It seems like wherever professionals go, they're always being handed a business card.
While business people used to just stuff these cards in their wallets or purses, today's technological world makes that increasingly impractical. Rather than holding onto these paper cards, more and more professionals see the advantage of storing the documents digitally.
|Worldcard Pro||Xerox Travel Scanner 150||Fujitsu ScanSnap S1100|
Max. image document size: 4.2" X 7"
Max. image document size: 8.5" X 14"
Max. image document size: 8.5" x 11"
Weight: 5.9 ounces
Weight: 11.2 ounces
Weight: 12.34 ounces
To make these digital copies, professionals use business card scanners. These scanners, which work just like regular scanners, make it simple to transfer the names, phone numbers, email addresses and websites on a card onto a digital device, such as a computer, smartphone or tablet, for storage and organization.
Stacey Crew, an organization expert and author of the My Organized Lifestyle blog, said storing business card information digitally, rather than trying to keep and then find the paper copies when needed, is more efficient. Business card scanners also rid professionals of some unneeded clutter
"Professionals who either own or work for a small business are busy by nature, so the less physical clutter, the better," Crew said. "Clutter is a distraction that can keep individuals from remaining focused and productive."
Business card scanners additionally provide an easy way to import customer and client data into a customer relationship management (CRM) software program, Crews said.
"CRM software can record history with a prospect or client, which keeps the contacts alive, as opposed to a pile of cards with handwritten notes on the back," Crew told Business News Daily. "That is fine when you're at a trade show, but not a productive way to stay in touch afterwards."
With such a wide variety of business card scanners on the market, finding one that best fits your needs can be challenging. To help professionals find which business card scanner will work best for them, Business News Daily's sister site Top Ten Reviews has conducted extensive in-depth reviews. Here are Top Ten Reviews' top recommendations for the best business card scanners:
PenPower's WorldCard Pro won this year's Top Ten Reviews' Gold Award for it's wide range of features, simplicity of use and top-level customer service. The WorldCard Pro can scan two-sided documents and is compatible with both Macs and PCs, which is a nice bonus for those who use both types of computers regularly. Unlike other similar products, it has all the key features professionals could want and a lot of extra options that make it versatile and extremely useful.
Scanner: The WorldCard Pro business card scanner is one of the most compact and lightweight devices of its kind. Easy to transport, it can plug into computers via a USB cord, meaning users never have to worry about batteries running low or relying on any other power source to run the device. The image quality on the WorldCard Pro scanner is terrific, which means you can import high-quality images and photos. The device can scan images and documents up to 4.2 by 7 inches. When adding in contacts, the WorldCard Pro scanner uses text-recognition software to import all data. It easily recognizes phone numbers, email addresses and other pertinent information. Once scanned in, the data is immediately imported into a contact software program, such as Microsoft Office or Google contacts. Mobile devices synced to that software can then download the contact information immediately.
Features: The WorldCard Pro scanner includes a number of outstanding features, including the option to link to Google Maps after scanning a contact. Once you've scanned in a card, you can access the map to get directions, look for other nearby businesses and learn more about the new contact. For business cards with information on both sides, the scanner saves time by scanning both sides of the card simultaneously. After a card is scanned in, it is stored on a computer, giving you various options on how to use and organize the contact information.
Customer Service: Should there be a problem with installation, programming or use, you can contact the customer-service team via telephone or email. The WorldCard Pro scanner also comes with a limited one-year warranty.
The Travel Scanner 150 scores high marks for its wonderful set of features, including the ability to translate 120 different languages. While the scanner is marketed as a travel device, it works just as well in an office environment since it has the ability to scan papers other than business cards. The Travel Scanner is only compatible with PCs, so it is not an option for Mac owners.
Scanner: The Travel Scanner 150 is extremely lightweight. It weighs less than a pound — 11.2 ounces — which makes it very easy to take on the road. The scanner's maximum scanning length and height, 8.5 inches and 14 inches, are about twice that of most competitors. This gives you the ability to scan normal-size printing paper, along with documents that are slightly longer than the standard 8.5 x 11 inches.
Features: The Travel Scanner 150 can scan two-sided documents, which saves you the time of scanning one side of the card and then flipping it over to scan the other side. The scanner connects to both Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft Office and includes three software systems, including Nuance PaperPort, to help you organize contacts. The Travel Scanner 150 does not run on external power, so you don't have to stay near a power outlet to use the device; all you need is your computer and the included USB cord.
Customer Service: For those who need help using the device, customer service representatives are available by phone between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. Pacific Time. However, there is no email address for customer service. For those who don't want to use the phone options, there is paper instruction manual that is also available online.
This year's Top Ten Reviews Bronze Award winner, the Fujitsu ScanSnap business card scanner, is versatile enough to scan both business cards and letter-size documents. Besides being able to scan an exact image of the card, the scanner has text-recognition software. The ScanSnap business card scanner is compatible with both Mac and Windows operating systems, which is particularly beneficial for people who use multiple platforms.
Scanner: While larger than some of its competitors, the Fujitsu ScanSnap scanner is still small and lightweight enough to fit in most large purses and laptop bags. However, because it's a bit larger than other scanners, it offers the added benefit of being able to scan documents that are as large as a regular, 8.5 by 11-inch piece of paper. In addition, the Fujitsu ScanSnap does not require an external power source.
Features: The Fujitsu ScanSnap comes with a driver disc that installs all of the components needed to use the scanner and the text-recognition software. When up and running, the software automatically detects all of the information from the business cards, such as email addresses, phone numbers and addresses. It then imports the info directly into Microsoft Outlook or other third-party applications, which gives you control over how to organize the information and the ability to add notes and label the new contacts. Unlike some of its competitors, the ScanSnap can't scan both sides of a card at the same time and cannot link directly to an online map.
Customer Service: The manufacturer of the Fujitsu ScanSnap provides reliable help and support options that are available via telephone or email. Customer-service representatives answer questions quickly and efficiently, and they return emails within one day. The scanner comes with a limited one-year warranty, which is standard for other similar models.
Originally published on Business News Daily