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It’s time to move on from paper business cards. Discover 25 alternative business card options that can bring your networking into the modern era.

It’s time to bring your networking out of the 15th century and into the 21st.

And when we say the 15th century, we mean it. The practice of exchanging business cards dates all the way back to the 1400s.

The problem is that business cards as we know them, no longer match the needs of modern, ambitious businesses.

Companies today must be more sustainable, cost-effective, efficient, and bold if they’re going to outcompete others in their industry.

That’s not to say you should abandon business cards completely—they’re a reliable way to exchange contact information and establish brand authority.

What you need to do is find the perfect alternative. The good news is that there are plenty of options.

Whatever the right choice is for your networking needs, this list of 25 business card alternatives has you covered.

Our top 3 business card alternatives

If you’re anything like us, your first priority in finding a business card alternative is to make it more sustainable and efficient—something you won’t run out of and can quickly update as details change.

For that reason, our top 3 business card alternatives are all digital, at least in part.

They are:

  1. QR code business cards
  2. Digital business cards for your digital wallet
  3. NFC business cards

Let’s dive into the specifics.

1. QR code business cards

QR code business cards are business cards that use a QR code to host and share contact information. They can be digital or physical. If digital, they’re probably hosted in an app on your phone. If physical, they can be printed onto hundreds of paper cards or onto a single, sturdier card you keep.

The QR code directs users to a URL that holds the person’s information such as their name, phone number, location, email, website, and social media handles.

You can create your own QR code with an online generator or you can use a business provider that generates the QR code for you.

QR code generators:

  • Bitley’s QR Code Generator
  • Wix’s QR Code Generator

Business card providers with QR codes:

  • Haystack
  • HiHello
  • Doorway (ours is a little different though—find out more under alternative option #2)

One of the benefits of having a QR code card is that you can update the card’s information online. But not all QR codes are created equal. Most come with security issues that can put a business’s information at risk.

QR codes are a good business card alternative

Pros:

  • Customizable card design
  • Automated creation in bulk, from spreadsheets
  • Editable after publishing
  • Some can track engagement, using metrics like the number of scans, number of unique users, location, etc.

Cons:

  • Confusing, if your target audience is not tech-savvy
  • Doesn’t save your information immediately and details can get lost
  • Softcoded QR codes come with security issues

Cost per card:

The cost of a QR code business card is dependent on your provider. Generators are usually free but difficult to manage for multiple employees and then you need to account for printing costs.

Digital QR code providers vary. Let’s look at Haystack as an example:

Haystack costs about $4.95 per month for teams with each card charged on top of that at $27.50 per year.

Delivery time:

For the digital cards, you can have your card as soon as you design, customize and download it. For physical cards, delivery can take up to 2 weeks.

2. Digital business cards for your Digital Wallet (Doorway.io)

Think of all the convenience a QR code digital business card gives you—then add great security features and the ability to host it in your phone’s Digital Wallet for easy access.

That’s Doorway in a nutshell. Unlike with other digital cards, when someone scans your Doorway card, their phone instantly creates a ‘new contact’ in their phone and stores your information. It’s the fastest and most efficient transfer of contact details out there.

This card is ideal for B2B companies who want to protect their and their employees’ data while expanding their reach and winning more deals. 

The platform can integrate into your HR systems, making it effortless to add new cardholders or deactivate those that have left your organization. You can also upload CSV files for the bulk creation of cards.

You’ll never need to order or replace 1000s of expensive business cards again.

Doorway digital business cards, trusted by more than 200 brands

Pros:

  • No internet required
  • Connected to your Apple Pay or Google Pay
  • Customizable card design
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Fortified security (with SOC 2 compliance)
  • Shareable to unlimited contacts
  • Integrates into HR software for automated management

Cons:

  • Individual users may find it lacking in interactive functionality since it was primarily built for corporate use
  • You must carry your phone

Cost per card:

Doorway offers the first month free with all paid plans.

Plans fall into three tiers:

  • Core Tier: $300 per month (for 100 cards)
  • Business Tier: $750 per month (for 100-750 cards)
  • Enterprise Tier: Talk to the company for a quote (for 750+ cards)

Delivery time:

Delivery of your cards takes minutes. Employees receive a link via email that tells them to download their card to their Digital Wallet. From there you can manage and update cards automatically via the HR software integrations available.

Check us out here: https://www.doorway.io/.

3. NFC business cards (V1CE)

Want the capabilities of a digital card in a physical one, without the need to print 1000s for each employee?

Introducing V1CE NFC (near-field communication) business cards.

V1CE business cards look and feel like credit cards. They fit easily into your wallet or your back pocket and rather than hand them out, you place the card near someone’s phone. This triggers the phone to open up a URL that hosts your professional details.

Each employee needs a card and each card requires an internet connection to work. They’re not the most sustainable option but they can be a good option for businesses that want physical cards without wreaking havoc on the environment.

Pros:

  • Choice of card material: bamboo, metal, or plastic
  • Customizable card design, with available templates
  • Environmental friendly
  • Bulk creation for businesses
  • Tap and share functionality
  • One card for your entire organization that’s editable online

Cons:

  • Not a cost-effective or sustainable solution
  • Physical cards have the potential to get lost

Cost per card:

You can get one V1CE card for $50. While they are expensive, you can secure discounts by ordering in bulk.

Delivery time:

Once you’re done designing your V1CE card, it can take anywhere from 1-10 days to receive it.

Check them out here: https://v1ce.co/.

V1CE business card

What’s wrong with traditional business cards anyway?

The paper business card has served us well for centuries. But as we focus more and more on reducing our carbon footprint and look toward sustainable alternatives to paper, the business card is one of the easier swaps we can make.

They’re also not cost-effective. At a networking event or conference, you might hand out 100s of cards in a single day. Those all need to be replaced so that you can continue to network in the future.

The Paper Business Card

Pros:

  • Easy to share
  • Helps establish a personal connection
  • Expands brand awareness

Cons:

  • Bad for the environment (paper needs to be produced from trees)
  • Easy to lose and difficult to store
  • Have to replace all of them if a mistake is made or details change
  • Not reusable and difficult to recycle
  • Need professionals for a stand-out design
  • Expensive to order

Cost per card:

On average, a single business card costs $0.27. Imagine you’re a business of 400 people ordering 500 cards per person to start. That order costs up to $54,000.

Delivery times:

Depending on order size, it can take you 2 days to 4 weeks of time from order to in-hand delivery.

Top Creative Alternatives to Business Cards (Options 4-25)

While our first three business card alternatives focused on digital options, the other 22 will explore business card alternatives that help you stand out from the crowd.

These are great for brand awareness but are often less effective at sharing employee contact details.

4. Edible business cards

This business card alternative helps you make a bold statement, especially if you’re in the food industry or can use food to play on your company name.

With edible ink, you can print business information onto cookies, pasta, bacon, and more. We just hope that your new contact remembers to make note of your contact details before eating them.

Here are two examples:

Pasta Boy Peter made business cards out of their lasagna noodles, by laser-etching their brand name and contact information, to promote their Italian cooking classes, while the Manly Man Company did the same on card-sized pieces of beef jerky,

Pasta Boy Peter edible business card
Manly Man company edible business card

Pros:

  • A delicious way to make a lasting impression
  • Environmentally friendly

Cons:

  • Expensive (meat cards are priced at $23.99 per card)
  • The material falls apart quickly
  • Not great for individual use
  • Needs to be replaced regularly

5. Bottle opener business cards

Business cards that double as bottle openers are both memorable and useful. Unlike edible cards, they can be used time and time again. This prolongs your brand campaign and allows recipients to revisit your contact information at any point.

Companies like My Metal Business Card sell customized metal bottle opener cards with a sleek finish.

Bottle opener business card

Pros:

  • Ships worldwide and promises delivery in less than 5 days in the US
  • Eco-friendly and multi-purpose
  • Makes a memorable statement for your brand

Cons:

  • Expensive (they are sold in packs, and the lowest package starts at $480+ for 125 cards)

6. Balloon business cards

This alternative definitely isn’t for everyone and it loses points for its negative impact on the environment but party and decor brands could get creative with them.

This doesn’t work for companies that need multiple employees to share contact information because you would need to create balloons for everyone, but it can be a branding exercise that directs people to your store or website.

Balloon business card

Pros:

  • Easy way to grab the attention of multiple people at once
  • Multi-purpose

Cons:

  • The information printed is not visible when the balloon is deflated
  • Not eco-friendly

7. Keychain business cards

You could give each employee a branded keychain with a QR code printed on it or NFC technology inside. The other option is to turn it into a mass branding exercise and hand out keychains with general company information rather than employee details.

Companies like Popl make customized keychain digital business cards.

Keychain business card

Pros:

  • QR code inclusion can enable you to include a large amount of information than what would originally fit on a traditional business card
  • Environment-friendly and multi-purpose

Cons:

  • Expensive (1 keychain business card from Popl costs $20.71
  • Could be lost or broken

8. Stamp business cards

With a stamp business card, you can literally leave your mark. It might be limited in how much contact information you include but it can share your brand in a unique way.

The idea was developed by Mikey Burton in collaboration with Cranky Pressman.

You can create the design of your custom stamp and include your company name, logo, or even a scannable QR code.

Stamp business card

Pros:

  • Easy to carry anywhere
  • Reusable

Cons:

  • Takes time to deliver (8-10 days)
  • Expensive
  • Has the potential to get lost or run out of ink

9. Silicon wristband business cards

Think of the Livestrong bands everyone used to wear. These silicon bands make a great alternative and freebie at events and conferences. You could put them in a bag full of marketing materials and print company information on them.

You could customize the color to your company logo and send people directly to your website or a landing page.

Here’s a provider we found called Impressions ID.

Wristband business card

Pros:

  • Can be produced in bulk
  • Reusable

Cons:

  • Bad for the environment
  • Can get lost or thrown away
  • The ink could smudge and become illegible

10. Conductive ink business cards

Believe it or not, there’s an ink that can transmit electronic energy. When printed onto a card, it can share the contact information with a phone.


You can see an example below from Touchbase Technologies.

Conductive ink business card

Pros:

  • Tap and share functionality
  • One card for each employee
  • Can be inexpensive (donating $25 to their crowdfunding platform gets you a set of 36 cards)

Cons:

  • Bad for the environment

11. Lego business cards

That’s right, you can get your contact information printed onto a Lego figurine and distribute them to potential customers.

You’re limited on space so if you want to share a lot of information it would be best to print a QR code on them.

Lego business card

Pros:

  • Cool way to wow your target audience
  • You can make the lego figurine look like you

Cons:

  • Bad for the environment (since they are made out of plastic)
  • Not reusable
  • Expensive to get multiple figurines for multiple employees
  • Delivery is more than 2 weeks

12. Plantable business cards

Trees make paper, everyone knows this. But did you know paper could make trees?

Plantable business cards are a great business card alternative that helps you make Earth a greener place.

We have Botanical Paperworks to thank for this invention.

Plantable business cards

Pros:

  • Eco-friendly
  • Good brand building

Cons:

  • Takes time to deliver (3-7 business days)
  • Not reusable

13. USB business cards

A USB business card is a great way to share your contact information.

You could print a QR code on a custom, blank USB and hand them out to people as you network. We recommend using Vistaprint because their service is widely available.

USB business cards

Pros:

  • Has a double use
  • Can be branded

Cons:

  • Expensive (considering mass production)
  • USBs are becoming less popular

14. Coaster business cards

This is a great option for restaurants and drinks companies. You can place your business’s details on them with a custom and creative design that makes your brand memorable.

 Thirsty’s is a UK company that makes custom ‘beer mats’ for companies.

Coaster business cards

Pros:

  • Customizable card design
  • Multi-purpose

Cons:

  • Takes time to deliver (10 days)
  • You need to replace them regularly
  • Expensive at £80 for 50 coasters

15. Tools as business cards

Emphasize your company’s product or service by printing your contact details on a tool that is relevant to your industry.

If you make cheese you could hand out mini cheese graters to your customers with your business information on them. Or if you sell bikes you could have your business card double as a bike toolkit. We’ll leave the creative thinking to you.

Tool business card

Pros:

  • Durability creates a lasting brand impression
  • Can cleverly relate to your product and/or service

Cons:

  • Need to make many of them and replace them regularly
  • Expensive (since these are actual tools)
  • Takes time to deliver (anywhere between 10 days-3 weeks)

16. Cotton business cards

For those who prefer the tactile experience of physically handing out a business card, cotton business cards are a sustainable choice.

MOO creates premium quality business cards from cotton fabric.

Cotton business card

Pros:

  • Quality business cards reflect a quality brand
  • Cost-effective for the material (a pack of 50 cards will cost you $30)

Cons:

  • Not reusable
  • Still causes waste

17. Spice sachet business cards

If you’re in the food industry, you could print your logo and business details on spice packets. Just keep in mind, they’ll be thrown away once used.

Spice sachet business card

Pros:

  • Innovative marketing tactic
  • Can be related to your product

Cons:

  • One time use
  • Bad for the environment
  • Expensive (when you think about the volume you have to order)

18. Coin business cards

Coins are impractical business card alternatives but they’re certainly memorable.

You can even have them inscribed with a QR code that links back to a webpage with all your contact information on it.

Here’s where you can go if this is the business card alternative for you.

Coin business card

Pros:

  • Unique way to represent your brand
  • Can be customized

Cons:

  • Not reusable
  • Expensive, since they need to be produced in bulk

19. Sticker business cards

Using stickers for business cards is a fun and eye-catching way to promote your business or brand.

They can be easily customized with your branding and contact information and placed on items that you hand out at conferences and events.

Check out Stickers and That to find out more.

Sticker business card

Pros:

  • More likely to be kept and used by the recipient compared to traditional business cards
  • Can be used for guerrilla marketing tactics such as sticking them in public places to increase brand visibility

Cons:

  • Not cost-effective
  • Bad for the environment
  • Could be considered vandalism if placed on walls, lamp posts, etc.

20. Fortune cookie business cards

Fun and functional, the fortune cookie holds a small slip of paper that you can print business information on.

Fortune cookie business card

Pros:

  • Makes for a fun brand experience

Cons:

  • The paper with your business card information could get lost
  • Limited shelf life

21. Bookmark business cards

Using bookmarks as business cards is a creative and unique way to promote your brand every time your prospect or customer uses it.

You can make them on Zazzle and because they’re larger you can include all of your contact information and a QR code that takes people to custom landing pages. Use them at your next networking event as a way to stand out.

Bookmark business card

Pros:

  • Can be easily customized with your branding, messaging, and contact information
  • Provides value to potential customers by serving a functional purpose

Cons:

  • Not suitable for all types of businesses or industries
  • May not be cost-effective compared to traditional business cards

22. 3D business cards

With the use of 3D printing technology, businesses can create highly customized and intricate designs that potential customers will remember. Depending on the design you go for, it can give a sense of luxury to your potential customers.

3D business card

Pros:

  • Interesting visuals help you capture and keep attention
  • Effectively shares relevant contact information

Cons:

  • Takes time to create and deliver
  • Expensive (when you factor in bulk production)
  • Not reusable

23. Matchbox business cards

Branded matchboxes can be used as business cards if you print the right information on them. Whenever someone goes to light a match they’ll be reminded of you and your brand.

Check them out here.

Matchbox business card

Pros:

  • Interesting way to market your brand to potential customers
  • Multiple usage opportunities help familiarize prospects with your brand

Cons:

  • Bad for the environment
  • Disposable

24. Pocket square business cards

This one is for the luxury brands among us. If you’re a high-end menswear brand you could use pocket squares as a way to further your company’s name.

Here’s a UK brand making this a reality: Contrado 

Pocket square business card

Pros:

  • Reusable
  • Unique
  • Relevant for certain industries

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Can’t be used by all industries

25. Post-it notes business cards

You can make your business card functional by printing your information on post-it notes.

Here’s an example:

Post-it note business card

Pros:

  • Can create in bulk
  • Suitable for every industry
  • Multi-purpose

Cons:

  • Bad for the environment
  • Not reusable

What business card alternative is right for you?

With 25 business card alternatives to choose from you may be struggling to decide. Eliminate analysis paralysis by considering why you want a business card alternative in the first place.


Are you looking for a creative way to establish your brand? Then consider one of the alternatives that focus on getting your name out there such as coasters, edible business cards, or stickers.

Are you a large enterprise looking for a way to effectively and sustainably share employee details so that they can close more deals? Then you’ll want a digital business card like Doorway.

You’ll also want to consider how much budget you have to spend and how quickly you need them.

Landed on Doorway as your go-to business card alternative? You can get in touch here.

OMP Doorway quote
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