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AAP Study Program - Your Path to Becoming an AAP


Your organization benefits from your knowledge!

The PaymentsFirst AAP Study Program was designed with the student in mind. This program offers comprehensive knowledge to help you prepare for the AAP exam, while providing you with an interactive experience and a valuable support system outside the classroom. Designed by trainers with an extensive background in electronic payments for aspiring AAP candidates. 

Ready for the challenge?  Let PaymentsFirst help you prepare for the exam!

There is even a continuing education option if you are looking for AAP/APRP credits!


2021 AAP Study Program PLUS

  •   only $1,295 for members | $2,590 for nonmembers

 Our ultimate program to prepare you for the AAP Exam includes:

  • AAP Review (Virtual) 2-Day Session on April 6th & 7th (recordings available to Study Program participants after Review dates)
    • Sessions included:
      • Overview of General Payments
      • Regulation E and Remittance Transfers
      • Risk Management Compliance
      • Third-Party Participants
      • Operational Processes and Exception Handling 
  • AAP Webinar Series - 2pm ET / 1pm CT - 90 minute sessions (includes 9 live sessions and two live Review Sessions, all will be recorded)
    • April 26th - ACH Products
    • May 10th - ACH Marketing
    • May 24th - Risk Assessments and ACH Audits, Compensation / Arbitration / Rules Enforcement
    • June 7th - UCC-4A
    • June 21st - Regulations
    • July 5th - Holiday Break - No session this week, do you need to catch up?
    • July 19th - Mid-Study Program Review Session
    • August 2nd - ACH File Formatting
    • August 16th - Federal Government Payments - Part 1
    • August 30th - Federal Government Payments - Part 2
    • September 13th - International ACH Transactions
    • September 27th - End of Study Program Review Session
  • Study Syllabus - available on AAP Study Program Participants page
  • Study Modules PDFs - available on AAP Study Program Participants page
  • Online Quizzes (begin week of May 31st)
  • Monthly Q&A Conference Calls
    • May 7th, June 4th, July 9th, August 6th, September 10th, and October 1st
    • 10am ET / 9am CT - 60 minutes in length (recordings made available to participants)

Click here to register


Looking for additional study materials?

AAP Prep Publications Package – only $350 for members | $700 for nonmembers

  • 2021 NACHA Operating Rules and Guidelines
  • ACH Compliance Manual
  • ACH Product and Marketing Handbook
  • Revised UCC4A and the ACH Network
  • AAP Flashcards (available late Spring 2021)
  • ACHPro CD 2021 (available late Spring 2021)

Click here to order AAP Prep Publication Package!

Why Should I Become an AAP?

AAPs are recognized throughout the payments industry as subject matter experts. The AAP designation distinguishes you within your organization and throughout the payments industry as one who has taken the extra step to become an expert in the field.

AAPs are in-demand and are recognized throughout the payments industry as the “go-to” staff member for all things ACH.

Achieving the AAP accreditation clearly demonstrates your commitment and dedication to the payments profession and boosts your profile in any company or government agency.

As long as you remain certified through Continuing Education or retesting, the AAP designation is yours. Holding the AAP designation could open new doors to career growth or opportunities.

AAP Value Proposition for Companies

Having staff on board that have the AAP credential reinforces that your organization is continually at the forefront of the information chain regarding current changes and updates to the NACHA Operating Rules and current Federal and state payments industry regulations. Key areas that your organization will profit from by having AAP-credentialed staff include but are not limited to:

  • Customer Satisfaction
  • Risk Management
  • Cost Control
  • Operational Efficiency
  • Product Development
  • Compliance

Who Should Get Accredited?

Any professional in the payments industry can work toward accreditation. If you’ve worked in ACH for at least two years, you’ll be adding a highly respected qualification to your professional development. if you’re relatively new to the field, you’ll give yourself an edge over the competition. At a minimum, NACHA recommends spending two years working in the payments industry before taking the AAP exam.

Exam Cost and Test Dates

2021 AAP Exam Information


Registration for the 2021 exam opened Monday, January 11, 2021.

2021 Test Window: Monday, Oct. 4, 2021 – Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021

Registration End Date: Friday, September 10, 2021
Member: $525, Non-Member: $650

Late Registration Period *: Saturday, Sept. 11 - Friday, Oct. 1, 2021
Member: $575, Non-Member: $700

Deferral End Date *: Friday, September 17, 2021
Member: $125, Non-Member: $125

Late Deferral Period *: Saturday, September 18 - Friday, October 1, 2021
Member: $150, Non-Member: $150

Substitution End Date *: Friday, October 1, 2021
Member: $90, Non-Member: $90

Cancellation End Date *: Monday, August 30, 2021
Member: $60, Non-Member: $60

*A written request is required for deferrals and cancellations.  Absolutely no registrations, deferrals, or substitutions will be processed after the deadline.

Register for Exam

Recommended Publications

Click here for Suggested Supplemental Resources

2021 NACHA Operating Rules and Guidelines
ACH Pro 2021 CD (available late Spring 2021)
The ACH Compliance Manual
AAP Flashcards 
ACH Marketing Handbook
Revised Uniform Commercial Code Article 4A and the Automated Clearing

Each publication can be purchased individually or as the AAP Prep Publication package


AAP Continuing Education Credits (CECs)

An AAP must earn 60 hours of Continuing Education, with no more than 20 hours earned in any one year, during the five year accreditation period. AAPs also have an option to retest during the fourth or fifth year if the Continuing Education requirements are not met.

Reporting of Credits: Please keep track of continuing education credits earned throughout the year.

  • Filing Deadline Date:  March 31st (for prior year)
  • Late Filing Deadline - April 30th (late fee applies)
  • File Credits online

How do I Earn AAP Credits?

How Many Credits Have I Earned?

This information is at your finger tips.
  1. Log into www.paymentsfirst.org
  2. Go to Members Only Section 
  3. View/Pay Invoices to see a history of training you attended.
  4. Add up the credits
AAP Credits per training opportunity
One day workshop - 6.6
Webinar - 60 minutes - 1.2 / 90 minutes - 1.8
Solutions Conference - Up to 13.8 credits
Evolution Education Event - up to 7.2
AAP Review - 13.2 credits

Please reference the AAP Continuing Education Guidelines for more information.

Continuing Education Temporary Waiver - Effective March 13, 2020

In response to recent guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding the COVID-19 virus, the AAP Blue Ribbon Panel and the APRP Oversight Panel approved a temporary waiver of the maximum number of Continuing Education Credits (CECs) that can be earned via self-study. The AAP and APRP Continuing Education Guidelines currently allow for a maximum of 10 hours per year earned via self-study.

You are still required to fulfill your 60 hour CEC requirement during your certification period, but this temporary waiver allows you to obtain all of the maximum 20 hours earned in calendar year 2020, and now also applies to credits earned between Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 2021.

When filing your credits online or by form during the wavier period, all Self-Study (aka Web Based Learning System) programs should be categorized as In Person Conf., Seminar, Webinar (aka Prof Trng) to ensure you obtain the maximum 20 credits allowed in this category.

Both Nacha and the Payments Associations provide many opportunities for webinars or other distance learning and we encourage you to visit the Nacha website and the Center for Payments to learn more about upcoming education offerings.

As a reminder, this policy pertains only to credits earned between Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 2020, and Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 2021. If you are eligible to file 2020 CECs, but have not done so, please note the deadline to file is March 31, 2021. Late filings will be accepted April 1-April 30 for an additional $50.