ACFCS Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Are you seeking more information about CFCS certification? Do you have general questions about the CFCS exam or why so many compliance professionals who examine financial crime receive their CFCS credential? See below for answers to many of our most frequently asked questions.
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Why should you become a Certified Financial Crime Specialist (CFCS)?

You may be wondering: “What does a Certified Financial Crime Specialist (CFCS) do that is different than others in the field?”

The CFCS certification responds to one of the most critical and timely trends in the field – the need for crime detection and prevention professionals with a broader, more unified understanding of financial crime that is not limited to one specific area, like fraud, money laundering, or corruption. Financial institutions, government agencies, and law enforcement organizations are increasingly moving away from a “siloed” approach and are seeking to leverage shared tools, techniques, and expertise between a wide variety of financial crime disciplines. The CFCS credential helps verify knowledge and skills across the financial crime spectrum, improving results and preparing compliance professionals and other experts in the field for this emerging best practice.

What are the advantages of being CFCS-certified?

The CFCS credential is increasingly sought after. It is obtained by professionals who serve the world’s largest financial institutions, government agencies, law enforcement organizations, and service providers in the US and globally in over 80 countries. By earning a CFCS certification, individuals demonstrate they are prepared to address a wide range of financial crime threats, and organizations demonstrate a commitment to a higher standard in financial crime detection and prevention to help formulate better financial crime compliance.

What is the difference between the CFCS credential and other certifications?

The CFCS credential is the most comprehensive certification in the financial crime detection and prevention field. Whereas other credentials typically focus on only one area, the CFCS certification covers 12 key topics, providing validation of knowledge throughout a wide range of financial crime understanding. This broad-based approach enables individuals who become certified financial crime specialists (CFCS) to confront a variety of financial crime risks. The CFCS credential also promotes flexibility in career paths, and allows specialists to assist organizations with defying emerging threats.

I currently hold another certification, should I also obtain my CFCS credential?

The CFCS credential can be effective as a stand-alone certification, or as a complement to other designations you may have already earned. Many in our CFCS-certified community also hold other credentials related to financial crime. They report that earning the CFCS certification has opened new avenues in their careers, increased their awareness of financial crime risk, and most importantly, assisted them in improving results in crime detection and prevention.

What types of individuals and organizations obtain the CFCS certification?

How do you become a certified financial crimes investigator? The answer is by obtaining the CFCS credential, which is based on international best practices and designed to benefit both the public and private sectors. Professionals at 15 of the world’s 20 largest financial institutions hold the CFCS certification, along with regulatory agencies, law enforcement, and non-financial corporations. There are CFCS-certified individuals in more than 80 countries and jurisdictions. The certification is a particularly good fit for professionals that require a broad-based view into financial crime, such as analysts, investigators, and roles in financial intelligence units.

What is ACFCS?

The Association of Certified Financial Crime Specialists (ACFCS) specializes in providing modern financial crime prevention certification and training. Learn more about our who we are.

CFCS Certification

What is included in the CFCS Certification package?

CFCS exam candidates receive in-depth training materials that cover the diverse financial crime landscape, from more established areas like fraud and money laundering, to recent hot topics such as cybersecurity, anti-corruption and tax evasion, as well as law enforcement. The CFCS Certification

Package includes the following:

  • CFCS Exam Study Manual

  • Online CFCS Exam Prep Webinars

  • CFCS Exam Practice Questions

  • CFCS Exam fee

How much does the CFCS Certification package cost?

The CFCS package includes comprehensive materials, online training, and more.

CFCS Certification Package costs are offered at a value of:

  • $1,395 for Individuals (w/ 1-year of ACFCS membership)

  • $850 for Government (w/ 1-year of ACFCS membership)

What is the procedure for scheduling and taking the CFCS exam?

The CFCS exam is offered on an ongoing basis throughout the year through the Online Proctored (OLP) network from Kryterion. You will be able to sit for the exam from the convenience of your own home on a date and time of your choosing.

How many questions are on the CFCS exam?

There are 145-scenario based, multiple-choice questions on the CFCS exam that deal with financial crime detection, prevention, financial crime compliance and other areas of expertise.

How long does the CFCS exam take?

Candidates have four hours allotted to complete the CFCS exam.

What are the eligibility requirements for CFCS?

Candidates must have a minimum of forty (40) credits based on education, training, other professional certifications, and professional experience in the financial crime field to qualify for the CFCS certification. Please reference the CFCS Handbook for more details.

What are the requirements for taking the exam online?

Please reference the CFCS Handbook and Kryterion’s online testing requirements here.

What if I did not pass the exam?

Candidates can retake the CFCS exam after a 60-day waiting period, accompanied by a $195 retake fee. The retake fee does not extend the CFCS course or membership. If either has expired, an additional cost may be applied to extend the CFCS course and renew membership.

What can I do if my CFCS course expires?

Candidates have one year from the date of purchase to sit for the CFCS examination. Extensions are possible under certain extenuating circumstances. Please reference the CFCS Handbook for more details. The fee to extend the CFCS course is $100.

Membership upon certification

Am I required to maintain membership after I have obtained the CFCS credential?

Yes, certified members are required to maintain an active membership throughout their certification cycle. ACFCS membership is a separate fee from certification and recertification.

CFCS Recertification

How do I obtain my CFCS recertification credit hours?

Accumulating credit hours for your CFCS credential can be obtained through many avenues, such as:

  • ACFCS Membership: Maintaining an active ACFCS membership. 

  • Professional Experience: hours worked directly in the scope of financial crime.

  • Training: ACFCS online training, webinars, conferences, and/or through reputable third-party organizations.

  • Professional Certification: Credits for other professional certifications in the financial crime detection, prevention, and compliance fields.

  • Please reference the Recertification Handbook for additional recertification activities. 

What is the recertification process and cost?

Every 3 years you must earn continuing education credits::

  • 60 credits
You must also pay a fee:
  • Individuals: $125
  • Government: $95

All recertifying members must submit a signed affidavit along with meeting the above requirements. 

Do you accept late recertification applications?

Yes. ACFCS will accept recertification applications up to three (3) months after the recertification deadline has passed. Please email any completed forms to the Certification Department at certification@ACFCS.org. The fee for late recertification submissions is $200, which can be paid online or through an ACFCS account representative. Applicants may contact the Certification Department with questions at (786) 530-8231.

Will ACFCS ever deny recertification and can I lose my CFCS credential?

CFCS-certified members who fail to submit their applications by the recertification deadline or have not maintained an active ACFCS membership through the duration of their certification cycle will be denied. Applicants will be required to retake the CFCS examination to recertify.

The only exceptions that apply are due to the following extenuating circumstances:

  • Loss of employment.

  • Illness of either the applicant or an immediate family member.

  • Deployment for active duty in the armed forces.


Those with any of the above extenuating circumstances should contact the Certification

Department to discuss an extension. Applicants who are granted an extension will receive a 12-month

grace period for recertification. However, this does not change your recertification cycle. Applicants who are denied recertification and do not recertify through

examination are required to discontinue using the CFCS credential.

ACFCS Membership

What is included in my ACFCS membership?

All ACFCS members have access to: 

  • Access to 300+ on-demand webinars per year

  • Access to 20+ live member-only webinars per year 

  • Access to the annual Fincrime Virtual Week conference

  • Certificate of Participation for all live and online training

  • Live event discounts and more. 

What is the cost to become a member?

Please visit the membership page here for pricing details.

How do I access the ACFCS membership portal?

Click on ‘Member Log In’ at the top-right corner of the ACFCS home page.

What if I forget my password for the membership portal?

The login page for the ACFCS membership portal has a ‘Forgot Password’ option available for those individuals having trouble with their password. New members will be provided with a temporary password and will be prompted to change their password upon logging in the first time. 

Why can’t I change my username in the membership portal?

The username is locked for security reasons and is typically the email address used when you first joined ACFCS. Your email address and username can be different and updating your email address will not affect your username.

Where can I see my credits on the membership portal?

Please follow these steps.

  • Log in to the ACFCS membership portal here.

  • Access to 20+ live member-only webinars per year 

  • Access to the annual Fincrime Virtual Week conference

  • Certificate of Participation for all live and online training

All your courses will appear with their associated credits. Any courses with a certificate of participation/completion included will appear with a ‘ribbon’ icon. Simply click on the ribbon icon to download your certificate.


Where can I register for upcoming webinars?

On the ACFCS home page go to the ‘Training’ tab and you will see a menu option for ‘Webinars.’ You can also click here

Members: Member ONLY webinars can have a separate registration. Please log in to the ACFCS membership portal and click on the ‘Member Exclusive Webinars’ tile on the portal home page. Included on this page will be all upcoming member webinars. Click on the tile for your preferred webinar. Once inside the event page, DO NOT click on the ‘Enroll’ button. The registration link will be found in the webinar description. You will be taken to the webinar registration page on either On24 or Zoom. 

Where can I register for upcoming events?

On the ACFCS home page go to the ‘Events’ tab and you will see a menu option for ‘Upcoming Events.’ You can also click here. You will be taken to a page with our various upcoming events. Follow the appropriate prompts to register. 

Do live webinars provide a Certificate of Participation?

Yes, however, it is a member-only benefit. Non-members are welcome to attend any ACFCS webinars. However, only members will receive a certificate of participation upon completion of the event.

Members: Please follow these steps to access your certificate of participation. 

  • Log in to the ACFCS membership portal here.

  • Click on the User Menu (3 horizontal lines) next to the CFCS logo. 

  • Go to ‘My Account.’ 

  • Click on ‘Courses’ on the menu bar.

  • Download your certificate by clicking on the ‘ribbon’ icon. 

Crypto Compliance Specialization (C2S)

Please visit the C2S page for the FAQs.

AML 360

Please visit the AML 360 page for the FAQs.

See What Certified Financial Crime Specialists Are Saying

"The CFCS tests the skills necessary to fight financial crime. It's comprehensive. Passing it should be considered a mark of high achievement, distinguishing qualified experts in this growing specialty area."


(JD, Washington)

"It's a vigorous exam. Anyone passing it should have a great sense of achievement."


(CFCS, Official Superior

de Cumplimiento Cidel

Bank & Trust Inc. Nueva York)

"The exam tests one's ability to apply concepts in practical scenarios. Passing it can be a great asset for professionals in the converging disciplines of financial crime."


(CFCS, Royal Band of

Canada, Montreal)

"The Exam is far-reaching. I love that the questions are scenario based. I recommend it to anyone in the financial crime detection and prevention profession."


(CFCS, CAMS Lead Compliance

Trainer, FINRA, Member Regulation

Training, Washington, DC)

"This certification comes at a very ripe time. Professionals can no longer get away with having siloed knowledge. Compliance is all-encompassing and enterprise-driven."

Director, Global Risk
& Investigation Practice
FTI Consulting, Los Angeles