Digital business cards—they sound self-explanatory, right?
Yet, there are nuances that need explanation. What form do digital business cards take? What types are available? Are they replacing paper cards altogether? Who are the best providers? Should I introduce them to my company?
At Doorway, we’ve spent countless hours researching and building our own digital business card. So there’s no better place to get your answers.
This guide has everything you need to know—from digital business cards’ pros and cons to the best providers and types for your unique networking goals.
What is a digital business card?
A digital business card is a sustainable and effective way to share your contact information when networking. It includes the same information that a physical business card would, such as your name, job title, company name, contact details, and website address.
However, its digital format makes it capable of doing more for your business than the traditional paper card.
Digital business cards allow contacts to:
- schedule meetings
- go directly to your website
- connect on socials
- be directed to custom landing pages
- have card engagement tracked
You may hear digital business cards called electronic business cards or virtual business cards depending on the card provider. They usually live in people’s phones or computers and can be shared either by QR code, NFC technology, or links.
They’ve become a popular business card alternative because of how sustainable, cost-effective, and easy they are to use in our tech-dominant world.
Never run out of paper business cards again—Why digital business cards are the future
Thanks to tools like Linkedin, Zoom, and Slack, we interact with our colleagues, clients, and prospects digitally as often as we do in person, if not more.
When we do meet in person, digital business cards are proving easier to use, more sustainable, and more aligned with business needs than paper cards.
That’s because each employee can use the same card time and time again. Why would a company pay tens of thousands of dollars ordering and replacing business cards when there’s a cost-effected, sustainable alternative?
The only notable downside to going digital is if your clients or target customers are averse to technology. And that’s highly unlikely when 86.29% of the world’s population reportedly owns a smartphone.
Let’s look at some of the other benefits of using digital business cards:
- Hold more information than traditional cards
- More sustainable thanks to its smaller carbon footprint
- Easy to update the information and the design
- Can direct people directly to booking links
- Can showcase specific content (blog, trial, special offer, etc)
- Cheaper than paper cards
- East to carry (it usually lives in your phone)
With all that, it’s no wonder paper business cards are becoming obsolete.
The different types of digital business cards
There’s more than one type of digital business card on the market.
The three most common are:
- digital wallet-based business cards
- app-based business cards
- physical cards that use NFC technology
But not all digital business cards are created equal. Factors such as security, accessibility, and design vary between types, making it essential to choose the right one for your needs.
Digital business cards for your Digital Wallet
If you own a smartphone you can have a digital business card live in your Apple Wallet or Google Pay.
The digital card will have a QR code on it that your networking contact can scan. Once they do, your contact information is transferred to their phone. It’s fast, it’s effective, and it’s the most reliable way to network.
That’s because no other digital business card type is able to work without internet service. Digital Wallet-based cards are also the most secure for transferring data between people because it uses hardcoded QR code technology.
Digital business cards for your Digital Wallet can be managed from your HR system through integrations such as OKTA and Azure.
Unlike traditional cards, you can update contact details online and have those changes immediately reflected on your and your employees’ cards.
- Easy to manage
- Easily updated and edited
- More flexible and adaptable
- Instantly shareable
- Some providers integrate into HR software
- Reliant on technology
- Some people may prefer physical cards
- Not suited to small teams or freelancers
Yes, that’s us and yes, we’re biased—but we wouldn’t have built this product if we didn’t think it was the best of its kind. The digital business card for your Digital Wallet is uniquely suited to the needs of large businesses that are moving toward a more sustainable, cost-effective, and secure way of doing business.
Don’t take our word for it though, read what our clients have to say:
Who are they best for?
The digital business card is suited to businesses of all sizes but especially B2B enterprises, real estate businesses, and sustainability-focused brands.
That’s because with Doorway you can customize your cards to your branding, manage brands from a central system, distribute cards effortlessly to employees, reduce expenses, and network securely.
Best use cases:
Digital Wallet digital business cards are great for situations where the internet is weak or nonexistent.
If you meet someone on a flight or are exchanging details with dozens of people at an overcrowded conference, you’ll be able to exchange information without searching for a signal.
Digital business cards in an app
One of the most popular types of digital business cards are those that you create in an app on your phone. There are several providers on the market including HiHello, Haystack, and Linq.
All you have to do is download the app to your phone, add your contact details, and then use the app to share the digital business card it creates.
Apps typically use QR codes because it’s a fast way to transfer information from one phone to another but many also have AirDrop capabilities built in.
The problem with using app-based digital business cards is that they can only be used with internet service and employees need to download the app to their phones.
Compare that to Digital Wallet based cards which are seamless to distribute to your workforce, don’t take up much space on their phone, and are customized to your brand—not the business card provider.
- Eco-friendly, sustainable option
- Cost-effective compared to physical cards
- Easily update cards and add new users
- Fast, effective networking
- Require an app that takes up phone storage
- Reliant on internet service
- Difficult to get employees to download to their phones
HiHello is a reliable and popular digital business card provider that has several features including the ability to scan other people’s business cards and show a map of your office or store’s location.
Who are they best for?
App-based cards are great for freelancers who want a free digital business card. HiHello’s single-user plan is completely free and offers solopreneurs an effective and efficient way to network with clients and customers.
Best use cases:
An app-based digital business card is great to have on you when networking on the go and when you have multiple professional identities. HiHello lets you create multiple cards that you can use for different networking purposes.
What is an NFC digital business card?
An NFC digital business card uses near-field communication (NFC) technology to share information.
It looks and works like a credit or debit card. When you wave your NFC digital business card near someone’s smartphone, the phone reads the data and prompts the receiver to take action. For digital business cards, this action is to click on the link and save the contact information.
NFC business cards aren’t truly digital and it’s more accurate to call them electronic business cards.
However, they fall into the digital business card category because you only need a single card and they have digital functionalities such as managing and updating the card online.
- Multiple card materials are available
- Can customize the card to your brand
- Can direct traffic to social media profiles, landing pages, booking links, and more
- Not as sustainable as true digital business cards
- Need to order new cards for new hires
- Reliant on internet service
V1CE is a solid NFC provider known for its strong, well-designed metal cards.
Who are they best for?
These cards are best for small businesses and individuals who want digital capabilities in one physical business card.
They’re not cheap but compared to the cost of ordering 1000s of paper cards, they can be a worthwhile investment for small teams.
Best use cases:
This digital business card fits nicely into your real-life wallet (as opposed to your digital one!) and can be used at conferences when you have a strong wifi signal.
Are there other ways to digitally share information?
Yes, there are several ways to digitally share contact information besides digital business cards.
You can add Linktr.ee’s to your social media profiles that direct traffic to relevant sites.
You can include your contact information in your email signature, such as your name, job title, company, phone number, and email address. This allows the recipient to easily save your contact information for future reference.
Or you can share your contact information via instant messaging platforms like WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger. This allows the recipient to save your information and message you directly.
However, all of these examples require the contact to already have your details in some way or to first manually enter information into their phone.
All in all, digital business cards are the most effective and seamless way to transfer your contact details.
Explore the 11 best digital business card providers
As a business leader, you know the importance of networking in building meaningful relationships with your clients, colleagues, and industry peers.
Don’t let outdated networking practices hold your business back. Embrace the power of digital business cards and build lasting connections today.
We’ve collated a list of the top 11 digital business card providers on the market, and outlined their pros, cons, best features, and costs so that your choice is easier than ever.
Or, if you’re set on Doorway’s digital business card, let us know and we’ll get you started right away.
FAQs about digital business cards
How does a digital business card work?
A digital business card works one of two ways—QR codes or NFC technology.
Both cases require your new contact to have a smartphone. With a QR code, you can read it with a smartphone camera. NFC technology lives in a chip in a physical card—usually a metal or bamboo material. Smartphones are able to read this technology when it’s in close proximity. This is the same technology contactless debit cards use.
Is there a difference between virtual business cards and digital business cards?
The terms “virtual business card” and “digital business card” are often used interchangeably, but they generally refer to the same thing: an electronic version of a traditional business card that can be easily shared and stored on your phone or other electronic devices.
How do I create digital business cards?
There are several apps and digital business card providers available that allow you to create and customize your own digital business card. Simply sign up with the provider, create your card, and share it with others.
→ Learn how to create QR code digital business cards for your digital wallet. ←
Are digital business cards secure?
Digital business cards can be secure if they are implemented with proper security measures.
For example, Doorway has data encryption and is SOC2 certified, ensuring the security and privacy of user data. But this isn’t the case for all digital business cards.
Soft-coded QR code business cards and NFC cards have security issues because their information lives on a link that anyone can access.
Are paper cards still used?
Yes, paper business cards are still used, but digital business cards offer a modern and eco-friendly alternative that can be more convenient in certain situations.
Some people may still prefer the physical aspect of paper cards, while others may prefer the flexibility and instant shareability of digital cards. The choice is yours!