Imagine, you're at a business conference, meeting people, shaking hands, collecting business cards. Next day, back in your office, you take the stack of cards out and spend three hours inputting all the information into your contacts list. Whether you're a sales professional, a consultant, or a freelancer, this can be a time-consuming and frustrating endeavor.
Not to mention the possibility of copying something incorrectly and losing a potential lead.
Enter business-card scanner apps on your mobile phone. These apps can easily digitize business cards and store them in a central directory, making it easier for you to find information when you need it and ensure no contacts are lost or misplaced.
Some business-card scanning apps integrate with sales automation, marketing automation, and customer relationship management software to make it easier to move contacts into your marketing and sales campaigns.
To help you find the right business-card scanner for your iPhone or iPad, we've prepared this guide to the five best business scanner applications (listed alphabetically):
Rating on App Store: 4.6/5
ABBYY Business Card Reader is a cloud-based business-card scanning app. Once you've created contacts using the scanner, you can access them from all connected iOS devices. You can exchange or forward contacts digitally (via email as a virtual card or image, or via SMS as plain text).
The app can scan business cards in 25 languages.
Spotlight search to quickly locate contacts in the directory.
Prompts that highlight unrecognizable or unclear characters in blue, prompting users for manual verification.
Auto-normalization of phone numbers so that country and/or area codes are automatically added when saving a contact.
Smart Facebook and LinkedIn search to link social media accounts with your business contacts.
Export contacts to Salesforce and as CSV files for use in marketing and sales campaigns.
The free version of this app functions like a free trial, and limits users to 10 scanned cards. From there, users must make in-app purchases to scan additional cards. Users must also pay for features such as auto-backup and Excel exporting
Rating on App Store: 4.7/5
It can be used to scan business cards in 17 languages.
Batch scanning of multiple cards.
Adding meeting notes (as text or images) and reminders to contacts.
Auto-notifications when a business contact changes their work profile, is promoted, or joins a new company.
Exchange digital cards when meeting new people via an invite code.
The free version of this app maxes out at 500 cards and includes essential features such as card scanning, contact search, and notes and reminders. The paid version lets users surpass 500 cards and use advanced features such as multi-device support and secretary scan mode (which allows assistants to scan cards on other users' behalf).
Rating on App Store: 4.6/5
Contacts+ is a cloud-based address book that offers business-card scanning as one of its key features. The app lets users sync contacts across multiple connected devices as well as multiple accounts (e.g., Gmail, Outlook).
This app was previously known as FullContact, and is available in over seven languages.
Contact deduplication, which consolidates all information about one contact into a single profile and ensures there aren't multiple copies of a single contact.
Contact tagging to create custom groupings and facilitate directory sorting.
Granular search function to narrow your search results.
Contact enrichment (automatically populates information such as social media profiles for each contact by scouring the internet).
Blocking unwanted contacts.
The free version maxes out at 10 cards, and does not provide access to premium features such as deduplication or third-party integration. The paid versions let users scan upto 1,000 cards every year (with additional card-scanning available for purchase). This application integrates with third-party applications such as Salesforce, HubSpot, and Mailchimp.
Rating on App Store: 4.5/5
Microsoft Office Lens is a digital scanner with a built-in business-card mode. The app can also be used to scan whiteboards, printed documents, and handwritten text.
It can scan business cards in four languages.
Ignore shadows and poor angles automatically when scanning, capturing only the relevant portion/information.
VoiceOver feature, which can help visually challenged users scan business cards and documents. This functionality audibly instructs users to adjust their device when scanning.
Immersive reader feature, which reads business cards aloud.
The app is free for all users, and offers fairly basic functionality (lacking advanced features such as deduplication and auto-enrichment). If all you need to do is digitize your contacts' business cards, this app fits the bill.
Rating on App Store: 4.6/5
ScanBizCards is a cloud-based business-card scanner that goes beyond adding contacts to your address book. It offers various premium features to make it easier for users to sort leads and channel them into their sales workflow.
This app can scan business cards in 21 languages.
Email signature capture, which automatically identifies contacts from the email signatures in a user's inbox and adds it to their contact list.
The ability to submit hard-to-read cards for human transcription.
Integration with third-party applications such as Salesforce and Evernote, along with the ability to assign lead owners and campaigns before exporting.
Ability to add notes to each contact and share contacts as text, image, or digital cards.
Even though ScanBizCards offers a lifetime free version, most of its key capabilities (such as scan-to-CRM, multi-user admin controls, and custom fields) are only available in the paid versions. The app also offers a customizable version for teams of more than 50 people.
The right business-card scanning app can save you a lot of time and effort. Before you select one, it's a good idea to weigh your options and compare products.
Here are a few things to keep in mind while comparing apps:
Understand your business-card flow: Determine how many business cards you typically receive every month, and choose a solution that can handle that amount.
Know what you want to do with your contacts: If you want to move your contacts to your CRM tool, choose an app that allows you to do that. If you want to add them to lead nurturing campaigns, choose an app that integrates with marketing or sales automation tools. Alternatively, if you only need to add contacts to your address book, a basic scanning app should suffice.
Explore products that meet your budget: Know how much
To learn more about how technology can help with your other sales and CRM needs, check out these additional resources:
The solutions highlighted in the article are business card scanning apps available on iOS App Store. To be considered for this article, the app had to have the following as core/key features:
Scanning cards in English
Auto-creating contacts from scanned cards
Advanced features such as deduplication, auto-enrichment, and integration were considered add-ons.
Here's an overview of our methodology for creating this list of apps:
We took nine different third-party listings for business card scanner apps and recorded the names of each product mentioned.
Then we checked for tools that were featured across multiple listings and selected nine products with the highest frequency.
We verified whether each of the selected products was available on iOS AppStore and evaluated them basis core business card software features mentioned above (scanning and auto-created contacts).
Ultimately, we selected the five products that fit our criteria (core features mentioned above) and had a 4+ rating on App Store.
Note: The applications selected in this article are examples to show a feature in context and are not intended as endorsements or recommendations. They have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable at the time of publication.