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Soccer player

Seattle Sounders FC chooses CommercePayments® Prepaid Expense Cards

Paulette Harris oversees the finance and IT operations of the major league soccer team Seattle Sounders FC, and its affiliated organizations. With her lean three-person staff, it’s important for Harris to be efficient and maximize resources.

That’s one reason she uses CommercePayments® Prepaid Expense Cards to address the club’s travel per diem challenges.

Attacking the problem.

The per diem requirements for the organization’s travel to away matches are vast and complicated.

The organization needs about 40 expense cards to cover per diem meal allowances for players, medical trainers, broadcasters and others traveling with the professional team to its 16–24 away matches during the regular season and any pre-season or playoff matches. Additionally, 30 prepaid cards are provided to players on Tacoma Defiance, the Sounders FC’s MLS NEXT team, which plays about 12 away matches each season.

Harris and her team want a systematic way to digitally add or delete funds to multiple cards at once in real time. They can do that in a matter of minutes with the CommercePayments® Prepaid Expense Card program.

“The Prepaid Expense Card online interface is easy to navigate and the ability to load a lot of cards at once gives us the efficiency we need,” said Harris, CPA, who is vice president, controller of the organization.

Substituting for a better solution.

Harris switched to CommercePayments® Prepaid Cards from a different company’s card program about a year ago.

“We needed a simpler process for per diem funding to the prepaid cards,” said Harris.

The organization used to wire a large sum of money to a separate account where it sat until needed for team travel. At that point, the finance team transferred the money to another account, and then loaded the funds onto the prepaid cards. This caused accounting issues — and because funds were in the original account, they were tied up and couldn’t be accessed for other expenses.

“With the Prepaid Expense Card program, we just upload funds from our existing accounts the same day of travel, which makes bookkeeping and managing our funds much cleaner,” said Harris.

Sharing best practices with MLS teams.

Finance leaders within MLS organizations meet frequently to discuss industry issues and share best practices. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, teams using cash for their per diem programs needed to find a different way to provide per diems to their teams. During that time and since then, Harris has shared her experiences with others about CommercePayments® Prepaid Expense Cards and how they solved her team’s complex per diem challenges.

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

“When we switched to CommercePayments® Prepaid Expense Cards, the onboarding process was really fast and easy. I’m happy we have a dedicated support team we can reach directly if we have any issues, but I haven’t needed to call them much, which is a good thing!

Paulette Harris, CPA
Seattle Sounders FC, Vice President, Controller

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