While others are focused on partnering with fintech companies, Capital One is setting itself apart by acquiring them.
The McLean, Va., company announced last week that it is expanding its mobile portfolio with the acquisition of Paribus, a startup based in New York that helps digital shoppers get price adjustments. In the past two years, Capital One has acquired several startups, such as the digital design firm Adaptive Path, the personal financial management provider Level Money and the mobile startup BankOns.
Capital One "clearly seems to have a desire to acquire technology and people and take that approach," said Jacob Jegher, senior vice president at Javelin Strategy & Research.
"We've seen them acquire these nontraditional technology firms and bring them in to see how they can complement their existing offerings and create value for customers," he added.
The acquisition price was not disclosed.
Capital One declined to comment for this story. In a press release, Emilia Lopez, managing vice president of U.S. Card at Capital One, said it is "incredibly impressed with the level of talent [at Paribus], the innovative technology that they have and are developing, and their steadfast mission to deliver effortless experiences for its users."
Paribus, launched in 2015, alerts digital shoppers when they can get refunds when prices they drop on items they purchased. The company claims to have a user base of more than 700,000 consumers. Paribus' integrates with a consumer's email provider – the one where they typically get digital receipts sent to – and scans their inbox for receipts of online purchases. When it finds one, it will then watch the item for a price drop within the store's price match claim window, according to the company.
The startup's whole team is set to join Capital One and will continue to be based in New York. Paribus founders Eric Glyman and Karim Atiyeh are joining Capital One as senior directors in the U.S. card division.
In a blog post, Glyman said the move offers Paribus a chance to achieve growth with a company that shares its values.
"With Capital One, we feel a strong bond and a clear path to scale our engineering team and offerings significantly — all with the shared goal of improving people's lives by providing simple, straightforward digital tools and technology that offer peace of mind," he wrote.
Jegher said it remains to be seen how Paribus will be integrated into Capital One's structure — if it will part of a payments process, mobile banking or simply a stand-alone third-party service. However it is implemented, he said Paribus gives Capital One the opportunity to drive engagement with customers, and generate goodwill as well.
"If a customer gets a notification they got some money back [from a purchase] and sees it was Capital One that did it for them, there's a lot of brand lift they can get from that," he said.
Citi offers a similar service with its price rewind program.