Imagine no longer searching for discount codes, coupons or promotions offered by email. When you shop online, the savings are automatically transferred to your cart.
That’s what the Honey Chrome extension promises. But does it live up to the hype?
What is Honey Chrome Extension?
Honey is an app owned by PayPal that is built into the Chrome browser on your computer, tablet or smartphone. Google Chrome browser plug-in apps called extensions. You download and add the Honey extension from the Chrome Web Store. There is no fee.
And you don’t have to use Chrome. There are versions for other popular browsers, including Edge, Firefox, Safari, and Opera.
How does honey work?
The Honey extension works in the background while you shop online. Once you place the item in your cart and before you check out, Honey will search for valid discount codes or coupons that can be applied to purchases. It then suggests the deal with the most savings available.
If you’re just shopping around and aren’t quite ready to pull the trigger on a purchase, Honey can save items to a droplist while keeping track of ongoing price changes. If an item becomes cheaper you will receive an email alert.
Honey also compares Amazon sellers on the fly, analyzing an item’s total price — considering shipping and any Prime deals. It will also show you up to 120 days of price history, so you can understand pricing trends.
A Free Rewards feature offers points that are cash-back via PayPal or gift cards from participating retailers.
Is Honey Available as an iOS or Android App?
Yes, Honey is available as an iOS and Android app — but in this case, the difference between an app and an extension is very small because you’ll often be using the browser when you shop online. If you shop directly from store-branded apps, like Target or Macy’s, instead of your browser, Honey won’t work.
How do you install Honey?
Installing the Honey Chrome extension is easy. Go to the Chrome Web Store for the extension and in the top left, enter “honey” in the search box. The top result should be “Honey: Automatic Coupons & Rewards”. Click on it.
The next page will have an overview, reviews, support information and a video explainer. To install, click the “Add to Chrome” button in the top right.
You will confirm the installation and agree to allow Honey to “read and change all your data on all websites”. (More on that scary phrase below.) Your options are “Cancel” or “Add Extension.” To proceed, click on “Add Extension”.
Done. now you can:
Start shopping and Honey will look for discounts when you check out at a retailer.
Is honey a safe extension?
The sign-up phrase that worries some people is what allows Honey to “read and change all your data on all websites.”
This is a general disclaimer for browser extensions. As pervasive and dangerous as it sounds, browser extensions won’t work without that functionality, so many installs contain the same language.
But serious adware and malware can be embedded in extensions. That’s why you want to install extensions only from trusted sites. And while bad actors can place rogue extensions in official sites like the Chrome Web Store, Google works to identify and remove the culprits. However, this is not a minor concern.
It’s always a good idea to have legitimate security measures activated on your computer, tablet or mobile device for antivirus, privacy and performance protection.
Is honey worth using? results of a test run
The developers say the tool works on more than 30,000 retail sites and has more than 17 million users. The Chrome Web Store has a 5-star rating out of more than 168,000 reviews overall, but notes that “Google does not verify reviews.”
In a trial run, we found Honey to offer some interesting insights. Search for printer ink cartridges recently saw price increases and charted a 30-day pricing trend. It also offered to watch prices drop and reported its current “top pick”. It all happened seamlessly with little notifications embedded on the screen of an Amazon page.
One shocking element: Honey offered a consistent monthly payment plan to promote “Pay in 4 with PayPal.”
And in this case, there was no discount code available.
Looking for a deal on an item of clothing on Amazon, again found no discount. Attempting to save a product’s size and color to a droplist was greeted with an “error. Please try again later”.
Shopping on the national brand’s website for the same item, Honey found a cash-back offer and a discount code of over 37% off the surprisingly high retail price. Still, except for the Honey cash-back offer, Amazon was cheaper without the Honey price break, if only by less than a dollar.
Another slightly annoying pop-up offered a way for Honey’s owner to “check out faster” with PayPal.
If you want to compare Honey to its competition, there are other money-saving shopping tools to consider. Rakuten, Retail Me Not, the Camelizer, Deal Finder, Coupert and Capital One offer discount-finding extensions and apps.