We’ve come to rely heavily on digital communication. I don’t remember too many phone numbers anymore, because I just assume that they’re saved in my Google Contacts for retrieval on an as-needed basis. But what about when you meet someone in person and exchange business cards? It used to be that you would then have to go back to your computer and manually enter all that contact information. There has to be an easier way. And there is. In fact, there are several free business card scanner apps for the iPhone that completely streamline this process, automatically entering phone numbers, companies, job titles, email addresses, and more with just a simple snap of the iPhone camera.
From there, you can easily use a range of instant messenger clients on your iPhone to keep in touch. You don’t have to worry about losing that stack of printed business cards when you’re traveling either, because you can use any number of methods to back up your iPhone contact list.
CardMunch Business Card Reader
On the one hand, you get a fully functional business card scanner here with the CardMunch app. You simply align the paper business card within the on-screen box and then take a picture of the business card from within the app. It will then convert that contact information into an address book contact. Where this goes further is that you can then add these contacts as connectsion on LinkedIn, pulling in the relevant profile information, common connections, and work history.
With CamCard, you can read a business card and then save the resulting information instantly to your iPhone contacts lists. It will then synchronize the card data across smartphones, tablets, computers, and the web app. The free version is ad-supported and, as long as you register your account, you can have up to 100 free cards to start and an additional three more cards each week. If you need to store more contacts than that, the $2.99 paid version might be a better option. You also get the AR card feature.
WorldCard Mobile Lite
There are several different apps out there that utilize optical character recognition (OCR) technology, automatically recognizing the printed text and importing that information in your phone’s contact list. Unlike other free business card scanner apps, though, WorldCard Mobile supports recognition in 16 different languages, including French, Italian, Greek, Russian, and Slovak. The free version is very limited, though, leaving you with just five scans in the first week and one more each subsequent week. The paid version is $6.99.
As with other similar apps, this one will let you utilize the OCR technology to recognize the contact information on the paper business card, but there’s also the option to submit the data for 100% accurate human transcription. The app also boasts cloud backup, support for 21 languages, support for double-sided cards, image cropping, contact merging, group assignments, and the ability to automatically send an email with your vCard attached. Further functionality can be unlocked with the $6.99 paid app.
One of the most popular productivity apps on the iPhone has to be Evernote, so it really shouldn’t be all that surprising that if you want a free business card scanner app on your iPhone, the people at Evernote should have a solution for you too. It’s called Evernote Hello and it ties right into your existing Evernote account. In addition to scanning business cards, this app also lets you create quick profiles from LinkedIn, Facebook, calendar appointments, or your address book.
Yolu Card Reader
This business card scanner app supports several different languages and, as expected, you can scan in those physical business cards and have their information entered into your address book. You can tell that it has been geared toward the Asian market, though, as the languages supported beyond English are Chinese, Korean, and Japanese. The description also calls for “name cards,” which is typically what people in those markets call business cards. The group and search support are good too.
Image credit: JHaland / Flickr