The 10 Best Business Card Scanners
This wiki has been updated 31 times since it was first published in March of 2015. Once you've moved on from transcribing contact information to the old Rolodex by hand, you'll need to import business card data into some sort of digital address book. Designed to make light work of storing electronic versions of paper documents, these compact scanners can also be used to save photos, receipts, and other records. Many are compatible with your favorite organizational software, too. When users buy our independently chosen editorial selections, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
January 05, 2021:
As the world gets more and more digital, it sometimes feels like business cards are becoming obsolete, and if the dearth of modern business card scanners being released on the market is anything to go by, that may be true. So, while it may seem that some of the models here are outdated, they are still the best options available. On our list, you'll find dedicated machines that would work well in a doctor's office, like the Ambir nScan 690gt and BizCardReader BCR901, which are designed solely for use with business and health insurance cards, IDs, and similar sized items, as well as general purpose models, such as the Epson DS-320 and Doxie Go SE, which can accommodate full, letter-sized documents.
May 11, 2019:
In choosing items for this list, we tried to achieve a balance between handheld portable options and desktop models that are well suited to office environments. Software compatibility, quick scanning speed, and user-friendly interfaces were the main features we sought out in our research.
The Plustek PS283 is a new addition to the list, included due to its 25 page-per-minute processing speed and 50-sheet feeder capacity. The Avision Portable has been removed due to availability concerns. Some other updates include the Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300i being promoted to the top spot because of its overwhelming popularity and positive reviews. Several items were demoted, like the Epson DS-320, which has drawn user complaints about a challenging setup process and poor software integration.
How A Business Card Scanner Works
The latter type usually connects to your computer through a USB cord, or lets you grab the info with an SD card or hard drive.
Business cards are an efficient way to give an important contact all of your information. On the other hand, receiving dozens of them a day can be headache that you're unprepared for. If you are like most people, you probably have a messy basket of business cards on your desk, organized in no particular manner. Every time you need to look someone up, you shuffle through that pile for fifteen minutes. In the worst case scenario, you may even lose somebody's card, and now a potentially valuable contact is lost.
Business card scanners bring that easily lost little paper item into the digital age, allowing you to upload, save and organize the information in an efficient manner. There are different types of scanners, but each includes a processing unit and a digital storage media. Some models include their own built-in software for saving data and some connect to pre-existing programs on your computer like Microsoft Outlook or Lotus Notes. If you collect cards for several areas of your life - spanning from personal to professional to medical - you may like a scanner that connects to a program on your computer so you can thoroughly organize and separate the contacts the way you like.
Depending on your needs, you may want a scanner that automatically uploads data to a cloud storage system - that way anybody you work with who might need to access those files can instantly do so. On the other hand, if you like to keep the contact information of your affiliates confidential, you may prefer a scanner with built-in memory, that holds the data all in one spot. The latter type usually connects to your computer through a USB cord, or lets you grab the info with an SD card or hard drive.
Why Business Cards Are Relevant In The Digital Age
With tools like Google and social media, you may wonder how business cards are even still relevant? We may like to believe differently, but there are still times when accessing our social media accounts may be impossible or impractical. It could be at a business dinner when pulling out a phone would be regarded as a faux pas or just because your phone is dead, but at times like these, a traditional business card can be invaluable.
The reality is unless you are deeply integrated into somebody's life, you won't naturally cross their mind.
People's attention spans are shrinking and we often miss out on vital bits of information in a conversation because our mind wanders to other matters. For that reason, you've probably left several conversations with somebody important realizing, "I don't remember their last name or the name of the company they work for." That's one reason business cards are important - Facebook can't help you if you don't recall the name of the person you're trying to find.
They also serve as visual reminders. Just like you leave a photo of yourself at a loved one's place so they think to call you from time to time, you should want to leave your business card on an important contact's desk. The reality is unless you are deeply integrated into somebody's life, you won't naturally cross their mind. Your business card can also be a little visual representation of you. You can use font, images, colors and quotes to give someone a better understanding of you, all on one little piece of paper.
Eye contact and facial expressions are also important for making a lasting impression on somebody, but both of those are lost if you instantly look down at your phone to start punching in phone numbers and email addresses. Handing somebody a card lets you continue to look at them, smile at them and keep a personal connection going. Business cards also show that you take yourself seriously; you invested in yourself by creating them and remembering to keep them on you at all times. Business cards are just as important as ever before and having a business card scanner makes keeping the information on them organized and readily accessible.
The Creators Of The Business Card Scanner
Inventors Wen Chen and Loi Han filed for the first patent of a business card scanner. Their patent laid out basic features that nearly all subsequent models would have, like the ability to display images in forward or reverse sequential order, and the option to enlarge or reduce the size of an image. Chen and Han filed for their patent on December 14, 2001, and had it published on June 19, 2003.
Combining much of the technology between Chen's and Han's previous patents allowed them to invent the business card scanner.
Loi Han has filed for and earned several patents, including a scanner projection system - a stand-alone device that could read data off of printers, computers, and other devices, and display it on a television screen or LCD projector. Han's scanner allows the user to control the degree of resolution and mode of operation.
It's apparent that Han and Chen come from different backgrounds when you look at some of the previous patents Chen filed for. Chen has a patent on an organic/inorganic hybrid composite proton exchange membrane - something far more valuable to the scientific world than the technological one. However Chen also has the patent on a method and device for drawing and formatting images, as well as a retractable scanner. Combining much of the technology between Chen's and Han's previous patents allowed them to invent the business card scanner.