The AAP Exam Process

Understanding the Accredited ACH Professional Exam

Get All the Details About the AAP Exam Process

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NACHA provides support along every step of your path to becoming an Accredited ACH Professional. To do that, we’ve clearly laid out the details involved in registering for the exam, gathering study materials, and preparing yourself to pass the test.

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About the Exam

The AAP exam consists of 120 multiple-choice questions, which you’re allowed three hours to complete. Twenty of those questions are pilot questions, meaning they won’t be scored. The topics included on the exam are:

  • General payments overview, including the ACH Network and comparative payment systems
  • Products
  • Risk management
  • Rules and regulations, including the NACHA Operating Rules, government payments and federal and state regulations
  • Operational process and flow, including origination and receipt, settlement and exception processing
  • Technical standards and formats 

You have several options to help you prepare for the exam. The Regional Payments Associations offering training opportunities and The Payments Institute offers an AAP Prep School of Study.Additionally, upon registering you'll receive The 2018 Accredited ACH Professional Handbook. We recommend exploring all studying options as the Handbook alone does not provide sufficient background to sit for the exam.

Within two business days of registering for the exam, you will receive a confirmation email with the 2018 AAP Handbook and the password to access it. If you do not receive the confirmation email, please contact
Buddy Program
This program pairs aspiring ACH Professionals with a current AAP who has volunteered his or her time as a mentor.

Future AAPs and their buddies often have weekly or monthly check-ins or emails, though you have the freedom to arrange that partnership in a way that suits your needs. First and foremost, AAP buddies should be available to answer your questions. They can also send payments-related questions to you as the mentee, prompting you to study a specific area and providing hints as to necessary resources. Buddies also provide positive support for future AAPs, encouraging you to continue your studies and prepare to pass the exam.

See our "Find an AAP Buddy or Become a Buddy" document, in linked resources, for more information.
Training or Review Sessions
AAP candidates benefit from taking full advantage of the educational resources of both NACHA and the Regional Payments Associations. The Payments Institute features courses and activities designed to assist future ACH Professionals and will also help you develop study strategies for the AAP exam.
Many Regional Payments Associations offer comprehensive educational offerings to help you prepare for the exam. Contact your Regional Payments Association to find out when and where they provide those courses.

Register for The Payments Institute
Additional Study Materials
NACHA and many Regional Payments Associations publish packages that can aid you in your studies. You can order published resources at any point during the year.

Find Training Resources

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Register to Take the Test

Our test-taking process is designed to be both efficient and flexible. After you register, you’ll receive a confirmation email with an ID number to use in setting up a specific testing date and location: we partner with PSI to use its computer-based testing facilities around the country, so you should have plenty of freedom in choosing your exam time and locale. Testing centers are at community colleges, universities, IT centers and aviation centers.
Upon registration, you will receive instructions from NACHA on how to select your date, time and location to take the exam. You can review testing sites on PSI’s website before scheduling, though not all facilities are available on every date.

Register for the Exam

To begin the online registration process, you must first log into the website. Select the 'My Profile' link from the top tool bar to begin the AAP Exam Registration process.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What do I need to bring to the exam?
Bring a picture ID, including a signature, as well as EITHER your confirmation email from PSI or your Authorization to Test letter. You’re not allowed to bring personal belongings (such as hat, coats, cell phones or purses) into the testing room. You do not need paper or pencil; these will be provided by the testing facility.
Can I change my test date, time, or location?
Changes to a test date, time or location are allowed, for free, up to 72 hours prior to the scheduled test. After that point, you cannot change your test particulars.
Can I defer my test?
Candidates who find they’re not ready to take the exam may defer the test to the next scheduled examination window. NACHA must receive any written deferral request ten business days prior to the opening of the testing window, and the request must include a processing fee. View current fees here.
What’s the passing score for the exam?
The passing score is disclosed only as pass/no pass. Individual scores are unavailable to AAP candidates.
When will I get my results?
Pass/no pass results are provided when you complete the exam. Within six to eight weeks of the test window’s end, successful candidates will receive their AAP certificate and pin. Unsuccessful candidates will receive a report on general topic areas requiring improvement.
When can I start using my AAP credential?
Upon receipt of a passing result, you can begin using your AAP credential.
If I don’t pass, can I retake the exam?
Unsuccessful candidates can retake the AAP exam as many times as necessary during subsequent testing periods, provided they pay the registration fee for each new examination.