Are Business Cards Dead?

are business cards dead

You are going to a networking event. You have business cards printed, but dare you take them with you? The last thing you want is your new business bestie recoiling in horror, “WTF is that?” when you hand over your details.

It’s actually a really compelling question: Are physical business cards dead? We’re all confident and competent with technology at this point, and given that our phones already have plenty of alternatives for sharing contact information, it can be argued that the traditional paper card may not hold any of its former glory.

Hmmmm 🤔.

I can see both sides of the equation. Plenty of business owners still swap cards at meetings, conferences, and networking events, so the practice isn’t extinct just yet. In that way, the tactile and visual elements of a business card can create a memorable impression, one that digital means might not fully replicate.

Just because people still hand out cards doesn’t mean there isn’t a digital shift. Online contacts have their benefits;

  • A germ-free way to exchange information, a significant consideration post COVID.
  • Easy updates, so you don’t have to throw out all your old cards when you give yourself a promotion.
  • Better storage so you know your details aren’t thrown in the bin or used as a toothpick.

The debate continues as industry professionals weigh in. Some experts affirm the staying power of business cards, especially in their ability to quickly exchange information without the barrier of technology – if you are just about to step off the train in an underground station for example. Some cultural sectors, particularly in Asia, still attach a great deal of significance to the exchange of physical cards, while others are embracing digital alternatives and foresee a future where business cards evolve into interactive holograms. 

It appears that business cards may not be dead exactly, but they are certainly in a state of evolution, one that reflects the broader changes in how people connect and maintain professional relationships.

The Evolution of Business Cards

Remember when a fat stack of glossy cards felt like holding a royal flush at a high-stakes poker game? Yes, traditional paper business cards still have their charm. They’re like vinyl records but less hipster and more corporate. They provide that satisfying snap between your fingers and can be customised with everything from gold foil to the tears of your competitors. 

But let’s face it, they might also be sitting in a drawer somewhere collecting more dust than your high school trophies.

From Paper to Pixels

Enter the digital business card—because who wants to carry anything physical unless it’s a smartphone or a latte? 

Digital business card shift strives to maintain the same level of professionalism while adapting to the convenience of the digital world. Your business details, including logos and photos, can be shared between new contacts via email, LinkedIn, and other social media platforms, no matter the distance. 

I’ve recently been researching and learning a lot about platforms like HiHello, who are turning heads by letting you share your professional details with a tap or a scan, no paper cuts involved​​. With features like QR codes, AI-powered scanning, and integration with your digital wardrobe (okay, maybe not yet), these digital dynamos are making networking as easy as updating your Facebook status.

Not all heroes wear capes, and not all business cards fit in a wallet. Some of the quirkier alternatives include:

  • Edible Business Cards: Perfect for making a lasting impression and great for meetings that run through lunch.
  • Seed Cards: Hand someone a card that grows into a plant, and you’re literally networking and saving the planet at the same time.
  • Digital Tools like Although not as mainstream, emerging tools like offer unique twists on digital networking, aiming to keep you connected with just a few clicks. The jury’s still out on their viral potential, but they’re worth a watch!

Support for keeping paper business cards alive

Paper business cards are a universally recognised professional courtesy in business interactions across the globe and across different industries. They don’t depend on technology, which means you won’t run into issues like dead batteries, poor internet connectivity, or compatibility problems between different devices.

Here are a few reasons to keep printing (on eco paper though):

  • They’re professional: A business card exchange is a tangible extension of a professional’s image during networking events. The swift, no-nonsense exchange of contact details can help you leave a lasting physical reminder of your initial meeting.
  • It makes a solid first impression: Even if a conversation only lasts a few moments, the act of exchanging a business card can cement a solid first impression. 
  • Design and Craftsmanship: Physical cards allow diverse and creative designs, including embossing, foil stamping, and unique paper textures that can make a strong visual impact and convey the brand’s identity effectively.
  • It’s tradition: Just like a formal handshake, a physical card can maintain the tradition of personal engagement.

Support for using digital business cards

One thing to keep in mind when making your choice is that not all networking, meetings, workshops and conferences happen in person. It’s pretty pointless to hold a stack of paper cards when you are talking with people online. That’s why the digital business card in various forms—from simple digital replicas to more complex integrations with digital presence— fits so well in our evolving landscape of professional interaction.

  • Convenience: Digital cards can be shared quickly, perfect for the fast-paced nature of networking.
  • More environmentally friendly: Transitioning to digital cards significantly reduces waste. You can update them instantly without throwing anything away.
  • Cost-effective: Digital cards are pretty much free. You can also upload a gold leaf design which is far cheaper than applying actual gold.
  • Integration: Contact details are seamlessly added to digital address books, simplifying follow-up activities.

Maximising Business Card Potential

Getting the most out of your business card matters, regardless of whether you go traditional or digital. Perfecting your business card speaks volumes about who you are and what your business is. 

Design and Personalisation

Excellent business card design reflects the identity of you and your organisation.  You need to create a calling card that shows your core business values and your business personality.

Personalisation can be achieved through:

  • Custom graphics
  • Colour scheme
  • Typography
  • Layout 

While using paper cards isn’t as eco-friendly as digital, choosing environmentally sustainable materials for cards will be welcomed by the eco-conscious.

Integration and Technology

Even if you offer paper cards, not everyone else will. How easily you engage with different contact types shows your learning flexibility, openness and readiness to move forward. 

With Tapt, you can tap your card onto a smartphone and share your contact details instantly while HiHello provides a versatile platform where users can create and share their digital business cards through channels such as QR codes, email, and social media.

The HiHello platform includes features like virtual backgrounds and email signatures. It also incorporates features like AI-powered scanning to digitise traditional business cards and a suite of tools for managing and organising contacts more efficiently​ 

Your digital card should be easy to distribute and receive, show all essential contact information and maintain simplicity.

Technology add-ons include:

  • QR Codes: Provide immediate access to online profiles or websites, offering real-time updates and a convenient way to access information.
  • Contact Management Systems: AI-powered data extraction tools can scan and add business card information directly into contact management systems, streamlining the process of maintaining up-to-date databases.

What Business Card Works for You?

Even as the trend shifts towards digital solutions for networking and contact sharing, many business owners continue to use paper cards, particularly for their tactile impact and the ability to convey a professional or creative aesthetic directly in hand that stands out in networking situations.

Whether you’re honouring the past with your glossy cardstock or surfing the digital wave, the world of business cards is more diverse than ever. So, choose your weapons wisely, networkers!

Are Business Cards Dead? – FAQs

Are business cards dying?

Despite the digital age, business cards are far from dead. While technology has changed how we network, a well-designed business card remains a valuable tool for making connections in the real world.

Is it still important to have a business card?

Absolutely. A business card is a tangible representation of your brand and professionalism. It provides a personal touch in an increasingly digital world and serves as a physical reminder of your encounter.

Do people throw away business cards?

Some people may discard business cards, especially if they don’t see immediate value in keeping them. However, the likelihood of retention increases when the card is memorable or offers something unique. Make sure your card stands out to increase the chances of it being kept.

When should you give out business cards?

You should give out business cards whenever you have a meaningful interaction with someone in a professional context. This could be during networking events, conferences, meetings, or even casual encounters where you discuss your work or business.

Does posting business cards work?

Posting business cards in public places can sometimes yield results, especially in places frequented by your target audience. However, it’s often more effective to exchange cards directly during face-to-face interactions where you can make a personal connection.