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Replacing Credit Cards Helps College Manage Budgets

As the chief financial officer of Brewton-Parker College, Nicole Shepard is always looking for ways to control costs and manage budgets at the private NAIA institution in Mount Vernon, Georgia. Three years ago, she identified an opportunity to do so within the athletic department’s per diem and travel processes for its 18 athletic teams.

While traveling for road games, student-athletes and coaches are allocated per diems for food and the school covers team expenses such as lodging and gas. The athletic department was using credit cards to cover those costs which posed challenges for its business office, including limited oversight and budget overages.

Shepard found a solution by switching from those credit cards to CommercePayments® Prepaid Expense Cards, the Official Prepaid Expense Card of the NAIA.

“We talked with other universities in the NAIA and they highly recommended Prepaid Expense Cards from Commerce Bank,” said Shepard. “The customer service is outstanding and we always receive quick responses.”

Nicole Shepard CFO, Brewton-Parker College

Controlling Costs

“The high-limit credit cards hindered our ability to control costs,” said Shepard.

Now the athletic department’s business office has a process in place for coaches to request a specific amount prior to travel. Once it’s approved, that amount is loaded onto the Prepaid Expense Card. When the team returns from travel, the coaches turn in receipts and paperwork that helps the business office reconcile all purchases.

“Prepaid Expense Card provides greater internal controls and accountability,” said Shepard.

Managing Budgets

The switch from credit cards to Prepaid Expense Card also helps keep budgets of the athletic department in check.

“Since funds have to be requested in advance, we can debit those amounts against their budget,” said Shepard. “It’s a huge advantage that has saved us money and ensured we don’t go over budget.”

Prepaid Expense Card offers other benefits to athletic departments, including:

  • Loading and unloading funds to multiple cards
  • Issuing or replacing cards1
  • Setting authorized merchant categories and card limits for different types of users
  • Limiting cash access
  • Monitoring and reviewing transactions online
  • Establishing automatic and scheduled reloads

To learn more about what the Prepaid Expense Card can do for your institution, or to get started, visit us online at or email us at

CommercePayments® solutions are provided by Commerce Bank.

1 Instant issue cards are a product option.