Finally keep track of your business cards with the excellent WorldCard Mobile

WorldCard Mobile is an iOS and Android app designed to make managing the piles of business cards professionals pick up at industry events a little easier. It allows users to “scan” business cards using their device’s camera then automatically store this contact information either internally or sync with a variety of other services — including the device’s internal address book.

This review is based on the iOS version, tested on an iPhone 4S. The app reportedly works fine on all iOS devices from the 3GS onwards and will also work on older devices in conjunction with additional accessories to improve the camera’s output.

The core of WorldCard Mobile is the “Card Holder” — the part of the app in which users may import contact information via several means — taking a photo of a business card, using an existing photo of a card, scanning a QR code or copy-pasting an email signature. The app’s main draw is its ability to scan and automatically recognize details from business cards, and this facility seems to work very well.

Although WorldCard Mobile’s interface is initially a little bewildering as it is largely icon-based, there is also a help file built in to the app, to assist users as they are getting their bearings.

Upon opening the camera interface, the user is prompted to position the business card inside some on-screen markings and ensure it is of the same orientation as a symbol in the middle of the screen. Once the photograph has been taken, the app takes a moment to process it, cutting out irrelevant detail in most cases and reducing the number of colors in the image for clarity. Once this process is complete, the user is then prompted to review the information that has been automatically retrieved from the card and adjust it as necessary. Additional information may also be added if the user knows it or if it was not successfully recognized by the card-reading system.

The text recognition system works in a number of different languages including English, French, German, Italian, Spanish (Spanish and Mexican variants), Portuguese (Portuguese and Brazilian variants), Dutch, Polish, Hungarian, Czech, Slovak, Russian, Turkish and Greek. There is no support for Japanese, Korean or Chinese characters in the English language version of the app at this time — though there are separate versions of the app available for other markets with non-English character sets.

Ensuring the language is set correctly means that the text recognition system generally does a highly accurate job, though when tested with English business cards from people with non-English names, it struggled to recognize names. It also has difficulty extracting company names from complex logos, and does not deal well with business cards where the text blends somewhat into the background — the most error-prone card tested featured white text on a grey background, and while some of the information was successfully retrieved, the majority had to be corrected. This is more an issue with business card design with the app itself though — to be fair, WorldCard Mobile did a surprisingly good job under difficult circumstances.

Once information has been reviewed and corrected, it can simply be saved within the app, effectively allowing the user to keep their professional contacts separate from their personal ones if they so desire. Alternatively, information may be exported to the iPhone contact list automatically or synced with a number of different services including GMail contacts, email, iMessage/SMS, iTunes, CSV files or Dropbox. It may also be exported into the proprietary WCXF (WorldCard Exchange File) format for compatibility with other WorldCard products.

WorldCard Mobile appears to be an excellent product all round. It is simple and quick to use and highly reliable. The text recognition is highly accurate and any issues may easily be corrected by the user. It is sure to become a valuable tool to those who attend a lot of trade events and come into possession of hundreds of business cards. $6.99 is a small price to pay for what could potentially be hours of saved time.

WorldCard Mobile’s iOS incarnation is currently ranked at No. 11 in Top Paid Business Apps and No. 8 in Top Grossing Business Apps. On Android, the app is ranked at No. 31 in the Business category. Follow its progress with AppData, our tracking service for mobile and social apps and developers.