We may live in a digital world, but any networking or client event is still guaranteed to lead to the exchange of business cards. While people used to stuff these cards in their wallets or purses, today’s technological world makes that increasingly impractical. Rather than holding onto paper cards, more and more professionals see the advantage of storing the documents digitally.
Professionals use business card scanners to make digital copies. These scanners can also import scanned information into editable Excel documents or into Outlook. We put together the following primer listing our top picks for business card scanners.
Why use business card scanners?
Business card 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. [Related guide: How to Choose a Document Scanner]
Stacey Crew, an organization expert and author of The Organized Mom, 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 unneeded clutter. [Need help decluttering your office? Learn some tips and services to help your office go paperless.]
“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 also provide an easy way to import customer and client data into a customer relationship management (CRM) software program. [Related article: How CRMs Streamline Email Marketing]
“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 said. “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 a challenge. To help professionals find the business card scanner for their needs, we narrowed the choice down to our top three picks.
While business card scanners are primarily intended for business cards, some can function as all-purpose portable scanners, cutting down on the cost of purchasing multiple devices.
The best business card scanners
|Business card scanner||PenPower WorldCard Cloud||Ambir TravelScan Pro 600||Fujitsu ScanSnap S1100|
|Price on Amazon||$139.95||$180.09||$255.67|
|Maximum image document size (in inches)||4.2 x 7||8.5 x 14||8.5 x 11|
|Weight (in ounces)||5.9||12.6||12.34|
PenPower WorldCard Cloud
PenPower’s WorldCard Cloud has a wide range of features, simplicity of use and top-level customer service. The WorldCard Cloud 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 the key features professionals want, plus a lot of extra options that make it versatile.
- Scanner: The WorldCard Cloud business card scanner is one of the most compact and lightweight devices of its kind. Easy to transport, it can plug into computers via USB cord, meaning you 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 Cloud scanner is terrific, and it can scan images and documents up to 4.2 by 7 inches. The WorldCard Cloud scanner uses text-recognition software to import your contacts’ 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. [Related article: Best iPhone Apps to Manage Your Business Contacts]
- Features: The WorldCard Cloud scanner includes a number of outstanding features, including the option to link to Google Maps after scanning a contact. Once you’ve scanned 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: If you run into a problem with installation, programming, or use, you can contact the customer service team by phone or email. The WorldCard Cloud scanner comes with a limited one-year warranty.
The WorldCard Cloud can recognize up to 24 languages, making it ideal for business trips or for use after international conferences and conventions.
Ambir TravelScan Pro 600
The Ambir TravelScan Pro 600 scores high marks for its diverse set of features and efficient, nimble design, which allows for a scan of a single card in three seconds. While the scanner is marketed as a travel device, it works just as well in an office environment, since it can scan papers up to an area of 8.5 by 14 inches. The scanner is compatible with PCs up to Windows 11.
- Scanner: The TravelScan Pro 600 is extremely lightweight. It weighs less than a pound – 12.6 ounces – which makes it easy to take on the road. Its maximum scanning length and height provide additional use cases beyond just scanning business cards, and it comes backed with a two-year warranty from Ambir. Additionally, the scanner comes with a Citrix Ready certification, which means it is certified to be compatible with Citrix work environments.
- Features: The TravelScan Pro 600 can connect to any Windows 7/8/10/11 device via USB, allowing for quick and efficient scanning no matter where you are. The scanner is compatible with Microsoft Outlook 2010 and up, allowing for the easy import of contacts. The scanner’s software also automatically detects duplicate information. The scanner can export scanned documents into a CSV file for easy backup, and can save scanned documents as PDFs, TIFs or JPEGs to backup cloud services Box, Dropbox, Evernote or Google Drive. [Related guide: How to Back Up Your Computer to Google’s Cloud]
- Customer service: If you need help using the device, customer service representatives are available by phone between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Central Time, as well as by online chat support. The scanner also comes with a two-year limited warranty.
Fujitsu ScanSnap S1100
The Fujitsu ScanSnap business card scanner is versatile enough to scan both business cards and letter-size documents. It offers the ability to scan an exact image of the card and is equipped with 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. Once 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 by phone 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.
Jeremy Bender contributed to the writing and reporting in this article. Source interviews were conducted for a previous version of this article.