Why I Became an APRP

Tammy McFerran, AAP, APRP, Vice President, Senior Internal Auditor of Country Club Bank is one of many EPCOR members to obtain the Accredited Payments Risk Professional (APRP) certification. Tammy agreed to answer a few questions pertaining to APRP certification and her experiences.

Why did you decide to become an APRP?

“I like to know how things work and why they work the way they do. With all of the innovation in the payments space, there’s no shortage of new, shiny things to analyze! But, I found when I talked to others, there was always a little hesitation as they wondered if I really knew what I was talking about. So, I looked for a credential that says: I understand risk, I know information security and FFIEC Guidelines, plus I’m fluent in payments. That’s what led me to the APRP accreditation.”

What was it like to sit for the exam?

“Just like the AAP exam, there is a lot of information to study. However, EPCOR was extremely helpful and supportive throughout the preparation process. For example, there were conference calls in which a payments association subject matter expert went through a set of guidelines and explained a risk process. I had not only the SME’s contact information but also the contact information of others in my prep class. I still stay in contact with a few of them today.

Because I was part of the first group to take the exam, I was really nervous going in for my appointment. However, once I sat down, I saw the familiar testing format used for the AAP certification and remembered my test taking tips. I felt confident and prepared.”

How has being an APRP helped you in your job or how has it helped your organization?

“I’m an additional resource within my organization that can be utilized to ensure we always ‘put our best foot forward’ for our customers and our employees. Having a solid understanding of risk and FFIEC Guidelines allows me to assist various payments areas of my organization in thinking through how products are designed and implemented, or evaluating processes from a perspective of making them safer and stronger while remaining compliant.”

What advice would you give someone who is considering becoming an APRP?

“If it’s worth having, it’s worth working for. There are different focuses (e.g. risk, information security, NIST and other standards, emerging/alternative payments systems and the FFIEC Guidelines to name a few) included within this certification, so chances are there is an area you’re going to be unfamiliar with. This is an opportunity to learn. I thought I knew payments before but now I feel like I KNOW PAYMENTS. Take advantage of resources such as EPCOR, your APRP Prep Program instructor and your APRP Buddy, and ask questions. There’s a lot of support available to make you successful.”