The Wall Street Journal recently published an article on “The Slow Death of the Traditional Business Card”.  In the article, the WSJ highlighted some of the new alternatives and the problems that people were encountering with them.

The most interesting alternative described was an executive who had a chip inserted, between his left thumb and index finger, that carries his contact information. New acquaintances could use their phones to download the details.  Problems included that some phones need an app downloaded before his chip, which uses near-field communication technology, could be scanned. And some phones’ NFC readers aren’t strong enough to detect the chip unless placed directly on top of his hand.  He gained a lot of attention and felt that he was some kind of cyborg.  Our assessment of the viability of this option:  HARD PASS.


Another individual wore an NFC ring with a chip inside.  Its reliability?  “It always works until someone’s looking.”  It was necessary to move the ring around to try to find the sweet spot of a phone’s NFC scanner; sometimes it took a minute or more and sometimes it did not work at all.  No word on the elegance of the jewelry itself.  Our assessment:  NOT READY FOR PRIME TIME.

QR codes printed on reusable cards were also mentioned.  These were more reliable as long as there was sufficient contrast between the card and the printing, but some would-be recipients were reluctant or refused to scan the QR code if they were not familiar with the person.  Their concerns related to the security aspects of the situation – unscrupulous individuals have used QR codes to redirect phones to fraudulent websites.  There were also people who “just don’t vibe to it”.  Dead cell phone batteries, bad cell service, and weak wi-fi connections can also provide problems with a QR code only approach.  Our assessment:  SERIOUS LIMITATIONS AS A STAND-ALONE SOLUTION.

What to do?  A lot of people aren’t ready to abandon cardstock business cards just yet.  They’re quick and easy to hand out and can be used to jot notes about the encounter.  Add a QR code on the back for people who want to scan them.  We happen to know a great printing company that can help you create an impressive business card – and you don’t even have to be a cyborg.