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Sistema 4B offers financial institutions a wide range of card products with which to meet a variety of different customer needs. In the majority of cases, these cards also bear the VISA or Mastercard brands, thus ensuring interoperability in any part of the world.

All Sistema 4B cards are backed by a centralised 24-hour customer care service where cardholders can inquire about card transactions or their status, report theft or loss of a card, as well as whatever assistance services are offered by the issuing bank.

How does a 4B card work?

When a customer makes a purchase or withdraws cash using a 4B card, the terminal, whether it is a point of sale terminal or cash dispenser, requests authorisation from the issuing bank through a complex series of communications. In order to respond to the request, depending on the type of card, the issuing bank checks if the customer's balance in the current account associated with the card, or the available credit limit, is sufficient.

If so, the issuing bank sends a positive authorisation, the transaction proceeds and the amount is discounted from the credit limit or the account balance.

If the transaction took place at a cash dispenser, the bank or other institution that owns it receives a fee from the issuing bank, agreed according to the corresponding payment schemes. The card issuing institution is entitled to pass this fee on to the cardholder, but must first inform the customer of the amount that will be charged and ask for his or her confirmation.

In Spain, this transaction flow takes place in real time. However, in other regions of the world and in low risk business sectors, the authorisation request may take place subsequent to the transaction.