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Business Card Reader Apps

Since starting my own practice my concerns have changed as an attorney. I no longer worry about reaching some billable hour goal, but instead worry about networking and marketing my firm. As a result, I spend more and more time attending networking events to meet colleagues and potential clients. And after spending a week at the South By South West Music Conference or even a whole day at San Francisco Music Tech Conference, I return home with a tall stack of business cards. As you can imagine, I’ve quickly discovered the value of a good card reader app for my Droid and iPad.

CardMunch

CardMunch absolutely sets the bar by which all business card readers should be judged. It’s easy to use, accurate, attractive and free of any major bugs. Plus, because CardMunch was acquired by LinkedIn, it integrates seamlessly with LinkedIn.

All you have to do is use the app to take a picture of a new business card. It sends the business card to CardMunch where it is manually transcribed ensuring high accuracy. The photo of the card appears in your CardMunch contacts section along with the transcribed information from the card, ¬†and information from the contact’s LinkedIn account including connections, summary, specialties and experience. The business cards can then be added to your iPhone’s contacts list and the app allows you to easily connect with the contact on LinkedIn.
I sat down with a stack of business cards I’d collected at recent networking events and added them to CardMunch. Adding cards to CardMunch was very easy and very quick. Because the cards are manually transcribed it took a little while before I received the results, but I’d received most of them within an hour of submitting them. Honestly, I can’t say enough good things about my experience with the app. Best of all, it is completely free.

My only complaint is that it isn’t available for Droid at this time. As a result, I tested it on my iPad.

CamCard

CamCard is an attractive and easy to use alternative to CardMunch that is available on both the iPhone and iPad. Unlike CardMunch, CamCard relies on optical character recognition to pull information from your card. It’s quite impressive in many ways. You simply take a picture of the business card you want to add to your contacts and relying on OCR, the app reads and transcribes it to the app in seconds.

It’s honestly a more attractive app than its competitor and arguably slightly easier to navigate. Because your card isn’t being sent off to be transcribed, it’s also quicker than CardMunch. However, in my trial run with the app there were errors of varying degrees on each card I tested. On at least two occasions it listed the company name as the name of the contact and listed the contact’s name under the heading company. On several occasions it misspelled the name of the company. On one occasion it actually included too many numbers in the contact’s phone number. Nonetheless, it does make editing fairly easy. The free version of the app (a.k.a. CamCard lite) is limited in a number of respects including a 10 card a day limit. The full version is $6.99.

To be quite honest, I preferred CardMunch to CamCard. However, if you are using a Droid then CamCard is your best bet. With that said, I have a Droid X and an iPad, and I’ll probably continue to use CardMunch on my iPad.

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