Business cards are one of the few holdovers from the business world of Mad Men. Gone from the modern desk are most paper documents—but business cards feel here to stay. And for good reason: They’re still the quickest way to hand someone your contact info and keep a connection going after any meeting.
But they still require some work. Stick a business card in your wallet and odds are you’ll forget it until you finally clear all the junk out at once. You’ll never get around to typing in everyone’s contact info individually.
You need an app to help, a business card scanner that can digitize your paper contacts and help you reach back out in seconds. Here are the best apps to do that.
The 6 Best Business Card Scanner Apps
Just taking a photo of business cards isn’t enough. Scanning them at your computer isn’t much better—it’ll take away precious time you could spend doing other things, and you’ll often still have to type in text yourself or copy and paste it from OCR (optical character recognition) software.
The best business card scanner apps cut that workflow down to just a few quick steps. Open the app on your phone, snap a quick picture of the business card (often without even tapping the camera shutter button), and the app will automatically recognize the text and add the contact to your address book.
That’s what we looked for in business card scanner apps. We tested over 14 popular apps, trying each with simple, complicated, and blurry business cards to see how they worked in real-life use. Here are the 6 best tools to quickly scan business cards:
|Icon:||App||Best to:||Free for:||Plans from:||Supports:|
|ABBYY Business Card Reader||scan cards and stay in touch with new contacts||First 15 cards||$7.99/mo.||Android, iOS, Windows|
|Wantedly People||bulk scan business cards||Unlimited cards||Android, iOS|
|CamCard||replace business cards—and scan old cards—in one app||Core scanner features||$7.99/mo.||Android, iOS|
|FullContact||sync business cards with the rest of your contacts||First 10 cards||$9.99/mo.||Android, iOS, Web|
|Evernote||scan business cards, documents, and more in your notes app||First 5 cards||$7.99/mo.||Android, iOS for scanning|
|Sansan||scan all your company’s business cards||First 100 cards||$600/mo.||Android, iOS, Web|
ABBYY Business Card Reader (Android, iOS, Windows)
to scan cards and stay in touch with new contacts
For a fast, reliable way to scan and save business cards, ABBYY Business Card Reader is the app to pick. It was the fastest and most accurate at recognizing text in our testing—and it helps you reach out to new connections and save your new contacts to your address book.
To scan a business card, open the app, tap the camera icon, and if ABBYY recognizes a card it’ll auto-snap a picture and recognize the text—no need to tap the shutter button. You’ll see the scanned contact info in seconds. It splits out first and last names, tags the location of where you scanned the card, and includes fields for every bit of text the app recognizes, including non-standard fields for social media profiles, quotes, or slogans. And if it’s unsure about a character, it’ll highlight it in blue—you can then tap the i icon to edit the text or see a zoomed in view of the scanned card to confirm the text is correct.
When everything looks perfect, tap Save to add the contact to ABBYY’s own contacts list, your phone’s address book, and/or Salesforce. Or, you can get in touch with your new contact directly from the app. Tap the blue Send your business card button to send a template email to your new contact, complete with your contact info and anything else you’d like to share. It’s everything you need to do with business cards in one place—and there’s even an ABBYY Business Card Reader for Windows to import photos of business cards or scan new ones on your PC nearly as easily as you can on mobile.
- ABBYY Business Card Reader Price: Free for first 15 card scans; $7.99/month or $29.99/year Premium account for unlimited business card scans, Salesforce integration, and web app to view cards.
- ABBYY Business Card Reader Supported Languages: 25, including English, Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, German, Greek, Portuguese, Indonesian, Russian, and more
Wantedly People (Android, iOS)
to bulk scan business cards
Wantedly People feels like the future, like it’s too good to be true. Open the app and it’s in the camera mode by default, ready to scan your business cards. Yes, cards—it can capture up to 10 cards at once. Lay out your cards where they’re not overlapping, and after a few seconds you’ll see a circle appear over each of card. Tap the camera shutter button, and Wantedly People will incredibly, magically, import all of those cards at once.
It’s the fastest way to scan multiple business cards in one shot. Of all the apps we tested, Wantedly People (written W People on your phone’s home screen) took the fewest taps to scan business cards. While its accuracy isn’t quite as good as ABBYY’s, it did quite well and even picked out text from our blurriest, Xeroxed business card when few other apps recognized anything.
There are only two downsides. First, Wantedly People only recognizes the default contact fields including name, email, address, and phone number. If your cards include extra items like social media profiles, it’s less likely to save them. Also, Wantedly People doesn’t save your business cards to your address book or other apps. Instead, you have to open Wantedly People (or its companion web app, if you sign up for the optional Wantedly account) to look through your scanned contacts, and can tap to call or email them—or to copy the info and add to your address book manually.
- Wantedly People Price: Free
- Wantedly People Supported Languages: 3: English, Japanese, Chinese
CamCard (Android, iOS)
to replace business cards—and scan old cards—in one app
Why not embrace the old while building the new? That’s what CamCard is trying with its business card scanner app. When you first open it, you’ll be asked to add your own contact details to make an “e-card” which you can then share with others nearby or with a QR code if they also use CamCard. Update the “e-card” and your new contact info will be shared with everyone you’ve shared your card within the past.
With that out of the way, tap the camera icon to scan the traditional business cards you’re still more likely to get. CamCard recognizes business cards and scans them automatically—and can even batch scan multiple business cards, though not quite as well as Wantedly. Each contact will then include all the data CamCard can find on the card, with new fields automatically added for unusual items like Facebook pages.
New scanned cards—and shared “e-cards”—are saved to your CamCard address book by default, where you can group contacts, add notes, and set reminders to get back in touch. You can also manually add contact to your address book or have them automatically synced to Salesforce with its business plans.
- CamCard Price: Free; $7.99/month per user CamCard for Salesforce to add unlimited cards to Salesforce
- CamCard Supported Languages: 16: Chinese, English, Japanese, French, Spanish, Korean, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Norwegian, German, Portuguese, Hungarian, Italian, Swedish, and Russian
FullContact (Android, iOS, Web)
to sync business cards with the rest of your contacts
Your business cards aren’t your only contacts—they’re just the newest people in your address book. Or maybe not. It’s always possible the person who handed you their card at a conference is someone you’d emailed years back and lost touch with. FullContact will help you tie the loose ends together with its contact tools.
It takes a bit longer to start scanning cards as you’ll first need to make an account and then connect it to your default contacts service such as G Suite. Then, take a photo of your business card—and optionally add both the front and back, along with notes, tags, and any Zapier automated workflows you want to send your card to (perhaps to send an automated email to the new contact). Don’t use a smartphone? You can upload scans of your business cards to FullContact’s web app, too.
Instead of using OCR to recognize text, FullContact sends the card to its team where two people will read your card and type in the info within 30 minutes. Its results are quite good—though not perfect, and with similar issues to those we came across with OCR-powered apps (such as the slightly incorrect company name above). FullContact’s app will then automatically merge that new contact with your existing address book and those shared by your team, to give you more info about who else at your company knows that person and to keep you from having duplicate contacts in your address book.
- FullContact Price: Scan 10 cards for free; from $9.99/month Premium plan to scan 50 business cards per month
- FullContact Supported Languages: English
- Connect FullContact with 750+ apps and build a business card workflow with Zapier’s FullContact integrations
- For a deeper look at FullContact’s features and pricing, check out our full contact review.
Evernote (Android, iOS for scanning; Windows, Mac, Web for viewing)
to scan business cards, documents, and more in your notes app
The ubiquitous notebook app Evernote happens to also be one of the best ways to scan business cards. Once you’re signed in on its mobile apps, press-and-hold on the
+ icon, then select the camera to add a new photo as a note. Evernote will usually automatically recognize documents and business cards, and will snap them with its document scanner mode. Want to scan more cards? Just keep pointing your camera at new cards, and each new scan will show up on the bottom of the camera interface.
Then, tap a card to see how Evernote recognized it. It may notice it’s a business card automatically; if not, tap the Saving as button, select Business Card, and Evernote will pull the data out of the card and can even try to match it to that person’s LinkedIn profile for the most accurate data.
Save that card, and it’ll be stored as a Business Card note in Evernote, with fields for the contact info along with a picture of the card and any notes you want. You can then save the contact to your address book or have Evernote remind you to stay in touch.
- Evernote Price: Scan 5 cards for free; from $7.99/month or $69.99/year Premium plan to scan unlimited cards with 10GB uploads per month
- Evernote Supported Languages: 28, including English, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Vietnamese, Thai, Turkish, Russian, German, Spanish, and more.
- Connect Evernote with 750+ apps and build a business card workflow with Zapier’s Evernote integrations
- For a deeper look at Evernote’s features and pricing, check out our Evernote review.
Sansan (Android, iOS, Web)
to scan all your company’s business cards
Sansan aims to manage your whole company’s business cards—on its pricing page, it even says it’s aimed at companies, not individuals. That’s reflected in its pricing and its dedicated scanner devices.
It combines the features of many of the other business card scanner apps. You can scan cards individually or in a batch and save both the front and back of the cards. Or, you can use Sansan’s desktop scanner device to quickly scan cards in your office without using your phone. Sansan will then quickly use OCR to recognize text—as accurately as the other apps we tested—and then also their human team will double-check the OCR to make sure it covered everything and is accurate.
Sansan will then share the contact information with everyone else in your company, combine contact profiles to have the most up-to-date info on everyone your team works with. From its web app, you can search through and filter your cards or send bulk emails to contacts using info from their cards to personalize the messages. It’s a full-featured contact service built around the best possible business card scanning with both automation and a human touch.
- Sansan Price: Free for first 100 business card scans; from $600/month 100ID plan to scan up to 500 business cards, including dedicated Sansan scanner computer (additional cards 50¢ each)
- Sansan Supported Languages: 6: English, Chinese, Japanese, German, French, Korean
- Connect Sansan with 750+ apps and build a business card workflow with Zapier’s Sansan integrations
Other Ways to Scan Business Cards
Only occasionally need to scan business cards? You actually might not need a dedicated app just for cards. Instead, you could use the scanner tools built into an app you already use to capture cards and copy text—and then manually save contacts to your address book.
One of the best options there is OneNote, Microsoft’s alternative to Evernote. Using its companion Microsoft Office Lens app, you can scan business cards and other documents and save them to your OneNote notebook for free. On your Mac or Windows desktop, you can then right-click on the business card scans in OneNote and copy the text, then add it to your address book. It’s not as automatic as dedicated business card scanner tools, but it’s free and quick for one-off scans.
You could also use a dedicated scanner app like Prizmo, Scanbot, or the OCR tool built into Google Drive. Those apps can work well at recognizing text—though again, you’ll need to do the hard work of copying the recognized text and putting it to work.
Or, if your team uses a CRM app to manage your contacts and customers, its mobile app may have business card scanning built-in. HubSpot CRM, Zoho CRM, Insightly, Nutshell, and NoCRM among others include business card scanning in their mobile apps. Those might be more trouble than the dedicated business card scanner apps if you only need to scan cards, but if you need to manage details about your customers, a scanner built into your CRM might be the most convenient.
Scanning used to be a complicated ordeal with noisy scanners that took minutes to slowly capture every inch of your document—far too much trouble to save a copy of your business cards. But thanks to the computer and camera in your pocket, turning business cards into digital contacts is easier than ever.
Next time someone hands you a business card, give these apps a try. Your wallet will thank you—and you’ll never have to search for a misplaced card again.