The Best Business Card Scanner

DYMO CardScan Personal Card Scanner

Our Top Pick for 2016: DYMO CardScan Personal Card Scanner
Read our full review.

See it on Amazon for $136.99*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.
Too expensive? See our budget pick.

As a businessperson, you’ll always be looking for new opportunities to grow your business and take your professional life to the next level of success. One way of fostering business growth is to be constantly developing professional relationships by the acquisition and fostering of your repertoire of business contacts. Typically, this is done through trade meet ups where you can meet like minded people. At these meet ups, and in personal business encounters, you might often find that you’ll be collecting a brick of business cards that you’ll have to manually input into your computer for your records.

To avoid this arduous task, many new entrepreneurs are utilizing business card scanners. These devices scan a contact’s business card and will automatically find the information you need for your records. This new tech is great for professional growth, so we’ve taken the time to find some of the best models on the market, in order to save you a step in research.

Table of contents

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Digitizes Business Cards In Seconds
Scans Data From Business Cards Directly Into Your PC, Mac, Palm Or Windows Mobile Device
USB 2.0 interface
Supports Multiple Languages
Small Enough To Fit In The Palm Of Your Hand
Plug-and-play Functionality
Management Functions Provided For Editing Of Information
Scans Only Black And White Cards
Can Display Multiple Languages
Export/ Import Contacts To/ From Address Book
Reads Cards In 7 Languages From 14 Different Countries
Recognizes Both Sides Of Business Cards
Intelligent Mailbox Concept With Indication Light
Verifies And Correct Us Addresses
Imports/Exports Contacts in CSV, Access, Excel, vCard and Text Filed Formats

*Price at time of publishing and may not reflect current pricing.

#1 Gold pick (Winner): DYMO CardScan Personal Card Scanner

DYMO CardScan Personal Card Scanner Gold Pick

View it on Amazon for $136.99*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-gold-winnerOur Gold Pick product, as with many of its gold-rated contemporaries, is a winner in both the realms of consumer experience, and critical review. Coming to us from the office specialists at Dymo, this personal card scanner continues a tradition that began when the company was founded back in 1958. Dymo has since become a global leader in the worlds of label making and scanning, and our Gold Pick reflects this level of expertise.

The first thing that you’ll notice about this business card scanner is how portable it is. While you won’t be able to comfortably stuff it in your pocket, you’ll easily be able to retrieve this from a carry bag or briefcase. Its measurements are 3.25 inches from the bottom of the unit to the top, 8.13 inches from side to side, and 6.63 inches from the front of the device to the back. The scanner is also exceedingly light; you’ll never notice the weight differential of 1.3 pounds when you place it in your bag.

Aesthetically, Dymo utilized a simple silver and black plastic chassis for this device. The top section is rounded in profile and the remainder of the device is relatively rectangular with rounded edges. Simply lift up the silver-colored door on the left side of the device and you’ll find the input area. Just load a business card in this part and the process of scanning will begin immediately. This scan process typically takes only a few seconds, though you’ll find that the device can only create monochrome scans. This typically doesn’t pose much of a problem because the text is really the information you’ll be looking for anyway. The scanner is able to scan business cards in seven different languages, from 12 different countries, so you shouldn’t have much in the way of problems if you need to travel to different regions.

Once you’re done collecting contacts, it’s time to do something with the information that you’ve scanned into your device. When you have access to a PC, simply utilize a type A male to type B male USB connector to establish a data connection between your computer and the scanner. As long as you’ve installed the bundled software, your computer will instantly recognize both the scanner and the data that you’ve collected. From there, it’s simple to grab the information that your scanner has collected and almost automatically load it into a contacts program; as a matter of fact, on PC, you can load the captured information directly into Outlook contacts

In addition to this functionality, you’ll be able to de-duplicate multiple instances of the client’s information, generate a map of your client’s address with relative ease, and effortlessly sort the clients that you have scanned. The software adds a little extra versatility to your business repertoire, as it will allow you to also pull client info from web pages and emails as well. In addition to the scanner, Dymo has included with the purchase a protective travel pouch that will help augment the inherent portability of this device.

As of this writing, On Amazon, there are 49 reviews for this product. Of these 49 reviews, 59 percent are of a four or five star rating level. Of the five star reviews, the consensus about this product states that it works well and doesn’t often have mistakes. On the other hand, the biggest complaint is that sometimes it has issues reading text that is printed with foil. Here is one five star testimonial:

“I was pleasantly surprised by this product as a few reviews were less than positive (though most were from delighted users). I found it works very well. Sure, like any device that digitizes print, especially the logo fonts and other odd typefaces that appear on business cards, the user is required at times to make minor corrections. I blew threw a stack of business cards in minutes when it would have taken a ridiculous amount of time to self-enter the data. I’m very happy I made this purchase.”

#2 Silver pick (Runner-up): PenPower WorldCard Pro Business Card Scanner

PenPower WorldCard Pro Business Card Scanner

View it on Amazon for $128.90*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-silver-winnerPenpower, a Chinese firm that began its history in 1991 with the invention of a digital writing pad that would allow for the input of Chinese characters that would instantly be recognized by the pad’s software, has been a leader in human interface technology for 25 years. Since their company’s beginnings, Penpower has become an even strong force for this type of technology, showing particular success in the realms of mobile applications and, of course, scanning technology.

Our Silver Pick, the PenPower WorldCard business card scanner, is one of the most recognized on the market today, and for good reason; as a matter of fact, this device almost made our Gold Pick rating and it’s often featured on many ‘best of’ lists as the number one product of its type. Its design is nearly perfect for its purpose. The device is fairly cube-like; it measures in at a length of 4.21 inches, a width of 3.94 inches, and a height of 1.10 inches. It’s also is a very light; it only weighs about half a pound. Aesthetically, the device looks like a black box that has gold highlights around the card input area.

PenPower’s device utilizes a very elegant system to store and eventually deploy the device. When not in use the input section of this machine folds neatly into its chassis. The resultant small rectangular box is perfectly storable in a bag or briefcase. The USB wire, which connects the machine to your desktop PC or Mac, folds neatly into the rear of the device, which ensures that you’ll never be in a situation where you can’t connect because you don’t have a USB. The USB can be disconnected from the scanner itself, but the extra storage area in the back makes this something you won’t actually have to do. PenPower also includes an extra USB cable for more range with the device as well.

When it comes to functionality, this thing has a very seamless process. Simply feed in the business card and it will automatically pass through the machine, and out the back of the unit. When the process is going, there is an internal light inside the feed opening that illuminates the process and lets you know visually that scanning is occurring. Once out the rear of the device you’ll have a full scan of the entire card because this device scans both sides at once. You should be able to scan about ten business cards in a minute with this device; a very impressive performance.

The included software will work on any style of computer and uses some of PenPower’s previously mentioned interface tech to recognize any text on the business card. It easily will input any pertinent information into Office Contacts, Salesforce, and ACT.

Of the 198 reviews currently on Amazon, about 54 percent were of a positive nature. Most of the negative reviews centered on the imperfection that is unfortunately inherent in this type of scanning technology. The positive reviews, on the other hand, indicated that this is a great contact building device that is reliable and portable; as a matter of fact, here is one such testimonial:

“Purchased this to use in our trade show booth. It is easy to set-up and use. The scans were great. Easy to add notes, export, and to send an email to all contacts. All of the sales staff were impressed and want one for their own needs.”

#3 Bronze pick (3rd place): Penpower WorldCard Color Business Card Scanner

Penpower WorldCard Color Business Card Scanner

View it on Amazon for $119.95*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-bronze-awardOur next Bronze Pick business card reader also comes to us from the folks at PenPower. This device is another in the WorldCard series of products, yet it varies significantly from our Silver Pick device. That being said, this is another great device from a company that has made quite a name for itself in the scanning and human interface world.

Firstly, this device has a completely different shape than the WorldCard device which serves as our Silver Pick. Where that device has square shaping, this device is somewhat cylindrical and is slightly less portable. Its measurements are: 6.89 inches in width, 1.77 inches in height, and another 2.95 inches in depth. As a matter of fact, weight is where these two devices are most similar; this device weighs about half a pound as well.

Though it is tube-shaped, this shaping can come in handy when storing it in a bag or briefcase. Also, this device is designed to be immediately usable; you won’t have to deploy the input area to start it up, simply feed in the card and the process can begin. When it comes to coloration, the whole device is an almost uniform grey, save for a large green LED that lets you know that the device is powered on.

When it comes to functionality, this device definitely sports some great features. Firstly, this is not just a business card scanner. Since this device can scan color documents at a high resolution, you can actually scan pictures on this device; as long as they are of the right size. One of the most useful features that PenPower utilized on this device is the machine’s flawless integration with Google’s web services. Once scanned, connect up to your computer with the separate USB cable, and click the synch button and all of the data that you’ve collected will automatically save into your Google contacts. Also, this device will recognize business cards in 24 languages; the most recognized amount of languages of any of the devices we’ve covered in this write up.

This device uses the same WorldCard software as our Silver Pick, so you can expect the same level of seamless integration when you use it to manage your contacts in programs like Outlook. In addition to this, you’ll also be able to exchange contacts with any device that supports Microsoft’s Office platform.

Currently, there are 149 reviews on Amazon, and of these reviews, 68 percent are of a positive, four or five star quality level. Here is an example of a five star testimonial:

“I have scanned over 500 cards using this new scanner. It has worked great and recognized over 90% of the content correctly. Only has problems with fancy fonts or cards that are hard to read in the first place. I highly recommend this card scanner!”

#4 Budget pick (Best cheap): Ambir TravelScan Pro PS600ix-AS

Ambir TravelScan Pro PS600ix-AS

View it on Amazon for $116.10*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-cheap-budget-pickAs businesspeople, we have to be sure to cut any overspending in order to ensure the success of our business. Sometimes this means avoiding spending hundreds of dollars on more expensive business card scanners. In this situation, you should take a look at our ballin’ on a budget device. It’s the Ambir SA025-PH business card scanner, and it does a great job at getting your contacts, for a lower price.

Shape-wise, this device is cylindrical like our bronze device; this shaping definitely has its advantages as it allows for more efficient document feeding and retrieval. This is also a device that is USB powered, so you’ll never have to worry about plugging it in to scan, though you will have to have it near a PC or laptop or another source of USB power.

As a less portable device, this device is also quite a bit larger than the other scanners on our list. While this may be a deterrent to some, it will allow you a little more maneuverability when you need to scan slightly larger cards. Its physical measurements are: 14.2 inches in width, 5.3 inches in depth, and 2.4 inches in height. While you might be somewhat tethered with this device, it’s perfect for scanning business cards when you have clients visiting the office for meetings. With the included AmbirScan Lite software, you’ll actually be able to save all of your scanned documents in file formats such as PDF, TIF, or even JPG.

On Amazon, this business card scanner currently doesn’t have any reviews, but this device is relatively new to the market. With this in mind, this is still a great budgetary option for any person who is trying to take their business to the next level as it has many of the features of more expensive models of business card scanner, and it has compatibility with cloud services like Dropbox, Google Drive, and Evernote.


Pre-purchase considerations

Auto Population

This is certainly a feature to look out for when buying a business card scanner. When you start your scanning process, typically, there is a lot of information that a potential contact can present on the little card. You’ll find email information, company title, the contact’s role in that company, and business numbers, amongst other information. In times past, you’d have to go home, load all of this information directly into a contacts program or into Outlook, and then move onto the next business card you have. After awhile, this can get to be an arduous task. Auto population in a business card scanner fully automates this process by using built in software that has the ability to recognize these points of interest and auto fill your software’s fields that are set aside for this type of information. With this functionality, you’ll find that you’ll already have all of the key information loaded as soon as you hook up your scanner to your home PC.

Dual Sided Scanning

Many modern entrepreneurs know that the business card is one of the most important first impression tools for acquiring new business. As a result of this, elaborate, well designed cards are very valuable to drumming up new business, so many business owners put information on both sides of their business cards. This is why having a business card with dual sided scanning is very useful, as having to scan both sides of a card for the collection of information is time consuming, and as you know, wasted time is a wasted business opportunity. When looking for a new business card scanner, try to get one that features this functionality, it’ll save you time and potentially garner you a lead.

Portability

Portability can be an important tool for drumming up new business. No one wants to carry a massive machine around in a suitcase or messenger bag, fish it out uncomfortably when you meet a new business contact, and set it up for a scan. Fortunately, many modern business card scanners are designed with mobile friendliness in mind; as a matter of fact, many will fit neatly in the confines of your pocket. If you plan on going out to identify business contacts, a more portable device is certainly the way to go.

On the other hand, if you plan to collect business cards near your work location, then a larger device is certainly something that can work for you. Larger-type business card scanners tend to do a quicker job and produce scans with a greater level of detail, so if you have potential clients often visiting your office space, then a desk based device will work well for you.

Dedicated Device vs. Mobile Application

As with nearly everything, this level of scanning is rapidly going mobile. With the invention of the modern Smartphone, business card scanning apps have been steadily gaining popularity for the businessperson who finds themselves often on-the-go who don’t want to be tied down to an additional device; on the other hand, there is one caveat for this style of business card scanning solution: mobile scanners are typically slower than dedicated devices, and even if you use a relatively fast device for mobile scanning, you will have to scan both sides of a dual sided business card independently, which of course, will slow you down somewhat.

Which system works best for you will completely be dependent on your own personal preferences: Do you like to have all of your business functions in a one-stop-shop style of model? Then, maybe a Smartphone-based mobile application is best for you. Do you prefer to have a faster scan, so that you can move on to the next potential client quickly? Then, you should try out a dedicated device.

Scanning Speed

Speed is paramount to making as many new business connections as possible. If you find that your scanner takes more than a minute to scan a business card, then you may be missing out on new opportunities. This being said, you don’t want to lose out on quality for speed, so it’s best to seek out a happy medium between scan speed and scan quality. When you are looking for a new business card scanner, be sure to seek out a model that can blend these two output features as seamlessly as possible.

Conclusion (Wrapping it up)

If you are working on taking your personal business to the next level, securing new contacts and business information is absolutely integral to your bottom line. With concepts like master data management MDM becoming more and more important when it comes to managing client data, devices like business card scanners, which help automate the process, start to become increasingly important. We hope our guide has given you the tools to increase the productivity of your business and will help you increase the number of your business partners exponentially. If these devices don’t work for you, please use our pre-purchase considerations to help your find a device that is more synchronous with your business’s needs.

Discussion and comments

We want to know what you think. Do you own any of the products we discussed? Which did you buy and how did it work out for you?

Do you know of an even better product?

Comment below and help your fellow consumers make the right choice. Over to you!

Resources

  1. GetConnected TV Show, CardScan Executive from DYMO, Youtube, December 8, 2011
  2. Newegg Products, Product Tour: DYMO CardScan Executive V9 Business Card Scanner, Youtube, February 29, 2012
  3. CardScan Executive Review, Top Ten Reviews
  4. WorldCard Pro Review, Top Ten Reviews
  5. Sales & Social Media Tips, Business Card Scanner | Watch the scanner in action, Youtube, September 13, 2009
  6. Maddux Naoma, Review: Scanner for Business Card – Penpower WorldCard Pro Scanner & Reader, Daily Motion, September 12, 2015

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