Documentary Credit Courses, Certification and Training (CDCS)

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Trade Finance Global / Introduction to Letters of Credit | 2024 Guide / Documentary Collections / Documentary Credit Courses, Certification and Training (CDCS)

Documentary Credit Specialist Certification and Training (CDCS)

Certificate for Documentary Credit Specialists (CDCS)

If you are looking for a documentary credit specialist certification, you have come to the right place. TFG has partnered with the London Institute of Banking and Finance to offer the Certificate for Documentary Credit Specialists (CDSC) designation. CDSC is the industry certification designed for finance professionals who want to improve their knowledge of documentary credits, the products, parties, processes and rules that underpin documentary credit transactions, and receive industry approved Letter of Credit training.


  • Royal Charter approved Qualification
  • Comprehensive training, approved by Trade Finance Global
  • Free one year supply of Trade Finance Talks Magazine
  • Written in consultation with industry experts

The Certificate for Documentary Credit Specialists (CDCS® ) is a professional qualification recognized worldwide as the benchmark of competence for international practitioners; it was primarily designed for students with at least three years experience working with documentary credits.

Its purpose is to enable documentary credit practitioners to demonstrate practical knowledge and understanding of the complex issues associated with documentary credit practice.

CDCS® develops the knowledge and skills required to accurately check documents and manage documentary credit transactions. Within this, it provides a core understanding of documentary credits and the products, parties, processes and rules that underpin transactions. As well as developing the ability to identify irregularities and risks.

CDCS Graphics

Who is the course for?

This course is perfect for those seeking to gain an understanding of documentary credit or anyone aspiring to work within an area dealing with letters of credit. This certificate will allow you to stand out from the crowd as you can use the CDCS designation after your name upon completion. 

If you are already working with documentary credits then this qualification is designed for you. CDCS® is a professional qualification recognized worldwide as the benchmark of competence for international practitioners. While it is intended for experienced practitioners, the qualification could also be used to gain wider experience/knowledge in this sector, to transfer into the sector and for continuing professional development (CPD) purposes which could, therefore, qualify you to work in another field.

Why get a Certificate for Documentary Credit Specialists?

The CDCS® will enable you as a documentary credit practitioner to gain practical knowledge and understanding of the complex issues associated with documentary credit practice

The unit is designed to enable documentary credit specialists to understand documentary credits, the products, parties, processes and rules that underpin documentary credit transactions. As well as the ability to manage documentary credit transactions and identify irregularities, by applying knowledge of processes, ICC rules and trade terms.

In addition to this improved knowledge, a Certificate for Documentary Credit Specialists will:

  • Qualify in as little as six months
  • Study online – anytime, anywhere on any device
  • Access research tools and industry analysis through KnowledgeBank and Financial World magazine
  • Demonstrate your expertise with an internationally recognised qualification
  • Add the professional designation ‘CDCS’ after your name for the three-year validation cycle
  • Advance your career and promotion prospects

  • Registration Fee: £615
  • Exam Re-sit Fee: £350
  • Recertification fee: £200
When to Apply? CDCS is on demand so you can register at any time using our online registration system.
No. of modules 1
Average time to complete : 6 months
Study Type This qualification is on demand. Everything is online and you can study at a pace that suits you.
Study Material
  • Unit syllabus
  • Student handbook
  • Study text
  • Specimen paper
  • Exam simulation exercises
  • e-Quiz and,
  • A student-led forum
  • x3 CDCS Exam Training Videos – Video 1 (free), Video 2 (£25), Video 3 (£35).

You will be learning on LIBF’s new VLE Brightspace, click on the logo to find out more.

Assessment type Three hour and 15-minute examination with multiple-choice questions and document checking exercises
Assessment provider You can book your exam at any designated test centre around the world
Regulation Level 4, Ofqual and the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF)
Recertification The CDCS designation will remain valid for 3 years. To retain it, you need to take part in the recertification programme or retake the exam at the end of the three-year period. Find out about CPD and recertification for trade finance professionals.
Read the CDCS qualification specification

Course Overview

CDCS® is made up of one mandatory unit on the Principles and Practices of Documentary Credit Transactions (PDT) which must be successfully completed in order for you to achieve the certificate

The qualification will encourage you to: 

  • analyze documentary credit products and reflect upon their desirability and effectiveness in a variety of scenarios;  
  • apply appropriate rules and guidelines to a variety of documentary credit transaction scenarios;  
  • develop an understanding of current technical language, methods and practices of documentary credit transactions;  
  • select and analyze appropriate data and information from a range of sources; and,  
  • increase your ability to work and learn independently. 

Further details

There are no specific entry requirements and registration is open year-round. However, working knowledge of the basics of trade finance would be an advantage and you need to be satisfied with your ability to study in English at Level 4.

In line with the London Institute of Banking & Finance regulations, as CDCS is a single unit qualification, recognition of prior learning does not apply.

The CDCS is an RQF Level 4 qualification that is recognized worldwide as a benchmark of competence in documentary credits. It enables documentary credit practitioners to demonstrate practical knowledge and understanding of the complex issues associated with documentary credit practice.

Your studies will cover

  • The types, characteristics and uses of documentary credits and standby letters of credit
  • Rules and trade terms, including UCP 600, ISP98, ISBP 745, Incoterms® 2020 and URR 725
  • Parties to documentary credit transactions and their roles and obligations
  • Types and methods of payment and credit used in documentary credit transactions, including the concept of autonomy
  • Types of transport, commercial and financial documents used in documentary credit transactions
  • Related products including letters of indemnity, air way releases and steamship guarantees
  • The implications of breaching rules including money laundering and terrorist financing.

Time required to study

Total Qualification Time (TQT) is a prediction of the total time a student with no prior knowledge might need to complete the course.

TQT consists of two elements, Guided Learning (GL) and all other hours:

  • GL is time spent studying under the immediate guidance of supervision of a teacher.
  • All other hours include hours spent unsupervised in research, learning, e-learning, eassessment, completing coursework, completing homework, exam preparation, and formal assessments.

CDCS® is primarily considered as a self-directed study qualification with planned examination sessions.

  • Guided Learning Hours: 3 hours
  • Other hours: 289 hours
  • Total Qualification Time: 292 hours

Examination / Assessment and further details

You’ll be assessed in an exam that lasts three hours and 15 minutes. The examination is split into two sections:

  • Section A – 60 multiple-choice questions
  • Section B – ten multiple-choice questions and three document checking exercises
  • You can book your exam at any designated test centre around the world and will get your results within 24 hours.

Read here for more info about exam and assessments.

Learning resources that you’re given

CDCS is an online qualification where students are expected to learn through self-study.  Preparation for the examination usually takes six months with comprehensive learning materials provided.  Upon registration, students will be sent a detailed study text which they study from independently. In addition to the study text, a mock paper is also available to download.

The following study materials are also included in your registration fee and are available immediately after registration:

  • online access through MyLIBF to learning materials and to KnowledgeBank
  • a unit syllabuses
  • Study text
  • e-quiz
  • specimen paper
  • a student-led forum

Please note: in order to reflect any changes to the syllabus, the study resources are normally updated annually. It is a student’s responsibility to make sure they are studying from the most up-to-date materials that will be assessed. 

Extras (from TFG)

By registering for this course through the TFG partnership program you will also receive:

  • A free hard copy subscription to TFG’s Trade Finance Talks magazine,
  • A free subscription to TFG’s podcast series, and  
  • A free subscription to TFG’s e-newsletter

TFG produces a wealth of educational videos and guides for businesses on topics around trade, and shares industry knowledge through its role as strategic media partners for trade conference providers around the world.

Attracting around 100k monthly readers, our online publications (the Trade Portal) have a global audience in 185 countries. Our newly launched specialist content hubs provide guides, thought leadership articles and features on almost every aspect of trade. Gaining access to this wealth of information will be the perfect supplement to your supply chain finance certification and will enable you to continue learning and increasing your expertise. 


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About the Author

Sheena is responsible for the TFG Weekly Trade Briefings at Trade Finance Global (TFG).

She loves the digitalisation of trade and is fascinated about its impact on day to day transactions.

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