“It’s not over, until I win” – How I passed CTP Exam?

Inspiration: "Its not over until I win" – Les Brown 

So what kept me hanging in there? The challenge.

Recipe to failure - CTP Exam

How I failed my CTP Exam: (read also: what did I do to fail?

Okay, so here is the trick.

Look for something entirely new (Treasury Management)
  • A book with ~1000 pages in Mandarin 
  • Home-made flash cards 
  • And of course - a couple of kids (add, as many as you like - not to mention, of your own) 
  • Some Liquidity (that is: *Cash* not yet claimed by your wife) 

Mix all of it well, and well… you’re all set to fail.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Part I: How to fail an Exam?

Seriously? looking for a recipe to fail? Well then – wait no more, jump directly the section marked as The Recipe to Fail.

However, if you were forced to descend on this land-of-rants via some strange looking link out of google search result then, may God be with you and I hope and pray this post wouldn’t disappoint you in on how to achieve the epics of failure.

Well, they say: “Failing to plan, is a plan to fail”. 

But, hold on! Before you judge my ingenious self, let me quote, “Never confuse education with intelligence” – I don’t know whoever said that, but just keep that in mind while you scan through my rant.

Times make me wonder if it’s a genetic fault, or was a failed-experiment mutated in my genes by UFO hovering Dubai Skies while I slumber – as to why (unknown/strange) I happen to look for trouble (I was gonna write *challenges* but that didn’t sound just right.).

What is Certified Treasury Professional (CTP) Exam?

Certified Treasury Professional® (CTP) is a globally recognized certification within Financial Services Industry. It was first introduced as the Certified Cash Manager (CCM). It sets the standard or benchmark by which individuals demonstrate their competency and professionalism in corporate treasury. This certificate is more US, Canada, Australia focused/inclined.

On the other hand, CertICM is counterpart certification provided by Association of Corporate Treasurers (ACT) that focuses on Europe, MENA region, and even in East Asia (Hong Kong, Singapore, etc). CertICM is called Certified in International Cash Management.

Worlds Best Design Patterns

Quick glance at design patterns, hand


Deep copy/shallow copy

Hides everything; one interface for all of the functionality; Complex subsystem
Create views for different types of documents;(html, pdf, doc, xml, etc)
Centralized creation of objects

create database connection for diff types of databases (sql, oracle, mysql, etc)
Decouple concrete classes from clients
Abstract Factory
Factory of factories

Report builder, header, footer, type (pdf, html, excel)
Separates construction from representation
Commands from the file menu; New, Open, Print, Exit
Iterates through a list of objects

Context help menu, help request goes to all of the controls on the windows forms; and whoever is responsible to provide the help, provides the help
Every objects gets a chance to perform its function. More: http://izlooite.blogspot.ae/2009/04/design-pattern-chain-of-responsibility.html

Unit of work
Manages a business transaction (That may contain list of transactions)
For instance, getting user input into a wizard.
Producer-Consumer Patter
A server getting millions of connections. All pushed into a queue, and processed one by one (or multiple, depending on server architecture).
Repository Pattern
Usually used with an ORM, that takes the responsibility of performing CRUD, by providing business methods

Multi device infrastructure

 Happy designing!

Do you know how a card payment works?

Just a couple of days ago, I was caught into a discussion explaining to a colleague how card payment process works. I thought this is a fair material to be shared. So here it is, in its simplest form. Note that, following simple elaboration does not mean, it is “that simple”. This provides high level of understanding or a basic understanding of how card network works, clears and settles transactions.

Do you know how a card payment is made?
If you are new to Card Payments, just remember ABCF (yes, not D, an F)
  • Credit card presented to merchant for purchase
  • A: Authorization request: Get the authorization from Issuer whether the card is valid or not.
  • Hold placed on credit limit
  • Authorization granted
  • Hold converted to charge/funds remitted through network to merchant
  • B: Batching: An end of day running
  • Charges sent for clearing by merchant/transaction data routed to issuing bank
  • C: Clearing: Debit entries
  • S: Settle: Payment of actual funds, credit entries
Lets imagine Robin (from the BatMan and Robin) is at the Nike outlet counter, and pulling out her brand new platinum credit card(or debit card, for that matter) with a MasterCard(or VISA) network stamped on it from Bank de Papa. She provides the card to the sales person on the cash counter, to charge for the shopping and then return the card.

What happens next?
  • Sales person swipes the card, and wait for the authorization code from Bank de Papa (that is, Issuer)
  • The transaction goes to Bank de Mama (that is, Acquirer), which in turn is routed to Card network.
  • Card network routes the transaction to Bank de Papa (that is, Acquirer)
  • Bank de Papa verifies the card detail, and if valid then provides an authorization code in return, via same path, all the way back to sales person credit card device (that is, Merchant)
  • Merchant runs the end of day, and send the batch to acquirer via card network

  • Robin: Card holder
  • Sales person on the cash counter: Merchant
  • Bank de Papa: Issuer bank
  • Bank de Mama: Acquirer
ŒŽIn case if you are lost in the Robin, her Mama and Papa, following visual will help you understand the complete flow of events.
card payment process
FIG1: Card payment business process flow (Debit Card, Credit Card, MasterCard, VISA, etc)

The messages exchanged are in international standard ISO format, called ISO8583. Checkout my other post to understand the ISO8583 message format.

Clearing and Settlement
Clearing/settlement generally happens through the Card Network settlement bank.
MasterCard transactions are processed through the MasterCard Worldwide Network using Global Clearing Management System (GCMS), and the MasterCard Settlement Account Management (S.A.M.) system.
In case of VISA, the Visa International Base II system clears and facilitates settlement. Settlement is not carried out through Base II; Visa merely provides the data to allow settlement to be carried out.
For settlement in US dollars, Chase Manhattan Bank, New York, acts as the settlement bank. For multicurrency settlement, Chase Manhattan Bank, London, acts as the settlement bank. All members may hold their own settlement account with any other financial institution, such that all requests for funds or payments are ultimately settled through the correspondent services of domestic clearing and settlement systems.
Write to me or comment, if you think you’ve got a feedback.

Want to know more?
Keywords: Gateway, Switch, Middleware, Country Switch, Visa, MasterCard, Cards, Payments, Card Payments, POS, Point of Sale, ATM, Automated Teller Machine, Payment Gateway,

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