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For many, that meant abandoning the paper business card for its digital alternative.

But is this a bandwagon worth jumping on for your business? How exactly do the costs and rewards of digital business cards compare to the tried and true paper card?

We have the answers you’re looking for.

In this article, we consider the costs associated with both traditional and digital business cards including:

  • Economic costs
  • Environmental costs
  • Time costs
  • Convenience costs
  • And security costs

Armed with this information, you’ll be better equipped to make an informed decision on whether going digital is the right move for you.

Economic Cost of Cards

When considering a switch to digital business cards, the economic cost is often the first thing that crosses a person’s mind.

In the sections below, we’ll break down the costs of traditional and digital business cards to help you understand how each option could impact your bottom line and which one makes the most financial sense.

Traditional Business Cards: Upfront Costs Add Up

The financial cost of a paper business card goes beyond just the price of printing. There are also design and shipping costs you need to consider.

Plus, any new cards you need to order, or outdated cards you need to replace will rack up additional expenses.

Let’s look at printing costs specifically.

The average cost of a card is anywhere from $0.10 to $0.20. But you never order just one card. You order hundreds, if not thousands per employee.


If you supply each employee 1000 cards and you have 250 employees. That’s $25,000-$50,000 toward an initial batch of business cards—cards that, once used, need replaced.

If your team is networking regularly at conferences and events, those 1000 cards go quickly.

And as employees leave and join the business, get promotions, change their last names, or update other contact details, you’ll need to order new business cards.

So the economic cost of paper business cards is nothing to scoff at.

Digital Business Cards: A Cost Effective Alternative

Moving to the digital realm, business card costs look a lot different.

With digital cards, you’ll typically pay a one-time fee or subscribe to a monthly plan. Doorway’s digital business card solution starts at £20 a month for 20 cards and up to $250 per month for a premium package with 150+ cards provided.

Doorway Pricing

You only need one digital business card per employee because they’ll use the same one again and again for every new contact made.

That means you could be spending anywhere from $240 to $3,000 annually while covering the networking needs of everyone in your organization.

Compare that to the investment in paper business cards and you’re saving up to $47,000 for an organization of 250 people.

And the best part? You’ll never have to worry about reordering or dealing with outdated cards again.

Cost to Your Time When Updating Details and Errors

Time is a valuable resource, and when it comes to updating contact information, digital cards offer a clear advantage.

In this section, we’ll examine the challenges and benefits of managing updates and errors for both traditional and digital business cards.

Traditional Business Cards: Error Management

Updating contact information on a printed business card isn’t just time-consuming; it’s practically archaic.

New job titles, updated contact details, and name changes are frequent occurrences in the corporate world.

With paper based business cards, making these changes means going through the hassle and expense of ordering new cards, waiting for them to arrive, and disposing of the outdated ones.

The time and money spent on these steps adds up, especially for large organizations with frequent employee turnover or ample career progression opportunities.

And if a mistake is made when printing cards, you need to order an entirely new batch. Using ones with typos or the wrong information looks unprofessional and could cause ineffective networking—both of which leave a bad first impression.

Digital Business Cards: Easy and Efficient Management

Digital business cards streamline the whole process of managing, updating, and ordering new cards.

Need to change your contact details? It’s as simple as logging into your account and making the update. Businesses can either update cards with CSV upload or directly from their HR platform when they integrate it to their Doorway account. If there’s only a few cards that need changes, you can change them individually through the Doorway portal.

HR Integrations

This real-time editing feature ensures you’re always presenting the most accurate and relevant information when networking while saving time and money.

You can even tailor your digital business card to specific situations.

For instance, you could create a website landing page for a conference or event and link it to your employees’ digital business cards, providing customized networking opportunities.

This adaptability enhances your company’s professional image and enables you to engage with your target audience more effectively.

Environmental Costs

The environmental impact of paper business cards cannot be ignored.

Here, we’ll explore the ecological consequences of paper cards and how digital alternatives provide a greener solution.

Traditional Business Cards: Paper Consumption and Waste

Traditional business cards take a toll on our environment.

With millions of cards printed each year, the paper consumption and waste generated by this industry are staggering.

The pulp and paper sector was responsible for about 190 Mt of CO2 emissions in 2021. And more than 7 million trees are cut down every year to create business cards, as reported by The Edge Markets.

Business cards aren’t responsible for all of that on their own but they do contribute to it.

Digital Business Cards: A Greener Alternative

By going digital, you’re doing your part to reduce paper waste.

If businesses were to embrace digital cards, we could prevent the release of a significant amount of greenhouse gasses annually.

Some digital business card providers even take it a step further.

Doorway partners with tree-nation to plant trees with each corporate subscription they have, helping bring customers closer to sustainability and decarbonisation goals.

We plant trees on behalf of our customers as per our partnership with Tree-Nation

Convenience and Accessibility

In our fast-paced world, convenience is key.

In this section, we’ll discuss the physical limitations of printed business cards and how digital cards make networking a breeze.

Traditional Business Cards: Physical Limitations

One of the most significant challenges of paper business cards is the physical storage and organization they require.

Physical business cards can easily accumulate over time, cluttering your desk, wallet, or office space, and organizing them can be a tedious task.

Plus they’re easy to lose, misplace, or forget. Imagine the inconvenience of not having your card on hand when you need to make a crucial connection either because you’ve left your cards behind or ran out of them.

Digital Business Cards: Easy Access and Sharing

A digital business card solves many of the problems discussed above.

For one, digital cards are easily accessed in seconds from your phone and never run out because it’s stored and transmitted electronically.

Instead of relying on physical exchange, you can share your digital card effortlessly through email, social media, QR codes. or airdropping.

The only downsides you might experience are if your phone dies or if the person you’re exchanging details with doesn’t have a smart phone with them.

Both scenarios will leave you unable to share your digital card, this is a relatively minor issue compared to the advantages. With a few taps on your device, you can send your digital business card to anyone, anytime, anywhere.

Security Risks: Digital Business Cards vs. Traditional Business Cards

In this section, we’ll delve into the security concerns surrounding traditional and digital business cards and provide tips for mitigating potential threats.

Traditional Business Cards: Security Concerns

The security risks associated with paper business cards are relatively minimal since they only contain public-facing information.

The primary concern is losing or misplacing cards, which could give unauthorized individuals access to your contact details.

Digital Business Cards: Security Challenges

With digital cards, the risks shift. Storing and sharing contact information digitally comes with potential threats like data breaches, identity theft, and phishing attacks.

Digital business cards can be secure if implemented with proper security measures. For instance, Doorway uses hard-coded QR codes, employs data encryption and is SOC2 certified, ensuring the security and privacy of user data. However, not all digital business cards offer the same level of protection.

SOC2 Compliant

Soft-coded QR code business cards and NFC cards have security issues because their information lives on a link accessible to anyone.

It’s important to be aware of these risks and take appropriate steps to protect your information.

Balancing Security and Convenience

It’s clear that both traditional and digital business cards come with their own set of security challenges.

As you weigh the pros and cons of each type of card, consider not only the potential security risks but also the benefits and convenience each option offers.

Weighing the Pros and Cons — Making Your Choice

So, what’s the verdict? Are digital business cards worth it in 2023? To recap, let’s revisit the key points of our discussion in table format.

 Traditional Business CardsDigital Business Cards
Cost Savings❌ Higher costs✅ Lower costs
Time Management❌ Longer process, wasted time✅ Quick updates and sharing
Environmental Impact❌ Paper waste, deforestation✅ Greener, reduced waste
Convenience❌ Risk of loss, disorganization✅ Easy access and organization
Accessibility❌ Limited by physical form✅ Multiple sharing options
Security✅ Minimal risks❗️Varies with security measures

From the table above, you can see how a digital business card outcompetes its paper alternative.

But let’s not write off traditional business cards just yet. In some situations, or depending on personal preferences, the tactile nature of a physical card can still hold value. It’s important to acknowledge that the choice between digital and traditional cards is ultimately a matter of individual needs and priorities.

As you weigh the pros and cons, consider your own needs and preferences to decide which type of business card best suits your networking goals.