What Does Paribus Do?
Retail Price Drops
Most retailers offer price-matching on purchases if you find a lower price within a specified period of time, often 7 to 15 days – usually for however long their refund policy gives you to return your purchase. I don’t know about you, but this is something that happens to me a lot. I buy something and the next week it goes on sale. It can be frustrating! Especially since I don’t have the time to initiate these refunds or watch for price-drops on every purchase I make. Paribus is an online service that, using the receipts it finds by scanning your emails, tracks your online purchases from certain retailers for lower prices and requests a refund for you if it finds a lower price. And there’s no fee for this service!
Is there anything as maddening as a package not arriving when it's expected? I'm sure there is, but it may not feel like it when a gift you ordered for Christmas or a birthday misses the intended delivery window. Especially if that gift is for a child! Paribus has got your back to take a little of the sting out of late deliveries – so long as you paid for a guaranteed delivery date with a supported retailer, they may be able to get you a refund on your shipping costs if the delivery is late. This service is automatically included in your use of Paribus, but it’s also something you can opt out of if you wish. Right now, they offer this service to Amazon Prime subscribers, and to customers who paid for guaranteed shipping from either Amazon or Walmart.com.
The Paribus Sign-Up Process
You need to register with the email address where you receive your online shopping receipts – and Paribus only supports the use of Gmail, Yahoo, or Microsoft email accounts due to their security requirements. Their restricted support of these three email services means that they can use token-based authentication and ensure your email is only being used for the permissions you agree to. Yes, Paribus will need access to view your email. That’s how their system can search for incoming receipts and know what items to monitor for price drops. Keep in mind that it only collects information from those types of emails, so you don’t need to worry about them reading your personal emails.
If you need a little further explanation of why Paribus needs access to your email and what they do with that access, here's what they have to say:
“When you sign up for Paribus, you’ll notice a blanket of permissions that we ask for. Of those, you’ll see the ability to “Read, write and delete e-mails”. Please understand however that Paribus will not delete your personal e-mails. This ability is just a part of those blanketed permissions that your e-mail provider believes third party apps need in order to operate properly.
We ask for the ability to read e-mails due to Paribus identifying your recent purchases through the shipping confirmation e-mails you receive from the merchants we monitor. We have web hooks in place so that we only scrape for purchase related e-mails from those merchants we monitor.
We ask for the ability to send e-mails so that we can contact retailers on your behalf when we find a price adjustment for you. Unfortunately, we would not be able to get those price adjustments if we sent those requests from a Paribus e-mail, as we did not make the order.”
If it is still a concern to you, however, just sign up for a dedicated email to send your receipts with one of the above email services. Also, if you use more than one email for your online shopping receipts, you will need to register a separate Paribus account for each.
Is Paribus Safe?
In 2016, Paribus was acquired by Capital One. Yep. The same Capital One that offers credit cards and online bank accounts. This was done as Capital One looks to extend their technology base.
Since the acquisition, Paribus is now free. That means you no longer have to connect a credit card to use the service – with one exception we discuss below. So, not only do you have a trusted name in Capital One behind this product, you can also keep your credit card information private if you would like.
At this time, Paribus monitors 30 specific online retailers with price adjustment policies for price drops within the allowed window of time. This list of monitored retailers is open to fluctuation depending on any change to each store’s policies. Paribus is very transparent about which stores are covered by their service and keep the list up to date here, along with detailed pages for each retailer specifying what exactly is covered. A list of the supported retailers at the time of updating this post (November 2018), includes:
- Amazon – late delivery monitoring only
- Best Buy
- Target – monitors for price drops though you will have to call Target to receive your refund
- Zappos –
- Banana Republic
- Old Navy
- Walmart – price drops and late shipping monitoring
- Office Depot
- Neiman Marcus
- Saks Fifth Avenue
- Home Depot
- Crate & Barrel
- Bed Bath & Beyond
- L.L. Bean
Some of these stores don't even have price drop policies listed on their websites. But, Paribus tries anyway!
Special Considerations for Amazon
You may have noticed that Amazon no longer sends you itemized receipts when you place an order – you know, a list of the items you purchased right in your email. That means that Paribus needs access to your Amazon account in order to monitor for late deliveries. Paribus provides a link on their website to help you link your Amazon account, though they warn the process may stall during heavy traffic times on their site. Make sure you check your Paribus account a few hours after attempting to link your Amazon account so that you can confirm the link has been made. You don't want to miss out on a potential shipping costs refund!
You will link up your Amazon account by providing the email address and password you use for making purchases there. Paribus ensures that “[d]ata is transmitted securely via SSL (TLS 1.2) bank-grade encryption. Any sensitive information stored is encrypted using AES-256.”
What About Getting Paid?
Paribus explains that retailers will usually issue a refund – once they confirm a price adjustment – to the form of payment you used to make that purchase. It depends on the policies of each retailer, of course. This usually happens within 3 to 7 business days depending on the store.
How Much Does Paribus Cost?
Paribus is free. Like really free! You don’t need to register a credit card with Paribus to experience the benefits of their price adjustment monitoring. Now that Paribus is part of Capital One, they don't charge you a cent for this service. That is awesome. When I first started using the service, they charged 25%. It's a good time to join Paribus.
You can create your Paribus account for free. (Just so you know, Paribus compensates us when you sign up for their service using the links we provide.) When you’re ready to start saving, hit that link!
Other Automated Services That Make You Money
I love these little automated money-makers. If you do too, here are a few more of my favorites:
Achievement – Do you keep track of your healthy habits through FitBit or MyFitnessPal? Are you participating in a HealthyWager? If you do, you can get paid for it! With Achievement, connect the health and food apps you already use and earn points that can be converted into cash.
Digit – Trying to save money but don't really know how? Digit can help with that – they analyze your finances and then calculate how much it's safe for you to save – then they take care of that part, too. Try it out for a month, then it's only $2.99 per month after that.
Ebates – Ebates is great for shopping both off and online! By installing their browser extension, you'll never miss out on getting money back from their retailer affiliates. With their app on your smartphone, they help you access in-store coupons and do price comparisons, too.
Shopkick – If you'd like to earn some cash just for walking into some of your favorite stores, check out Shopkick – with their app on your phone, they'll reward you for shopping at certain retailers, making purchases online and off, and more.
Trim – Stay on top of your monthly expenses and save money with Trim – this service scans your bank and credit card statements for subscription services, asks you which ones you’d like to cancel, and then takes care of it for you!
Originally published March 2016. Updated November 2018.