In the industry of business card scanning, most platforms either opt for OCR (computerized transcription), human transcription, or a combination of both. At FullContact, transcription is done by humans. Statistically, the accuracy is much higher when humans transcribe business cards opposed to OCR. If you're curious, our elastic workforce does not know which account the business cards are coming from nor which account they are being sent to - they simply transcribe the card and our API does the work of getting that business card to your FullContact account.
How do I submit a business card for transcription?
In FullContact for Web, click on the blue [+] icon to upload a business card photo.
Keep in mind that the photo must be JPEG/JPG, PNG, TIFF, GIF, or base64.
In FullContact for iOS, you have two options:
1. In your My Contacts, select the [+] icon in the top right-hand corner of FullContact search bar, then select Capture Business Card. This will let you take a photo of a business card to send off for transcription.
2. If you are in the Business Cards address books, clicking the camera icon (upper right-hand corner) will open your device camera to capture a card.
Here's a helpful business card scanning video!
You can now send transcribed business cards, as contacts, to a variety of CRMs, email marketing platforms, and other apps that Zapier supports. If you're unfamiliar with Zapier's platform, you can read more about the integrations they offer here.
To get started, skim through this link, which offers helpful instructions for getting started. You'll learn how to create a Zapier account, turn your 'zap' on, and then add your Zapier account to FullContact (links with the entire account).
After you've set up your Zapier account, open FullContact for iOS, capture a card and the linked zaps will show up under Send Card To. Make sure you have enabled the zaps you want to activate.
In FullContact for Android, click the tag icon (upper-right corner) -> select the smart tag Business Cards. This is where you can see all your past scanned business cards and the status for each of them.
To add a new business card, click the red [+] icon in the bottom right-hand corner, then select capture business card.
Take a photo of your card or upload one from your Google Photos library.
Add any tags or notes to your card, decide if you want to send it to any of your Zapier integrations, then save the card. We’ll send it off for transcription.
How can I share my business card contacts?
Yes. You can either export from the Web app or the Mac app; or, you can share business cards in FullContact for iOS and FullContact for Android. Here's a helpful export / share link with instructions.
How can I add my business cards to my phone’s contacts?
While there isn't a direct export from the Business Cards address book in FullContact for iOS or FullContact for Android to send your business cards directly to your phone's contacts, you can use your Google Contacts, iCloud, or Exchange address book.
In essence, so long as you have connected your Google Contacts, iCloud, or Exchange address book to your FullContact account, every business card photo you take will be added to your Google Contacts, iCloud, or Exchange address books. In turn, so long as one of these sources is syncing with your phone's native Contacts app, you're all set.
If you don't have (and/or want to connect) your Google Contacts, iCloud, or Exchange address book, simply send yourself a file with your business cards. You can either export your business cards from your Web app or your Mac app, send the file as an email attachment to yourself, and open the attachment on your phone.
How long does it take for one business card to be transcribed?
The transcription process typically takes around 20 minutes, although it can occasionally take a little longer due to the volume of cards being processed. The reason this is not instantaneous is that our apps rely upon human transcription rather than optical character recognition (OCR). However human transcription is, statistically, much more accurate than OCR.
Keep in mind that you can continuously transcribe business cards without waiting for the previous card to finish; they'll queue up and complete one after the other.
Who is transcribing my business cards?
We utilize a service called Mechanical Turk for our elastic workforce. This is a service that Amazon provides; 66%+ of our workers are from India, 33% are from the U.S., and less than 1% of all workers make up the rest of the countries around the world. This is a secure service provided by Amazon and our HITs (human intelligence tasks) are under an NDA. It is very similar to the model used by LinkedIn's former CardMunch.
Why are there sometimes errors in my business card transcriptions?
While are sometimes errors in transcription, this is rare, since our approach is to have multiple people transcribe the cards; then, we determine the proper result for each field where multiple people type the same value.
That being said, quality control can be difficult and more of a challenge with international cards. We take an approach where we have multiple people transcribe the cards, and then we determine the proper result for each field due to multiple people typing the same value. While we do tell people to type exactly what is on the card, the quality of transcription (mostly on addresses) goes down outside of the United States.
Additionally, please ensure that the picture you took was in focus and properly centered. If it's out of focus or dark, please try to take another picture of the card. Also, please ensure that the business card is designed in a way so that all relevant information is legible and understandable; handwritten notes and text will most likely not be correctly transcribed.
Additionally, business cards can sometimes contain contact data that is ambiguous. For example, if the phone numbers on a card don't contain the type, fax, mobile, work phone numbers might not be correctly assigned. Also, if the card includes two or more job titles, addresses, or even two different organizations, the transcribers will only transcribe one of them. In such cases, the transcriber has to interpret the card as best they can, which may result in data that does not match your interpretation.
Can I still use the Card Reader app to upload business cards?
No. We sunsetted the Card Reader app on February 15th, 2017. You can read more about the removal of this app here.