ECCHO Announces Check Payments Certification Program

New program and certification test aim to enhance industry’s check knowledge.

July 8, 2011

The Electronic Check Clearing House Organization (ECCHO) announces the launch of the National Check Payments Certification (NCPC) program. It’s designed to help financial institutions enhance staff’s knowledge of check products and processing.

ECCHO is partnering with the Upper Midwest Automated Clearing House Association, Viewpointe, and the Wisconsin Automated Clearing House Association to prepare training for an annual certification exam that ECCHO will administer.

“Improvements in the check system have changed the characteristics and processing requirements of checks while greatly increasing the efficiency of the check payments system and enabling huge industry savings,” says David Walker, ECCHO president. “However, some of these changes have resulted in staffing reductions that dilute the industry’s collective expertise.”

The resulting challenge, replacing traditional paper check knowledge with an understanding of the new electronic check environment, has created the need for a national program for check payments certification.

The rate and volume of change in the check payment system during the past five years are unlike any in the history of U.S. payments. According to the “The 2010 Federal Reserve Payments Study,” more than 96% of all checks are processed electronically.

In 2009, there were more than 24 billion checks processed with a value totaling $31 trillion. Given the significant volume and value of checks in the payments system, the degree of operational and product change resulting from the shift from paper to electronics, and the complexity of ongoing regulatory changes, industry participants need to maintain and cultivate additional check expertise.

The NCPC certification exam will test check knowledge in four areas:

  1. Rules, laws, and regulations;
  2. Fraud and risk mitigation;
  3. Check operations; and
  4. Check products.

ECCHO and its partners will offer a pilot exam in November. The first publicly available certification exam will occur in spring 2012. Contact Anita Driscoll for more information.