shoppers that it feels are likely to spend a lot with Capital One, and not default on any payments along the way.

Joe Poellnitz, SVP of US Card at Capital One Financial, had this to say about the acquisition: “We believe that consumers want intelligent, real-time banking tools that proactively anticipate and deliver on their needs. With Wikibuy, we’ve acquired an innovative startup that helps customers save time, money, and enables them to shop with confidence.”

Adam Gauvin, Co-CEO of Wikibuy, mirrored those feelings: “Nothing makes us happier than saving money for our users. As a part of Capital One, Wikibuy can be singularly focused on expanding our offering to deliver even more savings for our tens of millions of customers. Capital One’s analytical culture resonates deeply with Wikibuy’s focus on measuring and delivering savings for our users.”

There have been no specific perks or bonuses for Wikibuy users who are also Capital One customers, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see that red carpet rolled out in due time.

The news caps off a newsworthy year for Capital One. It began by adding a 10x bonus category for Hotels.com (when booked and paid via Hotels.com/venture through Jan. 31, 2020) on the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card and the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card, and then a Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee credit on the Venture Rewards. Beginning next month, Capital One miles will become a flexible points currency with real power. On top of being able to redeem Capital One miles for travel purchases with the Purchase Eraser, you’ll be able to transfer Capital One miles to at least a dozen airline programs, and at a solid ratio.

Capital One is also offering a limited-time elevated sign-up bonus on the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card. If you sign up now, you’ll get a bonus of 75,000 Capital One miles after you spend $5,000 in the first three months. And if you’re a business, you can get up to a whopping 200,000 Capital One bonus miles on the Capital One Spark Miles For Business card after a two-tier total spend of $50,000 in the first six months which, along with the miles earned from meeting the minimum spend, will result in an incredible total of 300,000 Capital One miles.

The information for the Capital One Spark Miles has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

H/T: CNBC

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