Many of us have had hundreds or thousands of paper business cards during our lifetime. Most of them are inefficient because people usually don’t keep business cards and throw them away without saving your contact information to their mobile phone’s address book.
With the rise of using NFC technology on smartphones, it’s now super easy to save trees and get rid of the old-fashioned paper business cards by having a single PVC NFC-enabled business card by which you can pass your contact details with just a tap on the phone.
There are a few service providers like Profile Card, V1CE, Tappy, Blue Card, etc. where you can buy your NFC business card as well as their online profile service. That’s Ok, but you can also do it yourself, with a full customization option and control on the content you’re sharing.
According to Wikipedia, Near-Field-Communication (NFC) is a set of communication protocols for communication between two electronic devices over a distance of 4 cm or less. NFC offers a low-speed connection with simple setup that can be used to bootstrap more capable wireless connections.
This is the same technology that Apple and Google are using for their contactless payment solutions, but it’s not that complicated 😉
The surprising fact about NFC is that you don’t need to have an industrial writing device to write content to an NFC tag, there are dozens of mobile applications available for both iOS and Android that you can use to write contents to your tag, including a simple text, link, contact card, etc.
So, technically speaking, you just need to buy a writable NFC tag (or a PVC card, whatever) and write the content you want to use as your NFC business card. But let’s make it even better by
- Customizing the card design.
- Make it dynamic so if anything in your contact information has changed you can easily change that without requiring to buy a new NFC card and program it again.
- Make it compatible with older mobile devices that don’t support NFC technology.
Let’s get started!
Buying a customized NFC-enabled PVC card
If you search for “custom NFC PVC card” in a search engine you will find a lot of online shops that offer this at a reasonable price; I found this on Amazon UK where you can order a custom printed NFC PVC card for £6.50:
Professional Custom Printed NFC PVC ID Cards | Smart NFC Business Cards Tags | NXP Chip NTAG213 |…
Professional Custom Printed NFC PVC ID Cards | Smart NFC Business Cards Tags | NXP Chip NTAG213 | 144 Bytes Memory |…
Most of them let you upload custom designs for the front and back sides of your card. I simply wanted to put my full name and NFC logo on the front side and a static QR code on the back in case you want to pass your contact to someone who is using a non-NFC-powered mobile phone.
When I received my card, I just needed to use an NFC writer app like NXP NFC TagWriter (iOS, Android) to write the content on my card; at first, I tried to write a contact card (vCard) but it turned out that iOS devices don’t read vcards automatically so nothing happens when you tap the card on an iPhone (I’m not sure about Android devices) so I had to find a better solution 🙂
Making a dynamic profile
I noticed that if I write a URL to my NFC card it works pretty well and asks the mobile owner to open the link when we tap the NFC card on the back of the phone. So, I needed to create a website that includes a button to save the card (a .vcf file stored somewhere on the web with direct link access), so whenever I tap my card on someone’s phone and they tap on the notification appearing, they see that website and can tap on the button and save my contact information to their phones.
Of course, creating a website like that is easy but there are also dozens of free services that you can create a mobile-friendly profile and link your NFC card to them. My favorite is Linktree that offers a free plan too.
What I needed to do was exporting my own contact card in a .vcf file (you can do it on iPhone by going to the contact card, then Share Contact > Save to files) and upload it somewhere I can directly link to (I used Amazon S3 for this but you can put it wherever you like) and then put an action button on my Linktree profile to point to this address. Boom! It’s done.
Making our card non-NFC friendly too!
But what if you meet a new guy who has an older phone that doesn't support NFC? As long as their phone has a camera and an app that can scan QR codes (most phones do these days) we have a solution.
Do you remember I told you that most NFC card sellers allow you to customize the design of both sides of the card? What I did was creating a QR code containing my contact information (it can point to your Linktree profile too) and printing it on the back of my card; so if someone’s phone can’t read the NFC chip, they still can scan the QR code on your card and add your contact details to their address book.
Let’s save more trees!
By switching to an NFC card not only you’ve replaced a pile of paper cards in your wallet with a fancy thin PVC card, but also you’ve environmentally helped our globe by not wasting more papers hence saving more trees!