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A payment solution that gives back.


Among Texas school districts, Mesquite Independent School District is a role model. In fact, it’s only the fourth school district ever to receive the Texas Award for Performance Excellence from the state chapter of the Baldridge Performance Excellence Program.

But even that doesn’t make Mesquite immune to the financial challenges all schools face. Vickie Stafford was skeptical over a decade ago when she learned the district could earn cash rewards by using a new electronic payment system that Commerce Bank claimed was compatible with the district’s existing accounting software.

“I thought it was too good to be true,” recalls Stafford. “Turns out, I was wrong.”

Commerce’s solution, the CommercePayments® AP Card program, called for the district to forgo writing checks, paying participating vendors instead by using virtual credit cards. And despite a major shift in how vendor payments are made, Stafford was ecstatic to learn that the impact on the accounts payable entry process would not need to change.

“The impact of paying suppliers with virtual cards is not only earning us funds to use for our students, it’s helping us to create stronger relationships with our vendors,” said Mary Martinez, the district’s financial director. “Vendors love getting paid quickly with payments that are much more secure than checks.”

Since implementing AP Card in 2011, Mesquite has received over $2.1 million in revenue share by paying vendors with virtual credit cards.

“The revenue share we receive from Commerce is divided into campus activity accounts for our 51 schools,” says Martinez. “It helps supplement funding to our schools and goes toward impactful purchases that benefit the students. Now, faculty have the money they need to spend on field trips, additional furniture, classroom activities and student incentives.”

Through the use of virtual credit cards, Mesquite averages $193,000 a year in revenue share from Commerce Bank — funds that can support programs and initiatives for the district’s 38,500 students.

Commerce was even able to help the district reduce check use when it came to paying for services from vendors outside Mesquite’s typical supplier list. By using CommercePayments® AP Buyer’s Log, the district can make one-time payments for vendors who will not accept credit cards on a regular basis. Payments are made quickly without the need to generate a payment file, allowing Mesquite to remain flexible and fast in their invoice payment process.

“During the pandemic, we were working with new vendors to help keep the school running in a remote environment,” mentions Martinez. “AP Buyer’s Log has been a fantastic addition to our financial tools. Utilizing digital credit cards means that we no longer need to worry about physical cards getting stolen or checks being tampered with. It’s saved us a lot of time.”

To Mesquite, Commerce Bank isn’t just another bank. Whenever she has questions regarding her payments, Martinez knows that her Commerce account representatives are just one call or email away.

“You often think that working with a bank means you’ll have purely a transactional relationship — well, that’s not the case with Commerce. There is a strong, personal partnership between us,” says Martinez.

“Commerce isn’t just helping us solve one-off payment problems. They listen to our needs while bringing ideas forward to help us overcome our biggest payment challenges. I’m happy to be working with such great people. I can trust my team at Commerce to quickly get me the answers I need.”

For more information on how Commerce Bank can assist your school district, visit us at

Mesquite Independent School District is a member of The Interlocal Purchasing Systems (TIPS). With over 16 years of success in business-to-business payments, Commerce has been selected by TIPS as a preferred vendor for automated AP payment processes and virtual vendor card solutions.

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CommercePayments® solutions are provided by Commerce Bank.