The new rewards program drops money directly into your Venmo or PayPal account.

By Jelisa Castrodale
September 13, 2019
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

If your cupholders are full of empty LaCroix cans, or you've reorganized your fridge just to accommodate one more 12-pack of Bubly, you're definitely not alone. According to market research firm Euromonitor, Americans have fallen hard for flavored carbonated water and seltzers. The company reports that retail sales of carbonated water have grown 88 percent in the past six years, grossing more than $2.3 billion last year. (We'd also imagine that the number of people who can pronounce 'pamplemousse' has also seen double-digit increases during that same time period).

The same can't be said for soda. During that same six-year period, Coca-Cola sales only increased by 8 percent, and its eternal competitor Pepsi's sales actually fell by 9 percent. And that brings us to PepsiCo's just-launched PepCoin loyalty program, which is basically a high-tech way of saying "Please drink Pepsi, we'll pay you for it."

With PepCoin, customers can now collect cash rewards when they buy a specially marked single-serving 20-ounce PepsiCo drink and a FritoLay snack together. They'll just have to use their phone to scan the codes printed underneath the bottle cap and on the bag, and after they've scanned $2 bucks worth of product codes, that money will automatically be transferred to either their Venmo or their Paypal account.

Even customers who shake their head when they're asked "Is Pepsi OK?" can still participate: more than 70 different PepsiCo-owned drinks will be PepCoin eligible, including bottles of Aquafina, Lipton Tea, Mtn Dew, Mug Root Beer, and Sierra Mist. Ten different FritoLay brands are also PepCoin-compliant — including Cheetos, Doritos, Lay's, SunChips, and SmartFood popcorn — so there are more than a thousand different drink-and-snack combos. (The codes on both packages don't have to be scanned at exactly the same time, but they do have to be scanned within 48 hours of each other.)

So how long will it take to earn $2 dollars? According to the PepCoin FAQ, each scanned snack combination is worth approximately 37 cents, which it says is 10 percent of the average combined retail price of the two items. If you do the math, that means it takes six drinks and six bags of chips to hit that $2 threshold. (There's also a three-combo-per-day limit.) Also, if you go 120 days without scanning anything, a 25-cent "account maintenance fee" will be deducted from your PepCoin balance.

"We're thrilled to help bring PepsiCo closer to their consumers for the PepCoin loyalty program," Leanne Sheraton, PayPal's Vice President of Marketing, said in a statement. "Venmo and PayPal's payout solutions provide the ability for physical brands to engage with their consumers digitally, while offering a convenient way for consumers to redeem and spend their cash rewards."

Unlike some other loyalty programs, PepCoin says it doesn't have an expiration date and there doesn't seem to be a cap on the amount of cash-back that you can earn. Plus, after entering, like, 10 combos, you'll have enough for an 8-pack of LaCroix. Not that you would spend your hard-earned PepCoin on a competitor...

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