Alberta Indian Tax Exemption (AITE)
- Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) for Retailers

The Government of Alberta recognizes that many First Nations people and communities in the province prefer not to describe themselves as Indians/Indian bands. These terms have been used where necessary to reflect their legal meaning in the federal Indian Act.

What is SFTP?

SFTP stands for Secure File Transfer Protocol. Retailers transmit sales data and receive cardholder updates via high-speed internet.

A summary of the benefits of SFTP

  • SFTP retailers have fewer AITE polling issues than BLAST retailers.
  • An internet connection can be shared with multiple devices at the same time.
  • SFTP retailers spend less time addressing system issues. Point of Sale (POS) vendors are typically contacted first by the E-Commerce Help Desk when issues arise with SFTP services.
  • High-speed internet allows daily polling for cardholder and sales updates to be completed in only a few minutes.

How does SFTP differ from BLAST?

SFTP retailers do not need a phone line to send and receive cardholder and sales updates. Retailers using BLAST may have limited phone lines available and often share one or more lines with other devices like a fax or debit machine. When a retailer is in BLAST mode, that phone line is typically unavailable until the process is finished. SFTP uses the internet which does not require a separate phone line. Other devices such as laptops, tablets, and smartphones can share the internet connection at the same time.

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How does SFTP benefit a retailer?

Typically, a retailer in BLAST mode must ensure the line is uninterrupted during the polling process. Any interruption to the process results in a failure and the entire process must be restarted. Depending on the speed of a BLAST modem, this can take a couple of minutes to hours depending on how many updates are required. SFTP download and upload speeds are much faster, so processing card holder sales and downloading updates take much less time.

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Connection to the Internet

Retailers with an internet connection already have one of the required components necessary to switch to SFTP. If you do not currently have an internet connection, check with your local Internet Service Providers (ISP) for available internet options. Retailers in remote locations may be able to explore satellite internet as an option. Information on internet service coverage in Alberta is also available on the Service Alberta website.

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Switching to SFTP

Vendors offering SFTP ServiceTo switch to SFTP, contact your current Point of Sale (POS) vendor:


Contact E-Commerce Help Desk - click here to email or call 780-427-9424 You may also contact the E-Commerce Help Desk for more information:


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Page last updated:  October 4, 2017