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All You Need to Know About Business Card Reader


In 2008, we launched the first Business Card Reader, which ran on the then-popular Symbian operating system. Even so, not much has changed – paper business cards are still widely used to exchange contact information. To make your work with business cards and contacts easier, learn more about ABBYY Business Card Reader (BCR) and what it can do.

Do I really need this app now?

Business Card Reader is a tool for scanning business cards and managing contacts. It’s available for iOS only. Business Card Reader saves you the hassle of carrying around dozens of little bits of paper and typing in contacts by hand, by recognizing contact data and saving contacts to Cardholder or your smartphone’s Contacts app. Captured business cards can be grouped by tags, so if you attend a conference (when that's possible again), you can make a tag for all the contacts you gained at the event. Unlike their paper counterparts, digital business cards don’t get lost, crumpled or damaged: even if you break or lose your device, the sync feature will let you restore all your contacts.

Imagine finding yourself out of business cards when talking to someone, just scan their card, and you will instantly be able to send them a short thank-you message with a digital version of your card using BCR iOS. What’s more, BCR iOS allows sharing contacts via QR-codes – contactless and safely.

business card reader app

business card reader app

If you’re new to BCR and don’t know where to start, see this manual for iOS. It will help you with the first setup for business card recognition.

Why does Business Card Reader have fewer languages than your other apps?

Unlike FineScanner which produce regular text for the most part, BCR has to match captured data to a variety of different fields in contact forms. It contains libraries that allow it to determine that New York is a city, Jacob is a name, and manager is a position; and does this for every supported language. While our other apps such as FineScanner support 193 languages, BCR is only available with this custom library support for 26 languages at this time.

Is adding just a couple of new languages really a problem?

Creating a language library for BCR takes hundreds of hours. Before embarking on such a task, we need to see that there is enough demand for the language to be sure that we can recoup the development costs. We generally initiate the development of a new library after we receive several thousand requests for a specific language. We are constantly monitoring requests for languages that we get through technical support and other channels.

Ok, that makes sense, let’s move on to Optical Character Recognition (OCR). What do I do if someone gives me a double-sided business card?

You can scan the flip side of the card, and all printed text will be recognized and saved as a comment to the business card, along with the date and time it was scanned.

I can’t recognize a business card! What am I doing wrong?

There are several possible causes. For starters, make sure you have the right recognition language selected. If the card is in English, but your recognition language is set to Italian, BCR will not be able to make much sense of the text on the card. If the right language is selected, make sure you have proper lighting when scanning the card and try placing the card on a different background – contrasting background colors lead to better results. For more photo tips for successful recognition, go to this page.

Does BCR have any features that will help me keep my contacts safe?

You can export your entire cardholder to a CSV format and open in Microsoft Excel on your computer. Just go to BCR Settings and choose Export to CSV option. You can also save individual business cards by sending them to someone in an email or an SMS.

BCR also supports exporting contacts to Salesforce CRM. To enable it, go to Settings and tap Salesforce. Login to your Salesforce account. Now you can share any contact to Salesforce.

By the way, recently we made a couple of important updates in Business Card Reader and FineScanner. Check it out here.

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