Policies for the Accredited ACH Professional (AAP) Program of Nacha
Certifying Agent: Nacha is the certifying agent for the Accredited ACH Professional program.
Nondiscrimination: Nacha does not discriminate among applicants based on age, sex, race, religious preference, national origin, handicap, or marital status. Nacha complies with the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and are committed to ensuring that no disabled individual is deprived of the opportunity to take the AAP examination solely by virtue of that disability. Special testing arrangements may be made according to the requirements of ADA if a written request for accommodations is received at least 60 days, but in no case less than 4 weeks, prior to the examination. Written description and verification of the disability should be included with the request for accommodation.
Previous Experience: Candidates are strongly encouraged to have a minimum of two years previous experience in the ACH field at the time the examination is administered.
Accreditation Requirements: To achieve accredited status, the candidate must satisfactorily complete an examination consisting of 120 multiple choice questions. Twenty (20) of these questions are being piloted for use on future exams and will not be scored. Cut scores will be established by Nacha in conjunction with the AAP Blue Ribbon Panel.
Test Date: The Accredited ACH Professional examination will be offered within a four (4) week window, as determined by Nacha. The 2024 examination test window will be Monday, October 7, 2024, through Saturday, November 2, 2024.
Registration: Registrations for the 2024 AAP examination must be received by Nacha by September 27, 2024. (Please note that the AAP Program Policies do not permit the refund of any portion of the AAP test registration fee for any registration received after September 1, 2024).
Nacha will accept late registrations between September 7 and September 27, 2024, under the following circumstances: Note: Absolutely no registrations will be accepted after September 27, 2024. No exceptions will be made.
- A late registration fee of $50 is remitted in addition to the standard registration fee.
- You must register online by September 27, 2024.
Test Administration: The AAP examination is administered at various testing facilities affiliated with Pearson VUE; validation and score/result reporting is administered by Nacha. (For the purpose of these policies, test “scores” refer to test results, which are reported only as “pass” or “no pass.”)
Test Admittance: To be admitted to the test center on the scheduled test date, the candidate must present a document bearing the candidate’s picture and signature, such as: (a) a driver’s license or state identification card, (b) a government/employment identification badge, (c) a valid passport, or (d) a notarized photograph and signature. The candidate’s identification will be compared by the examination proctors against a roster of candidates registered to sit for the exam. Admission to the testing center will not be granted without proper identification. Candidates not listed on the roster will not be permitted to sit for the exam.
NOTE: The candidate’s first and last names on the roster must match the first and last names on the photo identification used. Candidates must ensure that they have registered for the examination using the name (first and last) as it appears on their photo identification and must notify Nacha of any name changes/corrections prior to scheduling testing dates and times with Pearson VUE. Candidates are advised to arrive at the test site at least 15 minutes before the test time, however, in some circumstances; candidates may be requested to wait until their scheduled time before entering the testing center.
Test Locations and Times: The test site location is selected by individual test registrants from the various sites offered through Pearson VUE. The specific start time for test administration is at the discretion of the testing facility, based on appointment availability for the selected date.
Appointments for testing dates and times must be made directly with Pearson VUE. Registrants are encouraged to schedule appointments for their testing window as soon as possible after registering to ensure availability of dates/times at their preferred testing locations. Scheduling instructions will be included in the candidate's exam confirmation letter provided by Nacha.
Test Length: Candidates will have three hours to complete the examination.
Deferral Policy: Registered candidates who decide they are not ready to sit for the exam may request the deferral of their registration to the next scheduled examination window. A request for deferral must be made in writing. Once deferred, the funds are non-refundable and the registration may not be deferred again, it must be used for the 2025 testing window. Nacha will generate an invoice for the $125 administrative fee which must be paid within 10 business days of receipt of invoice. For the 2024 exam, a request for deferral must be received by Nacha by the opening of business on August 30, 2024.
Late deferral requests will be accepted after the deadline noted above through September 27, 2024. Such request for deferral must be made in writing. Any requests for deferral made on or after the last day of the current testing window must be a result of illness or other family emergency and will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Once deferred, the funds are non-refundable and the registration may not be deferred again, it must be used for the 2025 testing window. Nacha will generate an invoice for the $150 administrative fee plus any balance due resulting from marginal price increases, which must be paid within 10 business days of receipt of invoice.
Delivery of Study Materials: Nacha will send the registered candidate an email containing a link to the electronic version of the AAP Handbook. The 2024 version of the AAP Handbook will be available mid-February 2024, until the end of the registration period.
Cancellations and Fee Refunds: A registered candidate may cancel his registration for a partial refund of the exam registration fee, provided a written request for cancellation is received by Nacha within thirty (30) days of receipt of the link to the Accredited ACH Professional Handbook. Sixty dollars ($60) of the candidate’s registration fee is non-refundable to offset administrative expenses if a candidate requests a cancellation of his exam registration.
NOTE: The AAP Program Policies do not permit the refund of any portion of the AAP exam registration fee for any registration received by Nacha after September 1, 2024. Candidates may, however, exercise the option to defer their registration or request substitutions; provided that these requests are received by their respective deadlines (please refer to the policies governing deferrals or substitutions for specific information and deadlines for processing these requests). Once deferred, the funds are non-refundable and the registration may not be deferred again, it must be used for the 2025 testing window. Nacha will generate an invoice for any balance due resulting from marginal price increases, which must be paid within 10 business days of receipt of invoice.
Substitutions: Substitutes for AAP candidates who find they cannot take the examination are allowed, provided that Nacha receives a written request for substitution and completed registration form for the new candidate by the September 27, 2024. Nacha will generate an invoice for the $90 administrative fee which must be paid within 10 business days of receipt of invoice.
Exam Appointment Changes within Testing Window (Date, Time, & Location): No fee will be charged for a change of appointment date, time, or location within a particular testing window. However, all such appointment changes must be made directly with the computer-based testing facility at least three Business Days in advance of the scheduled exam date. No changes to appointment date, time, or location will be permitted if less than three Business Days prior notice is provided.
Walk-in Candidates: Applications for the AAP exam must be received by Nacha in accordance with the registration deadlines established by these AAP Program Policies. Walk-in candidates at the exam site are not allowed.
Results Reporting: Candidates will be informed of their exam results (pass/no pass) immediately following completion of the exam. Results received upon completion of the exam may be considered final. Nacha will send final pass/no pass letters to candidates approximately six to eight weeks after the final day of the 2024 testing window. Pass/no-pass information will be provided to appropriate participating Payments Associations while final letters are sent to candidates.
- All candidates will be informed of their exam results (pass/no pass) immediately following the completion of the exam.
- Within six to eight weeks of the test widow's end, all candidates will receive a diagnostic analysis report that identifies their performance level on various parts of the exam. Successful candidates will receive an accreditation certificate.
Questions about Scores/Results: All questions about exam results should be addressed in writing to firstname.lastname@example.org, within 60 days of the date the results of the exam are released.
Because of the need to maintain exam security due to the limited size of the AAP exam question bank, exam questions and answer sheets cannot be made available to the candidate. Nacha does not provide a list of questions answered correctly or incorrectly. The only information available regarding the candidate’s performance is provided on the individual score/result report.
Ownership of Testing Material: All testing materials and completed exams are the property of Nacha and will not be returned to the AAP candidate or Payments Association/direct financial institution member.
Reexamination: Candidates who are not successful in an examination attempt may retake the exam, during the following year's testing window, provided a new registration fee is paid for the examination.
Scores/Results Cancelled or Invalidated by Nacha: Nacha is committed to reporting only valid exam scores/results and to protecting the integrity of the AAP program and related examination. On rare occasions, circumstances may make exam scores/results invalid (i.e., candidate misconduct, breach of exam security, invalid testing conditions, faulty exam materials, policy violations, acts of God, etc.). Nacha reserves the right to cancel or withhold any exam scores/results if, in the opinion of the AAP Blue Ribbon Panel, there is adequate reason to question their validity. Nacha and the AAP Blue Ribbon Panel strive to ensure security, implementation of adequate policies, and fairness in all exam administrations and program administration.
Note: Environmental distractions at the testing center such as noise are considered circumstances beyond the control of Nacha. Refunds or makeup examinations during the same testing window will not be granted for environmental distractions.
- If scores/results are determined to be invalid because of candidate misconduct, the candidate is to cooperate in the investigation and will be provided with information on procedures to ensure his fair treatment. Fees will not be refunded or applied to future exams if the misconduct is confirmed.
- If scores/results are determined to be invalid because of circumstances beyond the control of the candidate, Nacha and the AAP Blue Ribbon Panel will investigate the situation(s). If the scores/results cannot be validated, Nacha will arrange for a makeup examination (either at a special date/time or on the next regularly scheduled testing window, at the discretion of Nacha and the AAP Blue Ribbon Panel) for no additional registration or materials fees.
Validation Period: Accreditation is valid for five years from the date the accreditation is awarded. Successful candidates (Accredited ACH Professionals) are authorized to use the initials AAP behind their names for the accredited period (5 years). Accredited ACH Professionals receive a certificate, and logo suitable for addition to business cards and stationery. AAPs are authorized to use these awards throughout the period of their accreditation. Requests for replacement AAP certificates must be submitted to Nacha in writing and must be accompanied by a $25 replacement fee.
Renewal of Accredited Status: Accredited ACH Professionals may renew their accredited status for an additional five years beyond the current expiration date by achieving a passing score on another AAP examination or by earning sufficient continuing education credits within their current five (5) year accreditation period.
- A candidate may choose to maintain his accreditation by achieving a passing score on another examination in either the fourth or fifth year of their current accreditation period. A passing score on another examination will result in the validation of the candidate’s AAP status for an additional five (5) years beyond the current accreditation period. If unsuccessful in re-testing in either the fourth or fifth year after accreditation, the candidate’s original AAP status will expire at the end of the fifth year.
- A candidate whose accreditation has lapsed may be awarded AAP accreditation (valid for five years) at any time by achieving a passing score on another examination.
- A candidate may choose to maintain his accreditation by submitting sufficient continuing education credits. To retain AAP status, an AAP must earn sixty (60) continuing education credits within the five (5) year accreditation period, with no more than twenty (20) credits earned in any one year.
The reporting year for AAP renewal credits is January 1 to December 31. AAPs that choose to file continuing education credits must ensure that they are received by Nacha no later than March 31 of the calendar year immediately following the year in which continuing education credits were earned. (For example, continuing education credits earned between January 1, 2024, and December 31, 2024, must be received by Nacha by March 31, 2025.)
- Late Filing Fee: Continuing Education Credits received by Nacha after the March 31 deadline date will be assessed a $50 late filing fee for the period of April 1 to April 30. All credits submitted must include payment for both the filing fee and the $50 late filing fee. No exception to this policy will be made after April 30.
- Military Extension: Any active National Guard personnel or reservists (including reactivated military personnel) who enter active military duty to serve in or support a combat zone, or at a location that supports a combat zone, may have their AAP renewal dates extended for a period of up to eighteen months from the end of their tours of duty. All requests for extension must be accompanied with copies of orders to report for active duty.
AAPs are not required to submit supporting documentation when they file their continuing education credits. However, each AAP must maintain records documenting AAP continuing education credit activity for three years following the date reported. An audit of AAP renewal credits is conducted annually by Nacha, and candidates who are audited will be required to submit documentation for continuing education credits filed with Nacha. Examples of acceptable documentation include copies of programs for seminars and training sessions, copies of articles written, etc. Any credits that cannot be documented by the AAP during the audit process will be disqualified. Nacha will send all AAPs an annual confirmation of accepted credits, in May of the calendar year immediately following the year in which the continuing education credits were earned. Each continuing education credit reporting form must be signed by the AAP and must be accompanied by the appropriate processing fee.
Only educational activities covering ACH and related payments issues are eligible for AAP renewal credits and are identified within the Accredited ACH Professional Reporting Guidelines for Reporting Continuing Education Credits.
Database Maintenance – Address Verification; Continuing Education Statements of Activity: AAPs are requested to notify Nacha, in writing, of address and employment changes. Participating Payments Associations are encouraged to notify Nacha of such changes if and when they may have such information.
Release of Information: Nacha and the participating Payments Associations are committed to protecting the candidate’s right to confidentiality of records. The only information available for release is the candidate’s status as an AAP (accredited, not accredited, expired accreditation, or revoked accreditation), the year of accreditation, and the year of expiration or revocation (if applicable). No other information about accredited candidates will be released to any third-party without written authorization by the candidate. Nacha will retain information about the AAP for at least two years after accreditation status has expired or been revoked. A fee of $5.00 will be assessed for processing any transmission of exam results to a third-party.
Release of Scores/Status via email and U.S. Mail: To ensure confidentiality, candidates’ results and status will be released by email and U.S. mail, to the candidate only. The candidate may request information on status in writing by e-mail or U.S. mail.
Failure to Appear for Examination: If a candidate does not appear at the appropriate testing site, on the exam date, with proper identification, the candidate forfeits all fees and must reapply for future testing and pay all applicable fees. If a candidate cannot attend the examination due to his own illness, death in his immediate family, or other emergency medical situation, Nacha will evaluate a written request accompanied by an appropriate verification of the situation or emergency (i.e., doctor’s excuse or death certificate). The first option for remedy will be to defer the candidate’s registration to the next exam offering. (NOTE: In such cases, the candidate would be charged the deferral fee defined by these AAP Program Policies.) Refunds will be considered only on a case-by-case basis.
Expired Accreditation: Accredited ACH Professional status expires five (5) years after accreditation is awarded. Participating Payments Associations/Direct Financial Institutions Members will assist Nacha in enforcing expired accreditation, i.e., the association will report to and coordinate with Nacha any contact it has with former AAPs whose accreditation has expired (or been revoked) but who continue to use the AAP designation and logo. Enforcement will be done by Nacha in writing to applicable participants.
Revoked Accreditation: Accreditation will be revoked if the candidate is subject to any legal or regulatory actions resulting in termination of duties related to ACH payments. Conviction in a court of law for financial improprieties or a regulatory order prohibiting employment in a financial institution will constitute sufficient cause to revoke AAP status. Other possible reasons for revocation of accreditation include unauthorized possession and/or distribution of exam questions/answers or other testing materials, falsified registration forms, or other misrepresentation. Revocations may be appealed in writing to the AAP Blue Ribbon Panel.
Refusal of Application: Nacha may refuse the application of a candidate that has been subject to legal or regulatory actions resulting in termination of duties related to ACH payments or for any verified misuse of the AAP logo or identifying marks prior to valid initial accreditation or reaccreditation. Candidates whose applications have been refused may appeal the decision to the AAP Blue Ribbon Panel.
Right to Refusal: Nacha reserves the right to grant or refuse, at its sole discretion, program participation to any applicant.
Record Retention: Exam answers will be retained by Nacha for one year after the date of the exam. Nacha will retain records on successful candidates for the term of their accreditation and at least two years after expiration of accreditation. Information on candidates whose accreditation has been revoked will be retained for at least two years after revocation.
Voluntary Surrender of AAP Status: Candidates may at any time voluntarily forfeit their Accredited ACH Professional status. Candidates should submit resignations to Nacha in writing with a brief explanation of action (although encouraged, details are not required).
Duties of the Examination Proctor: Each exam location is supervised by a proctor(s) appointed by the testing facility and to act on behalf of Nacha. Proctors will ensure that all participants have valid credentials and identification; no written materials or other extraneous materials are brought into the exam room; no cheating occurs; exam starts promptly and is properly timed; no one enters or leaves the exam room during the exam period (except in emergency situations); order is maintained in the exam room; and that all AAP program policies for testing are adhered to. Proctors may not answer any questions about the content of the examination.
Proctors may dismiss candidates from the exam for any of the following reasons:
- candidate not authorized to be admitted to exam, including lack of appropriate identification;
- candidate creates a disturbance, is abusive, or otherwise uncooperative;
- candidate possesses any written materials (i.e., notes, pre-printed materials, etc.) at his seat when testing begins or begins work on the exam before being instructed to do so by the proctor;
- candidate gives or receives help, or is suspected of doing so;
- candidate attempts to remove exam materials or notes from exam room;
- candidate attempts to take the exam on behalf of someone else;
- candidate leaves the room for any reason during the exam period without the express permission of the proctor. In emergency situations (e.g., restroom or to attend to a health or emergency need), proctor may allow candidates to leave exam room one person at a time. Candidates are not allowed to take anything out of the room — no papers, handbags, briefcases, book bags, etc., if they want to be readmitted to finish the exam. Smoking, adding money to a parking meter, getting a refreshment, etc., are NOT acceptable reasons to leave the exam room with re-admittance;
Candidates may appeal dismissal to the AAP Blue Ribbon Panel within 60 days following release of exam results.
Accredited ACH Professional Blue Ribbon Panel: The AAP Blue Ribbon Panel is the administrative review board for the Accredited ACH Professional program. The panel consists of ten to fourteen volunteer members including the chairperson of the AAP Blue Ribbon Panel, ACH Network professionals drawn from the Nacha family, and Nacha staff. The chair of Nacha’s Board of Directors appoints the chair of the AAP Blue Ribbon Panel, who then selects panel members from the nominations received. Each member of the AAP Blue Ribbon Panel must have a thorough understanding of the ACH Network and be well versed in the requirements of the Nacha Operating Rules & Guidelines. AAP Blue Ribbon Panel Members must be AAPs.
Accreditation of AAP Blue Ribbon Panel Members: AAP Blue Ribbon Panel members are prohibited from sitting for the AAP examination for two years after their service on the Panel has expired. AAP Blue Ribbon Panel members will earn continuing education credits for sitting on the Panel and are eligible for reaccreditation while a Panel member through the continuing education process.
Policy Amendment: These policies may be amended from time to time by a majority of the AAP Blue Ribbon Panel present and voting. Candidates are subject to policies in effect at the time they take the examination. Accredited ACH Professionals are subject to the policies of the AAP program as they are approved and implemented by the AAP Blue Ribbon Panel and Nacha.