Business Card Reader in Review – Lightening your wallet one card at a time.


Most people, especially those in the business world, have at least a few business cards in their wallets and/or purses. Whether the contact  is for restaurants, or other professionals, business cards are still the standard way to pass on all your contact info to the masses. The only problem is that if you’re at all like me your wallet tends to get a little full and you start to run out of places to put them. Now, using the latest in text recognition software by ABBYY, SHAPE Services (developers of the wildly popular IM+) have come through with a great solution.

From a design standpoint this app is great. Decked out in leather, stitches, and clean edges, SHAPE leave it looking like your average business card holder. They even made the menu items look like business cards. With simplicity in mind the menu options remain minimal, but nothing important is left out.


To store a business card, you have to either take its picture, or select it from a picture library. The card holder option loads up all the card images you have captured, and the about menu is where to go for answers. In version 1 each link opened in Safari, but thankfully in the latest version, links open from an integrated browser.


Business Card Reader uses text recognition technology developed by ABBYY to take the image and extract as much of the info as possible to then be stored as a digital contact. Scanning business cards is an incredibly simple process. Select Take a Photo, then line up the card so that its edges don’t bump out of the frame. Then let the app do the rest.


Regulars @ TMA will know that in the not so distant past I reviewed JotNot and DocScanner, a pair of document scanners and was somewhat critical of their ability to adequately capture documents. Where they failed Business Card Reader succeeds. Firstly, business cards are smaller and require less resolution to shoot properly. Secondly, if you are lucky enough to own a 3GS, the camera does much better macro work.


Apart from resolution loss from shadowed areas, the biggest problem is with the medium, not the app. Business cards come in many different layouts, type fonts, and paper qualities – each of these items makes it difficult for scanning apps to pick out the details. For example, when closely spaced, an “i” and an “l” could be misinterpreted as a “u”, or two “l’s”, or even an “H”.


In the end I have to give SHAPE Services credit. In my opinion they have made the best text scanning app yet. Business Card Reader’s current issues are all related to the fact that business cards don’t come in standard setups. In my opinion, if you are the kind of person with a lot of more “typical” business cards then I am certain you can put this app to good use.

Please note that Business Card Reader will require a macro lens attachment for older (non 3GS) iPhones.


App Summary
Title: Business Card Reader Developer: SHAPE Services
Reviewed Ver: 1.1 Min OS Req: 3.1
Price: $5.99 (Special Introduction Price) App Size: 9.5 MB
  • Ability to integrate all your business cards into your address book
  • Excellently designed
  • Extremely fast
  • Doesn’t always accurately grab info from cards
  • Older iPhones will require a macro lens attachment for the app to work


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