As a member of the business development team here at Rocksauce, it is beneficial to myself and the company to periodically attend various networking events. Traditionally, these kind of meet-ups are all about one thing: making contacts! In the process of making these contacts, the standard practice of collecting business cards comes into play. Thanks to work and regular life, my wallet is always full of cards. For every business contact, I have a mechanic or personal contact and let’s not forget the vast amount of punch cards for buy ten get one free “fill in the blank.” Aside from the punch cards I felt that it was time for a change in my business card collection methods – it was time to go digital. Considering the fact that I work for an app company, why not have all of my business cards stored on an app?
The appeal of the business card storage app is obvious. Every card I collect and therefore, all of the information on every card I collect, stored in one compact place. No more fumbling through my wallet trying to remember the info for someone I need to call! With the best of these apps, I can receive their digital business card and instantly connect with them on LinkedIn, making my job significantly easier. Although I did eventually locate my ideal app, I went through a vigorous testing process and gave a few of them test runs before making my final decision. Here’s what I found.
Although each of these apps essentially does the same thing, they do so with varying degrees of quality.
One of the first ones I downloaded was called SamCard and while it’s solid, it’s functionality is limited. There is a paid version that offers additional features, but I was not impressed enough with the free version to commit. Unfortunately, the user interface is a little drab and none of its elements really pop out. It’s not visually pleasing. It has three buttons: one to take a photo, one to select a photo and one to import your contacts. It’s pretty self-explanatory, at least. One of the plus sides about SamCard (and to be fair, much of its business card app brethren), it can store all kinds of cards in addition to regular business cards, making it a great place to store miscellaneous information. I feel a little bad picking on SamCard since the paid version surely has more options and may even look better, but I can only talk about what I saw firsthand.
The next one I downloaded has the incredibly unfortunate name of ScanBizCards and it just looks plain bad. The awkward name of the app gives a troublesome first impression, but it gets even worse when you open it. The moment I saw what the actual app looks like, I didn’t want to use it. If apps existed in the late ’90s they’d look something like this. This app somehow manages to make a brand new technology look a decade out of date! It’s ugly. This is the app I spent the least amount of time with since I couldn’t get past the basic design.
The next app is one that I actually used to use back when I first got my iPhone 4. CamCard is exactly what you’d expect it to be: three buttons that let you take a photo, select a photo, and activate the “card holder” function. I really like CamCard and it’s definitely one of the best of the bunch. The free version lets you store up to twenty cards and you can get another twenty spots by sharing to the app on Facebook or Twitter. Now that’s how you get your advertising done! The app also lets you sort your contacts and place them within a hierarchy of a particular company, which is incredibly handy.
Next up was World Card Mobile and it follows a nearly identical layout to the other apps listed above with a few additional features. In addition to the regular camera, there’s also a QR code scanner…which would be useful if it, uh, was useful. I can’t remember the last time I scanned a QR code. It also a few other features that help it stand out, like a “digital signature” feature for emails and the ability to attach photos to your business cards, which is certainly useful if you’re trying to put a name to a face. This was probably my third favorite of the bunch, coming in right under CamCard.
However, CardMunch is my favorite of these apps and the one I’m sticking with for the time being. The reason? It’s clear cut. You open it up and it immediately goes straight to what you need it for: your camera. Once you’ve taken a picture of a card, it will begin uploading it to your phone and it will take a little longer than some of the other apps I talked about here, but for good reason. While it’s uploading, it will locate the owner of the card on LinkedIn and let you send an immediate invite when it’s finished. The app is directly tied into the LinkedIn API, which is infinitely useful (this is made possible because CardMunch is made by LinkedIn, which is another huge plus). Once you have the card stored, you can back it up in the iCloud or you can send direct text messages or emails from the app. It’s simple, smooth and free of major bugs — this app has everything I’m looking for.