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Don’t Lose Business Cards, Scan Them With Your iPhone

When you own an iPhone, there’s no reason to misplace paper business cards or keep them piled up in your desk drawer. Use one of these apps provide a better, paperless solution.

Business card apps use your device’s camera to capture cards before scanning and parsing the contact data, saving you the trouble of manually typing names, email addresses or phone numbers. There are several strong solutions to choose from, with each providing a free trial to test the quality and features on offer before you buy.

Evernote & Evernote Hello (free)

If you’re an Evernote Premium user, a business card scanner is built into the iPhone and iPad versions of the app. If Evernote is already your digital file drawer for all sorts of documents, it makes perfect sense to throw scanned business cards into the mix. The video below provides is an overview of how to use the feature.

In my tests I found that the Evernote app performs best scanning business cards with a white background, and that it has problems scanning cards that use a colorful image as the background. If the app doesn’t the scan and capture the data, you can still manually type it in.

Business cards

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Evernote has partnered with the business social networking site LinkedIn so that if information detected by Evernote matches a LinkedIn member, Evernote will pull relevant information from the contact’s LinkedIn profile page, including the profile photo.

Evernote business card

Before you save a card as an Evernote note, you are given the option of emailing your personal stored contact information to the new contact. Current non-premium Evernote users can connect their accounts to LinkedIn to receive a complimentary year of business card scanning.

Two drawbacks to the Evernote business card feature is that it doesn’t include the option to save contact information to your address book on your iPhone, and there’s no option for automatically saving scanned cards to a pre-specified notebook.

Business cards can also be saved using the latest version of the free Evernote Hello contacts app, which allows for saving contacts to a pre-selected notebook but does not allow for taking photos of the backside of a card. Hello also has less data fields than the business card scanner feature and doesn’t require a premium account.

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CamCard ($2.99, free version)

CamCard is a popular option for scanning business cards. Like the Evernote feature, CamCard automatically recognizes, scans, and pulls information from business cards. Card information can be shared via email, SMS, QR Code and shared directly to your address book.

CamCard scan

CamCard can also capture the backside of a card, and it can even scan cards imported from your photos library or shared by other CamCard users.

In addition, CamCard enables users to create a personal business card inside the app that can be shared with others. It’s not a fancy card, but it does enable users to share their personal information so that recipients can easily store the data in their address book.

CamCard profile

Similar to Evernote’s Hello app, CamCard includes an “exchange cards” feature that allows users to wirelessly exchange cards with other nearby users. The free ad-supported version of CamCard allows for 1000 card scans, and an extra 100 scans per week for registered CamCard users.

Non-registrants are restricted to 50 free card scans and 2 extra per week after the first time the app is launched. You can remove all restrictions by purchasing the unlimited version for $2.99. All scanned cards are synced to your registered online CamCard account.

SamCard ($3.99, free version)

SamCard does a good job of scanning, but it does not automatically capture a card. You will need to manually tap the shutter button to make the capture, which can be done in both vertical or horizontal positions. Scanned cards are limited to an entry in your address book and (optionally) your Camera Roll.

SamCard

SamCard recognizes seven languages, and the scanned photo can be used as the image in your address book. Users can also access their address book from within SamCard. The free ad-support trial version of SamCard allows for a limited evaluation but is limited to three new scans per week. You can remove all restrictions by purchasing the pro version for $3.99.

ScanBizCards ($4.99, free version)

ScanBizCards also doesn’t automatically capture cards, but it scans information well and allows users to export or forward contact data to other sources like Evernote, Constant Contact, LinkedIn, Salesforce, and Daylite. You can even set up a calendar reminder from within the app to follow up with a contact.

ScanBiz

ScanBizCards scans over dozen languages, and all scans can be backed up to a ScanBizCards web account, which requires a monthly or yearly subscription. Scanned cards are also saved within the app, and can be managed in groups.

The free ScanBiz Lite only lets you save five business cards per week to the address book, has limited export options (including no LinkedIn connect) and doesn’t let you assign contacts to groups. The full premium version of ScanBizCards is $4.99.

Your Choice

Each of the above apps worked well in my tests, and fortunately each includes a free version so you can test them out for your own particular needs. For those of us who are dedicated paperless users, a business card scanner is something you need on your iPhone.

Which business card scanner do you use, or do you still prefer cluttering up pinboards and desk drawers with other people’s contact information?

Image credit: Letterpress Business Cards (artnoose)


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