I’m just going to say it straight out: I don’t like business card scanners in the slightest. To me they’re much more work than they’re worth. I get piles of cards at the same time after a presentation, and it’s a waste of my time to scan each one and check the transcription and then put my cursor in those tiny little fields and retyping and just all of it.
So I don’t do them. When I get the cards, I snap pictures of them and send them off to Fancy Hands. These virtual assistants access the online photo album I’ve created with all the pics. Then they retype them into a spreadsheet.
But that’s just me. Other professionals love the tools below, and you’re welcome to give them a try. I’m gonna pass.
Card Scanner from a Company that Scans Well
Audience Favorite: CamCard
Me at my sessions: “What’s your favorite business card scanner?”
I’m exaggerating here, but CamCard is definitely a universal favorite. You just snap a picture of the card, verify the info, then add to your contacts. Batch scanning helps speed up the process. You can also exchange electronic cards with people and export/integrate with other systems. The free version is robust but does limit the number of scans. The paid versions start at about $50 a year. If you use Salesforce, CamCard also has a separate app for seamless integration.
Close Runner-Up: ScanBizCards
ScanBizCards runs a very close second in the number of mentions by audience members, but it’s the one I’m most drawn to because of the human transcription options. The pricing is a little confusing to me. There’s a really good free app, and a premium app for about $3. And then there’s a free ongoing subscription and a paid level starting at $100 a year. Plus you can buy human transcription credits starting at about a quarter a piece. But I can’t figure out if you can buy transcription credits when you use the free version or if the premium app includes some extra subscription features or….
At any rate, ScanBizCards offers many of the same features as CamCard: card scanning, batch scanning, contacts export and integration with other apps. A bonus feature: you can use ScanBizCards to capture leads at events with name badge scanning.
Expensive But Good: ABBYY Business Card Reader
Even though the pricing of this app seems hefty, I have to say good things about ABBYY. For years they’ve been at the top of the scanning heap. Each of their scanning apps is incredibly accurate, and they standout in many top scanner lists.
Their scanning is all digital with no human help, and I had a tough time figuring out their pricing. The app itself is $60, and then you’ll have to pay nickels and dimes here and there to increase the functionality. But it really is one of the best scanners out there.
Multipurpose Free Scanners: Adobe Scan and Office Lens (in the app stores)
Two more versatile document scanners that have business card features are from name-brand favorites. Adobe Scan is free and will recognize business cards, and it’ll even autocapture when it finds it. The biggest drawback is that it takes a couple three minutes for a saved scan to analyze the text, but then you have a one-click option to save as a contact.
Office Lens has a specific image capture option for business cards. It does a great job of capturing, but then you reach a dead end. Your most useful save option is into the default contacts folder in OneNote. And that’s where it will sit with its recognized text. There’s no way to export the contacts into any other system.
I’ve used Office Lens a few times and though a bit clunky, it does give the option to export the card info as a .vcf file to import into Outlook.