Who Is an Accredited Automated Clearing House Professional? (AAP)

An accredited automated clearing house professional (AAP) is a professional designation awarded by Nacha, previously called the National Automated Clearinghouse Association, to individuals who are experts in electronic payments.

Successful applicants earn the right to use the AAP designation with their names for five years, improving job opportunities, professional reputation, and pay. Every five years, AAP professionals must complete 60 hours of continuing education or successfully retest to continue using the designation.

Key Takeaways

  • An accredited automated clearing house professional (AAP) can find work in many private industries and public institutions such as state or federal government offices that process electronic payments.
  • If you are interested in obtaining a designation, it helps to have a couple of years of experience processing ACH payments.
  • Nacha serves as a not-for-profit association and stewards one of the world's largest electronic payment systems.
  • Cybersecurity is a huge concern for NACHA, and they have created a designation, accredited automated risk professional to help fight electronic theft and disruption.
  • The ACH network is the way that billions of crucial electronic payments reach their designated recipients who rely on the network to receive multiple payments such as direct deposits of paychecks and government benefits.

Understanding AAPs

To pass the Accredited Automated Clearing House Professional (AAP) exam, applicants should understand ACH rules and regulations, operational requirements, ACH products and applications, the electronic payments cycle, risk management, marketing ACH services, providing ACH-related customer service, and more.

It is also helpful to have at least two years of professional experience working with ACH payments in order to be fully prepared for the exam. Individuals with the AAP designation may work for financial institutions such as banks and credit unions and federal or state government entities that process electronic payments. According to Glassdoor.com, the average salary for an AAP is approximately $76,000 a year.

Nacha's influence continues to grow. In 2019, the Automated Clearing House Network, ACH, moved more than $55.8 trillion and 24.7 billion electronic financial transactions annually, according to Nacha's website.

Special Considerations

Nacha serves a dual mandate. Firstly, it administers the ACH Network, which most readers will know from Direct Deposits and Direct Payments occurring as ACH transactions. Secondly, it serves as a not-for-profit association supporting the broad payments industry. As stewards of one of the world's largest electronic payment systems. In addition, Nacha provides access to education and accreditation to professionals interested in the industry.

The ACH Network sends billions of electronic financial transactions every year worth trillions of dollars. For example, if you receive your paycheck or regular government benefits by direct deposit, these payments come from the ACH Network. To address the growing threat of cybersecurity, Nacha's newest designation, accredited payments risk professional (APRP), recognizes professionals for their exceptional payments systems risk expertise.

To earn the risk-focused APRP designation, individuals must demonstrate a comprehensive knowledge of risk management strategies, concepts, and mitigation techniques within the payments ecosystem.