By Wanda Downs, AAP, APRP, NCP, Senior Vice President, Payments Education, ePayResources

Nacha’s Accredited ACH Professional (AAP) and Accredited Payments Risk Professional (APRP) programs both hit milestone anniversaries in 2023, celebrating 30 years and 5 years, respectively.  The Payments Associations across the country have played a very important role from the beginning, from participating on Nacha’s Blue Ribbon Panels that developed each accreditation program and that keep them up to date, to providing ongoing exam preparation and continuing education. As Direct Members of Nacha, the Payments Associations are specially recognized and licensed providers of ACH education, publications, and support. The Payments Associations also support their members’ participation and accreditation in other payments channels including check, wire, card, RTP®, FedNowSM, and other emerging solutions. 

30th Anniversary of AAP Program

Not only does 2023 mark the 30th anniversary of the AAP program, but today – February 14, 2023, is National AAP Recognition Day!  Accredited ACH Professionals have mastered the complexities of the Automated Clearing House Network and are committed to ensuring it is safe and secure, each playing an important role in their organization’s bottom line. There are currently more than 4,500 AAPs nationwide!

Nacha recommends spending two years working in the payments industry before taking the AAP exam.  Your Payments Association is with you every step of the way, from providing the education you need during those two years to give you a solid foundation for success, to getting you ready for the exam with in-depth preparation courses and tools, to providing convenient access to the ongoing education you need to maintain your annual continuing education credits.  The AAP test window in 2023 is October 2 – 28.

5th Anniversary of APRP Program

2023 marks the 5th anniversary of the APRP program, and its annual recognition day will be observed on September 19, 2023.  APRPs have mastered the complexities of risk management for ACH, check, wire, debit, credit and prepaid cards, and emerging and alternative payments. There are currently more than 500 APRPs nationwide.

As with the AAP program, Nacha recommends spending two years working in the payments industry before taking the APRP exam; your Payments Association offers education and other resources to build your knowledge and increase your chances of success.  The APRP test window in 2023 is August 7 – September 2.

National Check Payments Certification Program

According to ECCHO, a business line of The Clearing House, The National Check Payments Certification (NCPC) Program recognizes an elevated level of payments acumen among payment professionals by demonstrating a working knowledge of every significant aspect of the check payment system including products and operations, relevant rules and laws that govern checks, industry standards, and fraud and risk mitigation considerations. This is particularly important as financial institutions face institutional check knowledge loss from retirements that could impede their ability to combat check risk and fraud.  There are currently over 1,000 NCPs nationwide. 

The Payments Associations have qualified as NCP Educational Partners and present training approved by the NCPC program. Trainers at the Payments Associations are certified to teach NCP Exam prep courses through an annual Class Instructor Certification Program. Partners focus on building NCPs as well as providing continuing education.  Approximately 72% of individuals who receive Payments Association partner training successfully pass the NCP exam. The NCP test window in 2023 is April 15 – May 6.

Faster Payments Professional Certificate

Faster payments are evolving exponentially, and with Same Day ACH, RTP, FedNow, and more coming at financial institutions, it’s more important than ever to be prepared. Nacha, the Payments Associations, and the Payments Innovation Alliance are preparing to launch the Faster Payments Professional Certificate, a first-of-its-kind program providing a holistic view of faster payments which will allow professionals to demonstrate proficiency in this field.  Stay tuned for more details coming from your Payments Association!

Payments Associations’ Proprietary Certifications and Certificates

Some Payments Associations also offer their own proprietary certification programs or certificates, including ACH Certification and Card Certificate.  Check with your Payments Association to make sure you understand – and take advantage of – the full range of professional development that they offer. 

See your Payments Association at Smarter Faster Payments 2023

The Center for Payments – the collective of the Payments Associations – is sponsoring the AAP & APRP Reception at Nacha’s Smarter Faster Payments 2023 conference.  If you are an AAP or APRP and will be attending the conference, please join us for a fun reception on Sunday, April 16 to meet some of your Payments Association staff and find out more about how they can enhance your organization’s professional development!

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