In a Nutshell: Prepaid cards from University Fancards give college sports fans the chance to show team pride with every purchase. Fans can choose a card from nearly 30 of the top teams in college sports, including the Alabama Crimson Tide, Florida Gators, Michigan Wolverines, and the Southern Cal Trojans. The Fancards Prepaid Mastercard® gives fans two card-art options for their favorite team. They are equipped with safety and security features, as well as the ability to add sub-cards to an account. Sub-cards are shared with family members to give children allowances or to budget household spending. The card designs even show up when they’re added to a smartphone wallet service such as Apple Pay or Google Pay.
The story behind University Fancards starts as do many new business or product ideas, with an entrepreneur looking for something that doesn’t exist in the marketplace.
In 2015, Lynn Boggs, Co-Founder and CEO of Fancards, wanted to get his son and future Co-Founder Greg Boggs a thoughtful gift card that featured his son’s favorite team, the Alabama Crimson Tide. The only issue was that a Mastercard branded team card did not exist.
Lynn then looked into college gift cards and found that no college had a gift card with its branding. This discovery led the father-and-son team to create University Fancards.
Its first partner was the Southeastern Conference powerhouse University of Alabama. Since then, the company has partnered with more than two dozen universities across the nation.
The company began by offering a non-reloadable Mastercard Gift Card, available at thousands of participating retail locations nationwide including Kroger, Wal-Mart, Dollar General, to name just a few. More recently, Fancards rolled out a platform to purchase a gift card online if they live outside of their favorite team’s market.
In 2018, the company added prepaid reloadable cards to its offerings. These cards include additional safety features and perks. Cardholders can use the company’s convenient mobile app to manage their cards, including to add money quickly or suspend a card in case it is lost or misplaced.
“We want cardholders to feel more like members and give them special experiences when we can,” Lynn said. “Just sharing with our members and incorporating what their college means to them through our rewards and the card experience.”
Greg told us the team comes up with new ways of giving away tickets every year. In 2021, if you set up direct deposit, you could win tickets. The year before, you were entered by making a purchase on your card.
“Lynn also serves on the advisory board of the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl,” Greg said. “We partnered with [The Peach Bowl] for gift cards to give to its players, and sent more than a dozen fans to one of the biggest bowl games of the year with ticket giveaways.”
Cardholders are also automatically entered to win tickets to see their favorite college sports teams just by using one of Fancards’ products.
Prepaid Cards Provide Safety and Peace of Mind
People who want to show off their fan power don’t have to go far to get a Fancards prepaid card. Physical cards can be found in brick-and-mortar stores or can be purchased online and shipped.
The cards have modern security features, including encryption and Mastercard’s ID Theft Protection. Cardholders can use them anywhere Debit Mastercard is accepted. To load money onto cards, cardholders can use direct deposit, cash load, or check loading, and they can track purchases or spending through the app.
The site’s live chat features real people who respond to all questions or concerns cardholders have.
One of Fancards’ most unique features is its ability to create sub-cards. Cardholders can make up to five sub-cards through Fancards’ app for budgeting or to track specific purchases. Parents can also give children their allowances with the sub-cards.
Parents can track spending with text message notifications whenever there is a charge to any sub-card. The cards cannot be overdrawn because any charge is limited to the card’s current balance.
It is easy to move money around and have it available in seconds if a child needs more money or a card is declined. Main cards can have funds transferred quickly with a bank transfer.
Account-holders can turn off specific sub-cards that get lost or stolen to prevent fraudulent charges until found or a new card is issued.
“We offer that extra level of safety for parents who put their children in youth events or when they go back to school,” Boggs said. “If their kid’s card gets lost, you can shut it off immediately from the app.”
Rewards and Features for the Ultimate Fan
Let’s face it; the biggest sports fans will find any and every way to show their support. They’ll have jerseys, hats, shoes, banners, flags outside their home, and the list goes on.
Fancards’ prepaid cards that feature giant logos of favorite teams right on the face of the card are perfect for those fans. That feature also extends virtually. Team logos are front and center at checkout when using a smartphone wallet featuring a Fancards prepaid card.
The top perk for sports fans has to be the ticket giveaways. Cardholders can earn entries to win tickets to sporting events of their favorite team just from using the prepaid card in different ways.
The team at Fancards said it wants to allow all of its cardholders to go to a game, and if someone is selected to go to a game but can’t go, Fancards will put them on a list to win tickets the next time around.
In 2021 alone, the company said it gave away close to 500 college football and 1,500 college basketball tickets. Game tickets are not the only prizes up for grabs; Fancards also gives away fan experiences, team gear, merchandise, and more.
“We took cardholders to an Alabama-LSU game,” Greg said. “They got a tour of the stadium, got to go in the locker rooms, out on the field before the game, and got a signed picture of (Alabama Coach) Nick Saban. For many of our cardholders who had never even been to a game, it was a mind-blowing experience.”
Rooting for the Team at Every Level
Sports fans who don’t see the logos of their favorite teams on the Fancards website may not have to wait long for that to change. Fancards said it is communicating with several teams and more partnerships are on the way. Fancards’ website has a team request form for anyone who doesn’t see their favorite team on the roster.
One of the markets Fancards is looking to tap into is youth sports. The company recently partnered with 3STEP Sports, the largest youth sports club and event operator in the U.S.
The partnership’s goal is to get both parents and their children a card with their teams’ logo. For parents, not only can they manage the funds on their child’s card, but it provides a safer way for children to make purchases at events without the fear of having cash lost or stolen.
The reloadable cards have a monthly fee of $3.95 if the account is set up to receive direct deposits; otherwise, the fee is $6.95 per month.
Additionally, cardholders who refer friends to get their own card are rewarded with game tickets, team merchandise or Fancards Mastercard Gift Cards.