Battle of the Business Cards: Paper vs. Digital vs. NFC

Explore the pros and cons of Paper, NFC, and digital business cards to find the best business card for you or your business.

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More business card options are available than ever, and picking the right one for you or your business can be challenging. With so many options available, you need all the facts to make an informed decision. 

Each type of business card comes with its benefits and drawbacks, and in this article, we cover those pros and cons to help you decide which option is right for you. 

What are the three main types of business cards?

Business cards were created centuries ago, yet they haven’t seen much change since the 21st century. Now there are more choices than ever before. Today, the traditional paper business card still exists, but two new types of business cards have entered the market. NFC business cards, which use near-field communication to create a tap-to-share business card, and digital business cards, which offer a 100% digital contact exchange. 

The pros and cons of paper business cards

Paper cards have long been the standard, but with new options available, they may no longer be the best choice. Consider these pros and cons before ordering a stack of paper business cards: 

Pros: 

  • Simple to hand out 
  • Offers a tangible keepsake 

Cons:

  • Not environmentally friendly
  • Limited to in-person sharing only
  • Often thrown away 
  • Easily forgotten
  • Doesn’t integrate into their workflow
  • Expensive
  • Quickly become outdated 
  • Require long lead times

paper business card comparison

Comparing the pros and cons of paper business cards indicates that in the modern age, paper business cards may be dying—if they aren’t already dead. While there aren’t many reasons to use paper business cards over their alternatives, some people who prefer having a more tangible card that can be quickly handed out and held onto may like to order a stack of paper cards. 

However, most people shouldn’t click PRINT on their paper business card design. They are harmful to the environment (check out our graphic below to see their impact), can only be shared in person, are thrown away 88% of the time, never seem to be in your pocket when you need them, are expensive, can quickly become outdated, are prone to typos, have long lead times, and so much more. 

the environmental impact of business cards

The pros and cons of NFC business cards

NFC business cards are a fun, trendy, tech-forward business card option. They work by using Near-field Communication to electronically transmit information between two devices. Before making an NFC purchase, consider these pros and cons: 

Pros:

  • Reusable 
  • Convenient tap-and-go

Cons:  

  • Limited to in-person sharing
  • Heightened security risk
  • Unreliable functionality 

NFC business card comparison

If you’re looking for a card with a “cool” factor, NFC may be a great choice. For people who like having a physical card, do all of their networking in person, and have a large business card budget, NFC cards could be the right choice.

If you’re looking for a card that will work 100% of the time, is free from security risks, doesn’t harm the environment, and has no lead times, NFC likely isn’t the best choice. 

Still unsure if NFC cards are the right choice for you? See this full breakdown of the pros and cons of NFC business cards

The pros and cons of digital business cards

Digital business cards are a 100% digital alternative to traditional paper cards. Like paper and NFC cards, they too come with pros and cons. See what they are before picking the right card for you: 

Pros:

  • More affordable
  • Easily shared—from anywhere
  • Always on hand
  • Highly customizable
  • Create & edit in real time
  • Environmentally friendly 

Cons:

  • Slight learning curve
  • Mobile device required for sharing and receiving 

digital business card comparison

Overall, the pros of digital business cards outweigh the cons. While there can be a slight learning curve, they come with a lower price tag (even free with some platforms), are more environmentally friendly, can be shared from anywhere, are ready to share instantly, and much more. 

( If you want to learn more about digital business cards and if they’re the right choice for you, check out this guide to digital business cards.)

Paper vs. NFC vs. Digital

You’ve seen the pros and cons of each type of business card. Now take a look at how they stack up against each other. 

a comparison chart of the different types of business cards


It’s clear that digital business cards consistently come out on top. Learn more about the benefits of using digital a digital business card.

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