To help payment professionals expand their knowledge base, NACHA - The Electronic Payments Association - offers the Accredited ACH Professional (AAP) program. NACHA has certified over 3,500 AAPs since it founded the program in 1993. Candidates are welcome from any sector of the industry but need at least two years of automated clearing house experience.
"The whole point is to make sure that people have a solid subject-matter base to start from," said Scott Lang, Senior Vice President of Association Services at NACHA. "The exam is a way for us to ascertain that the AAP has expertise in issues relating not only to the ACH network, but other payment system issues as well."
Lang said the AAP program is ideal for operations, risk and product management experts. However he believes it would be valuable for ISOs and merchant level salespeople to take this exam.
"It will give them a comprehensive understanding of how the network operates and help them to be more effective in meeting the needs of their corporate customers," Lang said. "Because of the new complexities in the payments system, financial institutions, processors and governments need to make sure that the people they are employing have that subject expertise.
"And remember, it's not the exam that is critical, it's the preparation and commitment required to master the information and to stay on top of new developments and issues that arise around the payment network's evolution," he added.
AAPs attended NACHA's annual conference in Orlando, Fla., from April 5 to 8, 2009. On the last evening of the conference the association hosted a seminar called Destination: AAP, with presenters from NACHA and its regional payment associations. It gave aspiring AAPs a chance to network with current AAP professionals and instructors.
"We are seeing financial organizations and governments hiring people who specifically deal with the payments industry, and more and more are requiring that certification because it is a clear indication that the AAP understands all the network issues as they apply to that organization and can help them better manage their infrastructure and maintain security and efficiency within it," Lang said.
The AAP exam will be administered from Oct. 12 to 30, 2009. For more information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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