Certificate for Documentary Credit Specialists (CDCS)

Professional Qualifications

Certificate for Documentary Credit Specialists (CDCS)

Recognised worldwide as a benchmark of competence in documentary credits, CDCS will build your skills and help you advance your trade finance career.


About the qualification

As a trade finance professional, you understand the importance of documentary credits and the need to ensure that all parties adhere to the international guidelines.

CDCS will improve your knowledge and understanding of the complex issues associated with documentary credit best practice. You’ll learn to:

  • understand documentary credits – the products, parties, processes and rules that underpin documentary credit transactions
  • identify documentary credit risks, breaches and irregularities
  • manage documentary credit transactions
  • apply knowledge of processes, ICC rules and trade terms.

CDCS is a globally recognised standard of competence, which we created with industry experts and manage in partnership with the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC).

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, 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

Benefits for you

  • 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 £695.00 – price includes your study materials and exam entry  
When to apply? Registrations are open all year round
No. of modules       One
Average time to complete Six 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 our 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

Once you’ve passed you’ll receive a digital certificate. A paper copy can also be ordered for an additional fee.
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)

Supported by


Endorsed by




CDCS consists of one unit.

Unit 1: Principles and Practices of Documentary Credit Transactions (PDT)

  • Documentary credits – types, characteristics and uses, including standby credits
  • Rules and trade terms, including UCP 600, ISP98, 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
  • Risk issues, including types of risks, control, and possible mitigations
  • Related products, including letters of indemnity, air way releases and steamship guarantees


CDCS is an online qualification available on demand through our VLE platform, Brightspace, which you will be able to access through your own personal MyLIBF account. Everything is online, so you can study anytime, anywhere on any device and fit your learning around your work and life commitments.

When you register for CDCS, you’ll also have access to:

  • the unit syllabus
  • a student handbook
  • a specimen paper
  • exam simulation exercises
  • e-quiz, and
  • a student-led forum.

You can complete CDCS in six months, but if you need longer you will still have access to Brightspace and resources for one year from registration.

CDCS Registry

The international CDCS Registry contains the names of those who hold the CDCS designation.

If you complete CDCS successfully, your details will be added to the registry though this may take up to 30 days after your receive your results. You'll need to recertify successfully every three years to ensure your name remains on the registry.

If you have any queries, please email customerservices@libf.ac.uk or call +44 (0)12 2781 8609.

Search the Register

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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.

Exam and assessment information


Additional study support

You can purchase additional study support when you register for CDCS or later through your MyLIBF account.

CDCS Exam Training Videos

In collaboration with Gary Collyer, our CDCS editor and renowned documentary credit expert, and based on our analysis of the CDCS examination results we have produced a series of three videos that will provide you with insight and will help you avoid the common mistakes that others have made in the past.

CDCS 1 is free and gives you a taster of what to expect in the other videos

CDCS 2 costs £25, relates to the simulations exercises in the examination and looks at the process of answering that should maximise your scores

CDCS 3 costs £35 and covers the 6 main areas that students typically find more difficult

The videos can be watched on any device, from anywhere in the world – as long as you have internet access – giving you the flexibility to study when and where it suits you. You can watch them as many times as needed and you will have access to them for 12 months.

Check out our free introduction video (CDCS 1) to give you a taster of our CDCS videos.

Accredited Learning Support Providers

Some students prefer a qualification route with extra learning support. In addition to having long-term partners worldwide, we have recognised a select number of course providers offering CDCS learning support. Using a learning support provider is entirely up to you – it is NOT a requirement of your studies – but this extra support might help your learning. You’ll need to pay for such provision directly to your chosen Accredited Learning Support Providers (ALSPs). Please note you will still need to register and complete CDCS through us as we are the qualification awarding body.

Find out more about ALSPs

There are many organisations offering training courses for London Institute of Banking & Finance awards. An ALSP is a training organisation that has joined our ALSP scheme and has been formally recognised by us as delivering appropriate additional learning and training support.


To gain our recognition, an ALSP’s course is assessed rigorously and must continue to meet certain quality standards relating to:


  • accuracy of course information
  • comparability to The London Institute of Banking & Finance’s programme of study
  • accuracy of course content
  • quality of delivery, both online and in a classroom
  • trainer/author credentials
  • course management policies and procedures
  • satisfactory annual reporting of their training activities and course management

While all ALSPs’ courses undergo regular monitoring, they might not be suitable for all students and we offer no guarantee of success in the exam to users of them. If you are considering using third party services, it’s very important that you assess their offering against your needs and choose your provider with great care – please see the FAQ on what you should look for when choosing a learning support provider. A list of our current CDCS ALSPs is here.

Using a third party learning provider is entirely your choice: it is NOT a requirement of your CDCS studies. However, once you have commenced your studies, if you feel you would like or need supplementary support in addition to the resources available from The London Institute of Banking and Finance, paying for an additional course might benefit you. For example, an extra online course from a training provider might be structured in a way that suits your learning style.


Many training organisations also offer face-to-face workshops and live webinars. The benefits of these include you being able to meet and learn with fellow students and a qualified trainer, discuss issues relating to your individual needs, undertake varied activities, practice exam questions and better understand your progress and learning gaps - all away from the distractions of a work/home environment.

There are dozens of learning support providers offering training courses. Please be aware that while websites appear to be professional-looking, not all are bona fide organisations: for example, read about the ruling by the Advertising Standards Agency in 2018.


So, if you are considering using a learning support provider that is not an ALSP, we strongly recommend you read its website thoroughly and look at whether:

  • it can be contacted by phone or e-mail (beware of those only offering a call-back service)
  • an address is given – check that the company and its address are genuine. Do an online search on the address: does the company operate from professional-looking premises?
  • training course fees are clearly stated
  • it states you will also need to register with The London Institute of Banking & Finance and pay the appropriate fee
  • syllabus information and course content appear accurate, complete and up to date
  • there are any testimonials (but bear in mind they might not be genuine)
  • there are clearly stated terms and conditions. Make sure you read them carefully
  • the organisation claims to be recognised or accredited by The London Institute of Banking & Finance and/or uses its logo. Please note that only ALSPs are authorised to state they are accredited by us and display the official ALSP logo. The names and contact details of our ALSPs who offer support for CDCS are published on our website here.

You are strongly advised not to simply register and/or pay for a course online. Your first step should be to phone the organisation to discuss the course and your needs. If they cannot describe the course in detail, or if there is no answer and they do not reply to voicemails or e-mails, you should be very cautious.

We are aware of a number of revision courses and learning materials being offered for sale online. If these are not being offered by one of our Accredited Learning Support Providers, you should be very wary of buying them even if they appear to be good value.

The provider and the materials have not been reviewed by us and therefore their quality and relevance to your studies is unknown. Note that these materials might be incomplete, inaccurate or out of date and could therefore be misleading to you.


Your CDCS designation will remain valid for three 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.
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International students registration

Registrations and queries for students from Bangladesh, China, Indonesia, Malaysia and South Korea should be directed to the email addresses and telephone numbers provided under the relevant country below.

The Secretary General
ICC Bangladesh Suvastu Tower (56th Floor), 69/1 Pantha Path, Dhaka-1205 Bangladesh
Email: arahman@icc-bd.org or iccb@bdmail.net
Phone: 880-2862-1942 or 880-29676698

Ms Deng Mo
Training Center of CCPIT and CCOIC No 2 Huapichang Hutong
Xicheng District
Bejing, 100035 China
Email: cdcschina@ccpit.org
Phone: (+8610)82217209

ICC Indonesia Tempo Pavilion 1 building 8th Floor Jl HR Rasuna Said Kav 11 Jakarta 12950 Indonesia
Email: icc@iccindonesia.org
Phone: (+62) 21 29667914 or fax (+62) 21 29667915

ICC Malaysia Level 26 Menara Hong Leong No 6 Jalan Damanlela Bukit Damansara 50490 Kuala Lumpur Malaysia
Email: icc.cpk@rdl.com.my
Phone: 03-2632 9999

Ms Sangkyung Kim
Korea International Finance Institute KIFI Building 50-8 Toegyero 20 Gil, Jung-gu Seoul 100-042
Email: kifi01@naver.com 
Phone: (+82) 2 778 0808

International Chamber of Commerce – Thailand 150/2 Rajbopit Road
Watrajbopit Pranakorn
Bangkok 10200
Email: admin@iccthailand.or.th 
Phone: (+662) 622 218

Please contact the Trade Team at The London Institute of Banking & Finance Email: trade@libf.ac.uk.

Request further information

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