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Credit Card Processing Over Satellite

Credit Card Processing Over SatelliteDo you sell items on a cruise ship? How about out on safari or hunting trips? Or gone to a trade show in a remote area and needed to run credit cards in real-time.

For years GMN has offered real-time satellite credit card processing services for cruise ships and other remote locations. We offer unique solutions for everyone from individual merchants at trade-shows to large sports arenas and cruise ships.

For a custom quote for your exact needs, please contact us.


Credit Card Processing Over Satellite: Maritime

For credit card processing at sea, you will need the following items:

  • VX570 Verifone Terminal (or other internet-based processor)
  • An account with a merchant service provider
  • Iridium Pilot, Inmarsat Fleetbroadband, or VSAT satellite broadband unit
  • Satellite airtime for your broadband unit

Equipment

Iridium PilotYou will need an Iridium Pilot, Inmarsat Fleetbroadband like a Sailor 150, a VSAT unit, or Thuraya Seagull (if you are within their coverage area). Any of these satellite units will work in marine  environments. They are fixed installations that cannot easily be moved from place to place.

Regardless of the satellite unit you have onboard, you will need a VX570 Verifone Terminal (or other internet-based processor) in order to read the credit cards.

Services

Airtime for your satellite unit depends on how many credit cards you plan on processing and if you plan on doing other activities over satellite internet than just credit card transactions. Some satellite broadband units (Inmarsat FleetBroadband, for example) can use prepaid airtime, while others (Iridium Pilot and VSAT) can only use postpaid (subscription) airtime.

The last thing you’ll need is a merchant services account. You may already have an account with a merchant services provider and you are more than welcome to continue using those services. If you don’t have a merchant services provider, we can help set up an account for you.


Credit Card Processing Over Satellite: Land-based

For credit card processing on land, you will need the following items:

  • VX570 Verifone Terminal (or other internet-based processor)
  • An account with a merchant service provider
  • Inmarsat BGAN satellite broadband terminal
  • Satellite airtime for your broadband unit

Equipment

A good BGAN unit for satellite credit card processing is the BGAN 9202. There are many different BGAN models beyond the 9202, although the 9202 is a great system for mobile land-based satellite credit card processing because it is small, portable, and quite fast.

You may also use Thuraya IP broadband satellite terminal, but note that Thuraya only offers regional coverage, primarily in Europe and the Middle East. Inmarsat has much broader coverage, although it does thin out after 70° latitude.

BGAN Prepaid Airtime 250 unitsFor fixed land-based remote installations, an Iridium Pilot is also an excellent choice. Although it is not portable, a Pilot provides global coverage and reliable connections. We have seen Pilots successfully installed in hunting lodges, for example, to provide WiFi for guests.

Services

Airtime for your satellite unit depends on how many credit cards you plan on processing and if you plan on doing other activities over satellite internet than just credit card transactions. BGAN terminals have excellent prepaid airtime options available. Iridium Pilot only offers subscription (postpaid) satellite airtime.

The last thing you’ll need is a merchant services account. You may already have an account with a merchant services provider and you are more than welcome to continue using those services. If you don’t have a merchant services provider, we can help set up an account for you.


How Credit Card Processing Works Over Satellite

Once you have your satellite equipment, you can hook your credit card processor directly up to your broadband unit and process credit cards that way, or you can hook your credit card processor up to your computer and run them through your computer.

If you use your computer, however, you will absolutely want an Optimizer. This little router makes a firewall that will block all activity over your satellite unit that doesn’t go through XGate or XWeb (we can program it to also allow activity from your credit card processing machine). Otherwise you might be looking at very high satellite airtime bills for things like automatic updates that you don’t want downloading over your satellite internet connection.

What is the Per-Transaction Cost For Credit Card Over Satellite?

A single real-time process of a credit card is about 5kb. If there is back-and-forth (say, if the card is denied), then there will be a little more data used. If there are also connection costs, those will take a small portion the of satellite airtime.

A prepaid 100 unit BGAN card will get approximately 10 MB of data. In an ideal situation where all of the credit cards go through, you would get 2,048 transactions before needing to buy more airtime.

Of course, in real time, with connection costs and denials, etc, it will be less than that. We estimate that you could get about 1,600 transactions before buying more airtime. That would put you at approximately $0.05 cents per transaction (in terms of airtime).

Depending on your airtime plan, that number could be neglible (with a super high data plan). It’s safe to say, however, that even with a plan with high data rates, you wouldn’t be paying more than about $0.10 a transaction.

Connection Costs

Connection costs on some satellite broadband terminals are significant. When you start up a BGAN unit, for example, you have a minimum 100 kb charge – just for connecting. With a prepaid BGAN card that’s about $0.60. But if you’re on a Fleetbroadband with high MB overage, that could be as much as $2.

To mitigate those costs, you will want to keep your unit on and not incur the high costs of turning it on and off throughout the day.


Get Your Custom Quote Today

Get a custom quote for your exact setup. We can help you determine what your hardware, airtime, and ongoing prices are going to be and how to maximize profits while keeping your costs as low as possible. Please contact us

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