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Payment Processing

Payment Solutions for Small Businesses: A Comprehensive Guide

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Payment Solution

In their simplest form, payment solutions are tools and technologies created to ease the process of making transactions between customers, businesses, and financial institutions. This category of solutions encompasses various ways of money transferring, from the traditional methods such as cash and checks to modern digital alternatives like credit cards, mobile payments, and online payment platforms . Undoubtedly, payment solutions are critical for the functioning of the global economy.

They are the lifeblood of the trade, as the solutions enable customers to buy goods and services from businesses, paying a monetary equivalent. A lack of effective and secure payment would result in a considerable slowdown of economic activity of small businesses and corporations alike. As with the latter type of businesses, payment solutions are particularly crucial for small businesses.

In reality, small enterprises may live or die on the choice of payment solutions. Small businesses invariably work with limited resources and operate in highly competitive markets where efficiency is make or break. The payment solutions drive the ability of small businesses to smoothly process payments, attract and retain customers, and secure cash flow. Furthermore, payment solutions should be able to adapt to the emergence of new customer preferences, new technology, and new regulation to support the growth of a business and not inhibit it.

What is a Payment Solution in Banking?

In the field of banking, payment solutions are tools and methods of financial institutions that help their clients complete transactions and organize their financial activities. These solutions are expressed through a range of services, such as checking and savings accounts, credit and debit cards online and mobile banking, wire transfers, and more. The main purpose of banking payment solutions is to make the financial aspect of their lives more convenient, secure, and accessible in the realities of a digitalized world.

How do payment solutions benefit financial institutions? They are not only profitable for clients using banking services, but also for financial service institutions in the following ways: . Revenue generation. Numerous payment services are associated with extra fees and charges, which generate revenue streams. This refers to card fees, wire transfers, and exchange rates.

Customer Customer retention. A variety of payment solutions helps retain clients by promoting the idea of convenient and overall comprehensive use of financial services. It leads to a long-term relationship and loyalty. .

Competitive advantage. Banks that provide up-to-date payment solutions are in a more advantageous position with regard to attracting and retaining clients. This point is especially relevant for the active financial industry. .

Risk mitigation. Payment solutions also help mitigate risks associated with fraud, identity theft, and hacking. They are implemented within security and fraud management frameworks.

What role do payment solutions play from a broader financial ecosystem perspective? . They connect all major financial ecosystem parties, such as consumers, businesses, financial institutions, and governments. . They help the flow of funds and promote economic activities. . They contribute to the proper functioning of the financial market and uphold its stability.

Moreover, they also act as a nexus between savers and borrowers, promoting proper functioning and capital flow in the economy. Furthermore, they also support authorities in implementing monetary and financial policies. As the technology surge continues, the role of payment solutions grows more crucial due to the development of digital-financial instruments, checking, and real-time payment systems.

Understanding Payment Solutions

Payment solutions, or payment processing solutions, or financial transaction solutions refer to the full array of tools, technologies, and services utilized to transfer and receive payments or funds from people or businesses or financial institutions. They form the foundation of all economic activities in the modern world by ensuring that value is transferred in various forms. There are multiple payment solutions that span the entire spectrum, from traditional to modern money transfer technologies .

In other words, they are what customers use to pay bills, purchase products and services, and engage in financial activities. In a nutshell, payment solutions, or the mechanisms of how payments and value transfers occur, are instrumental in ensuring commerce or trade operations. Thus, they are considered essential financial vessels facilitating businesses and economies that operate in a self-sustaining manner.

Types of Payment Solutions

Point-of-Sale Systems : POS systems are another essential solution for both the retail and hospitality sector. This is enabled by both software and hardware, which allows in-person transactions. A POS system comprises a cash register, barcode scanner, receipt printer, and software for enhanced tracking of sales and inventory .

Moreover, these systems have been integrated with other payment solutions like mobile payments and contactless cards.

Mobile Payment Solutions : Mobile payments have become common in recent years as most customers prefer using their smartphones and any other mobile device to make their transactions. These solutions are based on the use of NFC, QR codes, or mobile apps like Apple Pay and Google pay. These payment options have become popular due to their convenience, minimizing time wastage while enhancing the security of the users.

E-commerce Payment Gateways:

Payment gateways are very crucial for e-commerce businesses. Payment gateways are encryption and authorization services used in websites or mobile phone applications to encrypt and authorize the payments made over the internet. An e-commerce example is RapidCents, and they facilitate both digital and traditional types of payments.

They facilitate credit and debit card payment, digital wallets, and new types of money like the cryptocurrency form. For example, when a business employee installs a RapidCents app on their website or phone and launches it, the employee’s app and the financial institution are both the client. Thus the app is both a consumer and a creator or provider.

Why Small Businesses Need Tailored Payment Solutions

Small businesses are not a monolith, and they can have different needs and challenges. However, some general requirements may be identified which need to be met for the best-suited payment solutions for small businesses. Such requirements may include the following:

1) Cost-efficiency: Small businesses frequently operate on tight budgets, which mean they need ways to make processing fees and other costs related to payment options smallest and the profitability of the business – highest.

2) Flexibility: Small businesses require flexibility as their needs are constantly changing. Be it accepting various payment forms or integration with e-commerce platforms, flexibility is the key.

3) Customer experience: small businesses also need to provide customers with the best possible experience, meaning sleek user interfaces and support for mobile payments.

4) Security and compliance: Small businesses need to focus on secure payment options to preserve their assets and comply with the best standards.

5) Growth potential: Small businesses also need scaleable payment solutions, as otherwise, the volume of transactions may outgrow the available options.

Payment Solution

Benefits of Effective Payment Solutions

Streamlining business transactions with effective payment solutions is crucial for businesses of all sizes. It is how they enable it:

  • Faster processing: Payment solutions automate and expedite the processing of transactions. The process of completion of a sale can be done in much less time, enabling businesses to serve more customers.

  • Reduced errors: by automating the payment process, there is a lower chance of human error when inserting data. This means that there will be less need for reconciliation and correction, which consumes much time.

  • Tracking in real time; with today’s payment solutions, businesses can track transactions happening in real time. It allows for better management of inventory, accounting, and quicker decision-making based on the results.

Enhancing Customer Experience

Payment solutions form an essential part of the customer experience as the actual payment is the last stage of any purchase. However, a fast and easy payment process can create value on its own. Firstly, effective payment solutions are those that offer customers several ways to pay for the product.

It may include credit cards, mobile payments, digital wallets, and even cryptocurrency. In the context of e-commerce, the more variants there are, the more the customer feels appreciated. Secondly, such solutions should be user-friendly. Integration with the webpage will significantly increase the chances of purchased products; otherwise, high abandonment rates can be noticed . Lastly, the safety of data is paramount. When customers know that their login in the bank will not be suddenly hacked, they become much more loyal to businesses. It also leads to repeat purchases.

Improving Cash Flow

For businesses, cash flow management is a vital part of successful financial activity. Payment solutions help enhance cash flow in the following main ways:

1) through faster settlement . Payment solutions can help businesses receive their money more quickly, allowing companies to pay off current liabilities or invest in their expansion.

2) through enabling recurring payments . Subscription services offer payment solutions providing recurring billing. This ensures a constant money flow to support businesses.

3) through automatic invoicing . Payment solutions for service businesses send generated bills fast. automatic invoicing reduces the time gap between purchasing a service and paying for it.

Reducing Costs

Finally, cost reduction is another critical benefit of efficient payment solutions, especially for small businesses aiming to keep the budget under control. This may involve:

●Lower processing fees by providing competitive rates or different pricing models aimed at decreasing business fees per transaction;

●Reduced administrative overhead by automating payment processes and reducing the need for it for manual data entry or reconciliation. Fewer chargebacks and fraud costs can offer business efficient payment solutions that include reliable security features to help avoid the need for extra expenses on chargebacks, which is both financially draining and time-consuming for every business.

Ensuring Security and Compliance

Most importantly, payment security should always be a top priority. Considering the current digital age where cyber threats are ever-growing, payment solutions will greatly benefit from increased security and compliance levels. Some of the ways this may be achieved include:

1) data encryption, where payment solutions are likely to encrypt sensitive customer information during transmission,

2) chance to maintain compliance with Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard for businesses that process cardholder data, and finally,

3) various fraud prevention features, such as real-time transaction verification and monitoring to avoid fraudulent activities on the side of customers or a business. Lastly, payment solutions also typically maintain a record of transactions.

Choosing the Right Payment Solution

Choosing the best payment solution involves evaluating your business needs.

Below are the steps you should consider: Identify your target audience – knowing what your customers preferred payment methods are. In other words, more of your customers are using credit cards, mobile money or other platforms. This will enable you to offer payment solutions that correspond to your audience.

Single payment volume and frequency – depending on the number of transactions you receive and your business process frequency. Under the high transaction volume, one might end up with payment methods different from the person transacting the sales occasionally.

Sales channels – identifying where and how you transact your sales. Whether it is an e-commerce business, a physical retail store or a hybrid store. Whether you make online sales or use social media, all influence the type of payment solutions you should choose.

International vs local – if you transact internationally, it means you need payment solutions that can work with multiple currencies, with less cross-country charges.

Integration needs – you need to consider your integration needs, do you need to integrate with your accounting software, your CRM, or even your inventory?

Scalability – ensure the payment solution can grow with your business.

Small businesses have its nuances to consider: Cost – cost is always a big concern for small companies. Pricing solutions include setup costs, transaction costs, and monthly costs. Always go for the most relevant pricing to ensure you are not surprised by unnecessary fees.

User-friendliness – it is easy for staff to adopt it and send it to new customers.

Security – small companies are not immune from cyber threats. Therefore, always put in p[lace massive security measures.

Online and mobile payments – given the current trend on online and mobile shopping, it is important to pay specific attention to these payment solutions.

Customer support – vendor customer support is critical to a payment solution in case of challenges.

Adaptability – you should always ensure your solution can adjust with changing trends.

Local regulations – you should also keep local compliance in mind.

Payment processing time – you should measure how quickly your payment solutions can transact and send the money. In conclusion, the right payment decision is critical to your company. It can affect your revenue, customer satisfaction, and equipment efficiency.

By examining your specific business goals and realizing the unique obstacles and chances small businesses have can help you make the correct decision.

Implementing Payment Solutions

No matter if your business is located online or in a physical location, setting up a payment gateway is critical. The steps to do it properly are the following: First, you need to select a payment gateway provider that suits your business’s needs and provides the payment methods your clients use. At this stage, you should choose the provider with a good reputation, multiple integrations, and less processing fees.

Secondly, complete an application for the payment gateway. You will have to disclose some business and financial information to the provider. The approval can take several days.

Once you are approved, you need to integrate the payment gateway with your platform or website. Your provider will assist you by providing you with guidance on how to embed it into your website or POS. After that, you should thoroughly test the integration with real and simulated payments to ensure it works correctly. Lastly, you must incorporate the security measure to protect your clients’ confidential information during the payment process. To do this, follow the PCD DSS policy.

Integrating POS Systems

For your physical store, you must integrate payment solutions alongside point-of-sale systems for a pleasant customer experience. Some of the measures you need to take include: use of POS hardware investment in the right POS hardware which covers cash registers, card readers, and receipt printers. Confirm that this hardware is functioning correctly and adequately configured.

Use POS software solution that has high integration with payment processor and accounting system to ensure that all sale transactions are recorded and processed efficiently. Induction and staff training to enlighten your employees on the use of integrated POS system. They should be able to navigate a sale processing and handle a return as well as a wide range of payment, including cash, card, and mobile payments. Allow a wide range of integrated payment option as well including card, and mobile wallets alongside cash.

Mobile Payment App Installation

You can easily provide this Payment option by using Mobile payment apps.

To use these apps, you have to: Choose Mobile payment Apps: Most popular mobile payment apps include Apple Pay, Google lend, and banking apps.

Install and configure: install these apps on the device in which you will take payments, such as a point-of-sale device and on devices used by employees.

Promotion and Education: Make sure customers know that they can easily make a transaction from their mobiles. And get their team ready to help customers use these apps.

Security measures: The use of mobile apps must be included in a robust security environment. Put passwords or biometric security on the devices. Ensure devices running the apps are updated regularly to protect against security gaps.

Training Your Team

The most important aspect for successful implementation of the above payment solutions is having a well-trained team. The following are tips on how to make your team ready to operate these systems:

1) United training sessions: train your staff on everything they need to know when operating the payment gateway, POS system, and payment processing. This includes training on credit card processing, check handling, and mobile payment processing.

2) Regular updates: make your team understand all software updates and any changes in the payment solutions. This includes security updates and new software features.

3) Customer-relations training: make your team ready to help customers handle most of their problems, inquiries, and any questions that relate to payment processing.

4) Security training: make the team understand how to detect and respond to security breaches and fraud.

5) Customer service skills: ensure that your staff has excellent customer relations whenever any payment issues seem to bore the customerized and professionalized. Successful integration of payments through the payment gateways, POS systems, or mobile apps may help improve a positive image and increase customer happiness and loyalty.

Payment Solution

Accepting Payments Online

The following steps are usually involved in accepting payments online: selecting an e-commerce platform, integrating payment gateways, setting up merchant accounts, customization. The development of E-commerce often occurs through ready-made platforms, and sites are already ready. As a rule, the choice of an online platform is mostly limited and revolves around four products:

1) one of the most popular ones – BigCommerce;

2) second, in popularity- WooCommerce;

3) Shopify comes third; and

4) on the fourth- Magento . When you have your chosen platform and payment gateway, you can receive payments on your hands and connect them to the e-commerce site. Therefore, setting up an account is necessary. Sites are usually already configured, with product listings, selling price.

Secure Online Payment Processing

Processing online payment is a sensitive aspect.

Protecting the security of online transactions should involve the following steps: Your website must have SSL encryption which is a protocol for security enhancement by encryption of the data between your customers’ browsers and your server. This allows secure transmission of sensitive information such as credit card . All online transactions should be PCI DSS compliant .

This is a set of security standards by the Payment Card Industry to protect cardholder data . Consequentially, you must work with a payment gateway that is PCI DSS compliant. Tokenization which replaces the cardholder’s data with a token should be considered for security enhancement . Additionally, regular security audits and vulnerability assessments should be conducted . Address all vulnerabilities in case of discovery. Strong authentication must be in place . Two-factor authentication is an essential aspect.

Tips for E-commerce Success

Online payments are just one part of running a successful e-commerce business.

The following are some tips to help improve your online retail business: design your website to be user-friendly in terms of ease of use, easy to navigate, and responsive when viewed on various devices which makes it easier for people to find products they want to buy; make the checkout process as fast and straightforward as possible to prevent cart abandonment – use a guest checkout option, show costs clearly, and offer multiple payment methods; communicate pricing, shipping costs, and return policies openly as an online retailer; consistently communicating honestly and transparently builds confidence.

Customer support should be readily available – promptly answer customer questions and emails.

Use digital marketing to promote your products – strategies include search engine optimization , social media advertising, email marketing, and others. Track , Analyze data, or discover meaningful trends track sales and behavior because customer reviews – encourage consumers to leave feedback; positive reviews can build trust, while negative reviews or constructive feedback can help you improve your “business” offerings.

Payment Security for Small Businesses

Ensuring secure payments is critical for small businesses. Secure payments protect sensitive financial data, customers, and the reputation of your business.

Here’s why it’s important: . Firstly, secure payments are necessary for your customers. Having secure payments helps create trust.

Customers will be more likely to work with you if they know that their data is protected: an empire that continually tries to protect and care for the customer . Secondly, secure payments are also required by law. Many countries and regions have data protection regulations that require secure customer information storage or processing.

Violating these laws can lead you to penalties, fines, and legal problems. . The third reason is because secure payments protect your business. . Nothing can ruin the company’s day faster than fraudulent transactions that cause financial losses./Runtime type check. . Secondly, a data breach seriously harms your company’s reputation.

PCI DSS Compliance

PCI DSS compliance requirements is a collection of security standards that must be maintained by any company accepting, processing, or transmitting credit card information to operate in a secure environment:

  1. Assessment: Before doing anything, small companies should categorize their level of compliance based on the number of transactions and the specific card brands they are administering.

  2. Data Encryption: Encrypt data transmission, and store sensitive data in encryption platforms at all times . Even in case of interception, the stolen data will remain unreadable to the attacker.

  3. Firewalls and Access Control: Employ substantial firewalls and other safety policing systems on servers and enforce justifiable admission control . Only identified personalities are acquiring and processing the database.

  4. Regular test: It is necessary to undertake regular vulnerability assessments and penetration tests to promptly analyze and correct security weaknesses.

  5. Employee education: Train employees about the best security practices and their roles in compliance.

  6. Third-party compliance: Ensure that the third-party service providers examining cardholder data on your behalf are PCI DSS agents.

Fraud Prevention Measures

However, small firms also need to proactively protect themselves against payment fraud and secure their financial well-being. Consequently, the following options can be listed: firstly, use fraud detection tools. Small firms may benefit from anti-fraud tools warning about anomalous or suspicious transactions .

Secondly, transaction monitoring is yet another benefit for small firms. They can monitor transactions, conducting large data analysis in real time to address any fraudulent products timely . Thirdly, small firms may also choose customer verification mechanisms. Despite being costly, two-factor authentication would make sure that the individual conducting a transaction is actually the cardholder . Lastly, set purchase limits. Small firms may also choose purchase limits for every transaction and daily spending, to limit their losses in the case of potential fraudulent episodes.

Data Encryption and Protection

Protecting sensitive payment data is paramount.

To accomplish this, small businesses will have to encrypt their data in the following ways: SSL — data transmission between the website and customers’ browsers should be encrypted; tokenization — sensitive payment data should be replaced by tokens, ensuring that no organization retains it. Data should include information considered critical in processing any payment.

The company should adopt the following strategies to secure their data and those of customers: they should regularly update their payment systems with security updates in case of emerging vulnerabilities; the workers must be trained to know the significance of data protection and their part in the process; the business operators should backup their data at regular intervals and have a disaster recovery plan ready just in case they lose their data.

They should also limit the number of staff members who should have access to any sensitive information, also known as data access control. Payment security is a business necessity since it does not only involve the protection of customer data and funds seizure but also the protection of the client’s business reputation and legal status. A small business firm can establish a secure payment framework for its customers. It can do it by attaining PCI-DSS coverage, including anti-fraud procedures and encrypting data and protecting any encryption.

Cost and Pricing Models

Every business must consider payment processing fees, regardless of size. The following fees, all of which should be understood to manage a cost, may be assessed by:

1) the card network ;

2) card-issuing bank;

3) a payment processor; or

4) a combination of the three:

1) interchange fees Interchange fees are set by card networks and are paid to card-issuing banks. Interchange fees are the most significant portion of payment processing costs. Fees vary based on the type of card used , the method by which the card is processed , and the industry the business operates in .

2) assessment fees; paid to card networks, represents fixed costs not tied to processing volume or transaction value;

3) payment processor fees; may be charged on a per-transaction or transaction percentage basis;

4) monthly fees; charged, some payment processors assess a monthly fee for accessing their services, which can cover a wide range of things from customer service to advanced reporting ;

5) chargeback fees, which are associated with disputes by customers, charged a fee to process the dispute; and

6) foreign transaction fees.

How to Minimize Costs

Improving your business’s bottom line by reducing the cost of processing payments should be one of your top priorities.

Below are some tips to minimize the cost of payments: Do not hesitate to negotiate, particularly if you are dealing with large volumes of transactions; high-volume payment processors will go to great lengths to retain your business. Encourage any method that is less expensive to use than debit cards, which typically bear lower fees than those with credit cards . Shine should review all payment processing statements on a regular basis to verify that they contain no discrepancies and adhere to all contractual conditions .

Investing in a system with a fraud-reducing address verification system can lower the cost of processing. Hardware and software point-of-sale systems that enable the usage of newer and cheaper forms of payment . Minimize the number of chargebacks They are all costly . To avoid losing more money, provide excellent customer service and make billing descriptors simple and understandable.

Pricing Models: Flat-Rate vs. Interchange-Plus

Payment processors use different pricing models, each best suited for certain transaction volumes and patterns. In general, three main types of payment processing are used to charge for the given services: flat-rate, interchange-plus, and tiered pricing. Flat-rate pricing charges the same percentage and fixed fee for any transaction, no matter the card or price of the transaction.

It is easy to use and predict but can lead to increased costs for high-volume processing. Interchange-plus pricing breaks down costs and includes a charge set by the card networks alongside a markup fee by the processing company. This model is beneficial for businesses with a large number of transactions and varying transaction types.

Tiered pricing is when a processor sorts the kinds of transactions into tiers and applies a fee to each. It is the easiest to understand but often the most expensive overall due to the lack of transparency . The choice of pricing model depends on several factors, including company size and most common transaction types. Smaller companies may find flat-rate pricing easier to manage, and larger ones will benefit from interchange-plus pricing’s transparency. Understanding the number of transactions and costs is crucial to choosing the best option. Payment processing costs are a vital concern for a business. Knowing the specific fees and implementing the best strategies and pricing models is necessary for efficient payment-processing costs and overall profitability.

Emerging Trends in Payment Solutions for Small Businesses

Contactless and Mobile Payments: The next forces are contactless and mobile payments.

The ease and security with which they are made have fostered the growth and use of: Contactless Cards: The kind of card allows for quick, tap-and-go transactions through the use of near-field communication technology. It may reduce transaction time and improve the customer experience when used by a small firm.

Mobile Wallets: Mobile phones have given rise to payment apps such as Apple and Google Pay. Small firms may offer this type of payment to customers who favor it and need technology.

QR Code Payments: QR code payment services are available in areas with widespread smartphone usage. To provide a smooth and contactless payment channel, a small business may utilize their service.

Cryptocurrency Acceptance

Moreover, it is a growing trend that enables small businesses to reach a new customer category while offering the possibility to reduce transaction costs: Bitcoin and Others : accepting such online “coins” as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin is another reasonable choice for those customers who are used to paying with these assets.

Small businesses may integrate dependence on cryptocurrency in their payment service providers or arrange a wallet payment gateway; Lowered Costs : little to none processing fees significantly affects the overall costs of payments.

This is one of the best features for small business owners who plan to save on the transaction and processing fees; International : it helps small businesses enter foreign markets without the need to pay for currency conversion or cross-border transaction fees. Even though these assets have plenty of advantages for small businesses, they also have additional risks. Traders need to be aware of the potential risks because of price volatility or regulation.

Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) Services

There are the following advantages for a small business: BNPL. Allows customers to offset the service in parts. This reduces the burden on the balance of the user and helps him to better plan his financial capabilities.

Small businesses that cooperate with BNPL can make such conditions .

Increased Average Bill Promotions increase the average bill: BNPL services encourage users to buy more, and the amount that the average check becomes higher. This can benefit sales and revenue for small businesses. Marketing advanced small businesses with BNPL can use BNPL promotion opportunities. Thus, the user receives a message about the existence of the service, and its interest in making a purchase increases. This is also material, but extremely relevant. Risk. Nonetheless, the client must be carefully examined.

Sustainable Payment Options

Sustainability has become one of the most critical aspects of operating businesses.

To align with the shifting trend, small businesses can offer the following eco-friendly payment solutions: eco-friendly cards . Small businesses are partnering with payment service providers that offer debit and credit cards made from recycled material or those that have an environmentally minimal impact. This type of card can appeal to environmentally conscious consumers.

Donations and charitable initiatives. Many small businesses are collaborating with payment processing firms that enable consumers to support a social cause or environmental initiative through their debit and credit transactions. Carbon offsetting .

Numerous payment providers now enable companies to channel a fraction of their transaction fees towards offsetting carbon and supporting environmental programs. Furthermore, small businesses can leverage digital invoices to reduce paper usage and the environmental impact of traditional invoicing methods. Small businesses have realized various emerging trends in the payment solution that can help them improve customer experience, cut costs of operations, and demonstrate corporate social responsibility through sustainability. The small business can only tap into the payment solution trend that best suits its nature and the inherently linked customer base.

Conclusion

Ensuring success for small businesses revolves around their capacity to master the diverse payment solutions landscape. A comprehensive understanding of available solutions, a commitment to innovative solutions, and a focus on customer needs are key. The result will be small business owners that not only survive but continue to have a significant impact on local and global economies.

Would you like to secure your small business with a reliable, fast, and flexible payment solution? The answer is RapidCents – your preferred online payment gateway service provider. Don’t be left out of the revolutionized payment world; engage RapidCents as your payment solutions partner for your small business. Contact us to start your journey today!

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