You may not be collecting business cards now like in years past, but you still need a way to capture and share contact info, whether it's from a face-to-face meeting, virtual event, or chance encounter in the supermarket. And there's no better time to use the right technology—business card scanner apps—to create, share, and organize your contacts so you're prepared for any scenario.
Whether you need digital cards, contact sharing over Zoom, team collaboration, or just want to get paper cards organized with multi-card scanning, there are business card scanners that get the job done. We tested over two dozen business card scanners, trying each with simple, complicated, and blurry business cards to see how they worked in real-life use. Here are the eight best tools to quickly scan business cards.
Click on any app to learn more about why we chose it, or keep reading for more context on business card readers.
The 8 best business card scanner apps
BizConnect for accuracy and ease of use
Sansan for companies or teams
L-Card Pro for creating and sharing digital business cards
ABBYY for staying in touch with new contacts
ScanBizCards for saving business cards at events
Wantedly People for a free business card scanner
CamCard Business for managing contact tasks and activities
Evernote for app minimalists
What makes a good business card reader app?
The heart of a business card scanner lies in its OCR (optical character recognition) software, a technology that has been around for decades. It's come quite a ways since it was first applied, but the basic principle is the same: scan the structure of a document, divide it into blocks of text and images, and determine what words (or numbers) a string of characters represent. And in the case of these scanners, send this data in editable, searchable contact form to the app.
Though the technology is good, it's not perfect even after all these years. A business card's layout, font, images, color, contrast, and even texture all affect the accuracy of a scan—a process that takes just seconds in most cases. And as you'll see, some companies employ good old-fashioned humans to supplement their technology for even better accuracy.
In addition to accuracy, we looked for ease of use, digital card sharing, integration and sharing options such as email and CRM platforms, and the ability to organize, tag, and group contacts.
Best business card scanner app for accuracy and ease of use
BizConnect (Android, iOS)
BizConnect produces the closest I found to perfect scan accuracy. It's the only app that consistently found and linked social media accounts, captured blurry and unusual fonts, and identified words that the others just missed. BizConnect is also easy to use and thoughtfully designed to give users plenty of features without feeling overwhelmed.
From the Holder screen, you'll find all of your contacts with their card image, name, title, company, and when they were added. Next to each contact is a handy options menu that lets you call, email, and share without having to even open the card. At the top of this screen are color-coded options to export, import, add to CRM, and perform other actions. The scan button is prominently displayed at the bottom.
Clicking Scan gives options to scan a single card (front and back), a QR code, or scan in batch, which means scanning one card after the other. Once scanned, you'll get a processing message, and within a few minutes, you'll have a completed contact. Though it's a bit slower than other apps on this list, it's worth the wait. I tested business cards that gave all the others trouble, and BizConnect was close to perfect, linking social accounts, recognizing funky font types, and correctly capturing blurry words that all others missed entirely.
In addition to stellar scans, it also comes with task setting, activity tracking, and reports showing daily and monthly leads captured. There's even a barebones CRM where you can add deal stages, tasks, and activities with a revenue feature tracking all won deals. Integrating your CRM (HubSpot, Salesforce, Zoho, and Pipedrive) is easy by connecting your accounts and selecting the contacts you want to export.
Free plan: Yes (scan up to 600 cards)
Paid plan: From $6.99/user/month
Best business card reader app for companies
Sansan (Android, iOS, Web)
Sansan is designed for teams and companies who regularly acquire a good deal of contacts and want the ability to share and manage them internally. For this, several features stand out: multiple card scanning with the app; human transcribers for reduced data entry and better accuracy; contact management functions such as departments and permissions; and bulk actions such as email, reminders, and sharing.
Scanning multiple cards is easy: just arrange up to four cards vertically, and when the blue circles stop on each card, press the shutter. Accuracy is solid, and then you have the human "digitization" to proof and edit the fields if needed. I found the digitization took around 12 hours per batch on average, but you can begin working with a contact right away.
Within a contact, you can add notes and tags, share the card with a colleague via text or email, and see which of your colleagues are already connected to them. Also, create lists and send bulk emails from customizable templates from your web account. Once sent, you'll be able to track the number of emails opened. Other activities tracked include meetings and calls.
As administrator, you can create departments and add users (individually or bulk), providing them with permissions such as contact edits, downloading data, and viewing reports. The security settings allow you to set which contacts your team members can then view and update.
Plus, with Sansan's Zapier Integrations, you can do things like automatically add new business cards as leads in Salesforce or Mailchimp.
Free plan: Yes
Paid plan: Custom, based on user numbers (plus one-time fees) or the number of business cards
Best business card scanner app for creating and sharing digital business cards
L-Card Pro (Android, iOS, Windows)
Whether to save trees or reduce physical sharing during the pandemic, the case for creating and sharing digital business cards rather than paper is strong. With L-Card Pro, you're accomplishing both of these goals with the ability to create a custom digital card with multichannel sharing.
When you first open the app, you're asked if you want to build your own card, create a fast card, or scan a paper card. Choosing the first option brings you to their template site where you can choose a pre-designed version—432 options in categories such as health, marketing, and real estate—or go full custom on this same page, adding your own images and background. In addition to contact details, you also can add video, social, and other links such as collateral.
Design it on your phone, or make it easier by logging in to the site to create it on a larger device. It took me several minutes to pick a template, enter my info, download an image, and rearrange the layout to my liking on my phone. Then I made some minor tweaks on my laptop. Once saved, the app creates a QR code, lets you add a calendar link, and lets you add a card to your email signature. Then share with the QR code, text, email, WhatsApp, and other platforms.
The card scanner is average compared to the others here, but it gets the job done. To scan, tap Copy Existing Card, then tap the card-like box at the top. The app opens and quickly finds the card, scans it automatically, and then asks you to edit or proceed. For one scan, I picked Edit and re-cropped the scan because it didn't capture the dark bottom edge with an address. Problem solved. When you Proceed, verify the details using the card's image at top. You'll be asked to save it to Library, Favorites, Groups, or My Cards if it's one of yours.
You can also export your contacts to Salesforce, Outlook, Google Contacts, and save to phone contacts. There's even a way to create a customized Zoom background showing a scannable QR code in the background.
L-Card Pro price:
Free plan: Yes
Paid plan: From $2.50/user/month
Best business card scanner app for staying in touch with new contacts
ABBYY Business Card Reader (Android, iOS, Windows)
ABBYY Business Card Reader lets you scan cards quickly and with a better-than-average degree of accuracy. It also 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 will auto-snap a picture and recognize the text—no need to tap the shutter button. You'll see the scanned contact info in seconds. If there is poor recognition, the app will ask if you'd like to manually type the details, change languages, or retake. And it will recognize up to three languages at a time.
Each contact displays the card's image at the top followed by the contact's name, company, and title. Next is a horizontal display of icons for phone, email, website, address, notes, and social accounts. Tapping on each will display the captured details for each card. If you need to correct or add something, tap the pencil icon, which displays all fields to edit plus gives the option to add new fields. This was the only app that pulled in both the standard card info and a QR code printed on one business card, showing the QR details in the notes.
Finally, when everything looks perfect, tap Save to add the contact to ABBYY's contacts list, your phone's address book, Salesforce, and/or send the details via text. You can also get in touch with your new contact directly from the app by searching for them on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. It's everything you need to quickly capture cards, share details, and keep up with your contacts in one place.
ABBYY Business Card Reader price:
Free plan: Yes
Paid plan: From $30/year
Best business card scanner app for events
ScanBizCards (Android, iOS)
When we do finally get back into the swing of attending events—trade shows, conferences, and networking—you'll want an app in your pocket that makes easy work of scanning both business cards and conference badges. And there's no better option than ScanBizCards. This app was also runner up for most accurate card scanning in our test.
To scan a card or badge, tap the large camera icon at the top. When your camera opens, you'll have the choice of a single or batch scan. In Single mode, turn your camera horizontally, press the shutter, and review the contact's scan results in seconds. Tap Export, and it saves to the app and any system you have already integrated, such as Salesforce, HubSpot, Pipedrive, and Constant Contact, among others. Exporting contacts to my Salesforce was fast and flawless. If you have a stack of cards, Batch mode lets you capture one card after another and then save and export the entire batch.
ScanBizCards accurately captured cards that gave most other apps trouble, picking up social accounts, difficult fonts, and blurry words. If its OCR accuracy isn't enough, there's also the option to use human transcribers to verify your scans, further reducing the time you have to worry about data entry. The free plan provides two transcriptions while the paid plans start with 100 per month.
Cards are alphabetized by first name, and a menu by each contact lets you quickly share, move to a folder, and export these to CRM. You can also send a quick, customizable intro email to contacts you met from this menu: "Hi Jamie, great meeting you at the show and sharing info. Let's stay in touch."
Finally, the app also allows you to assign a new contact to a specific owner before you export it to a CRM like Salesforce—a huge plus if you're looking to use business cards to send targeted, personalized follow-ups.
Free plan: Yes
Paid plan: From $100 user/year
Best free business card scanner app
Wantedly People (Android, iOS)
Wantedly People is completely free. And even better: it's one of the few apps I tested that had multiple-card scan capability.
It took some experimenting with card layout, but I was finally able to get 10 cards scanned at once after about a dozen tries. The ideal arrangement was two vertical columns of five with an inch spacing between rows and cards. To start a scan, open the app and swipe the screen down or press the button at the bottom. Your camera opens and the app immediately starts looking for cards; within seconds, the purple-blue circles will detect cards. When all cards are circled, tap the shutter button, and Wantedly People will import all of the cards at once.
With 10, the quality of the scans degraded a bit, and cards with unusual fonts, larger images, and those with handwritten notes proved more difficult to capture accurately. I found scanning eight cards was the sweet spot between good quantity and quality. Also, after isolating the tricky cards by themselves, the scanner worked fine.
Wantedly People doesn't save your business cards to your address book or other apps. To do that, you have to open the Wantedly People companion web app, download your contacts as a .CSV, and then import the file to your phone or other apps such as a CRM. For a free option with the ability to scan multiple cards at once, it will be worth these extra steps for many users.
Wantedly People price: Free
Best business card reader app for managing contact tasks and activities
CamCard Business (Android, iOS, web)
CamCard Business—the more sophisticated version of the popular CamCard app—gives users options for managing contact tasks, appointments, and activities. So it's not just a scanner, but also a contact manager. Although it doesn't have auto-focus, it does a good job capturing cards accurately and then very quickly displaying the contact, so you can edit or add fields, activities, or tags. When you tap Done, it brings you back to the Company Cardholder screen, displaying your other contacts. From here, there are countless ways to display, sort, filter, and find your contacts, including by date, company, keyword, tags, etc.
From the contact record, you can create tasks with due dates, add notes, and assign them to others if needed. You'll then have an ongoing record of both to-dos and completed tasks for each. You can also record activities such as visits, meetings, emails, and calls, which you can then send as an email to a manager. One handy feature is the ability to create email templates and then schedule these to send at a specified time. For example, send all scans tagged Vendors you met at a trade show a follow-up email in three days.
As an administrator, invite other team members to use the app, share contacts, and collaborate on tasks. Create departments and manage user settings by assigning roles, adding superiors, and setting who has edit versus view-only permissions.
CamCard Business price:
Free plan: No
Paid plan: From $5/user/month, 3 user minimum.
Best business card scanner app if you already have too many apps
Evernote (Android, iOS for scanning; Windows, Mac, Web for viewing)
The popular notebook app Evernote happens to also be one of the best ways to scan business cards. Once you're signed in on its mobile app, press and hold 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 Save As button, select Business Card, and Evernote will pull the data out of the card.
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.
With Evernote's Zapier Integrations, you can do things like automatically create Google Calendar events from Evernote reminders and create Trello cards from new Evernote notes.
Tip: Evernote also offers a dedicated scanner app, Scannable, which is even faster for scanning documents, receipts, and business cards. Unfortunately, it doesn't have a way to tell the app what type of document you're scanning, so if it doesn't think something's a business card, you can't switch the scanning mode as in Evernote.
Free plan: Yes
Paid plan: From $7.99/month
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 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. And if you're a Droid user, Google Lens is built into most newer phones. Take a picture of your card, tap the Lens icon, and save to your phone's contacts. You could also use a dedicated scanner app 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.
Originally published in November 2017 by Matthew Guay, this article also has contributions from Hannah Herman.