Browse Definitions :
Definition

vCard

What is a vCard?

A vCard is an electronic business or personal card and also the name of an industry specification for the kind of communication exchange that is done on business or personal cards. You may have seen a vCard attached to an email note someone has sent you.

example of a vCard
Figure 1. Example of a vCard

Information contained on vCards typically includes personal data about the individual -- e.g., contact information, phone number, email -- plus other relevant data, such as Social Security number or health data, if the sender desires it. Figure 1 depicts a typical vCard.

Why are vCards important?

Because a vCard is a published industry specification, software application developers can create programs that process vCards by letting recipients view them, or users can drag and drop them to an address book or some other application. vCards can include images and audio clips, as well as text.

Background of vCards

A vCard, which is saved in the Variant Call Format file format, was developed by a consortium founded by Apple, AT&T, IBM and Siemens, which turned the specification over to an industry group, the Internet Mail Consortium (IMC), in 1996. The vCard specification makes use of the "person" object defined by the International Telegraph and Telephone Consultative Committee (now the Telecommunication Standardization Sector) X.500 Series Recommendation for Directory Services and can be considered an extension of it. A vCard format contains a name, address information, date and time, and optionally photographs, company logos, sound clips and geopositioning information.

The vCard format is described in detail in Request for Comments 6350. It was developed by the Internet Engineering Task Force, approved by the Internet Engineering Steering Group and released in August 2011.

How are vCards used?

To open a vCard that someone has attached to an email, your email program needs to support vCards, although not all such programs do. However, if you have an online address book that supports vCards, you can move the vCard file to that program for viewing or for addition to that program's database. If you can't open a vCard you've received, remember that its information may be repeated elsewhere in the email. It's basically just a business card.

QR Code vCard image
Figure 2. QR code vCard image

A familiar variant of vCards is the quick response (QR) code format, composed of a square image with a pattern of black squares on a white background. Each pattern is different, and when scanned by a smartphone, the QR code displays vCard information, as well as many different types of data, such as access codes for secure systems. Figure 2 depicts a QR code vCard image.

Learn about digital identity and the smart wallet, and explore the benefits of QR code enrollment.

This was last updated in February 2023

Continue Reading About vCard

Networking
  • SD-WAN security

    SD-WAN security refers to the practices, protocols and technologies protecting data and resources transmitted across ...

  • net neutrality

    Net neutrality is the concept of an open, equal internet for everyone, regardless of content consumed or the device, application ...

  • network scanning

    Network scanning is a procedure for identifying active devices on a network by employing a feature or features in the network ...

Security
  • cloud penetration testing

    Cloud penetration testing is a tactic an organization uses to assess its cloud security effectiveness by attempting to evade its ...

  • cloud workload protection platform (CWPP)

    A cloud workload protection platform (CWPP) is a security tool designed to protect workloads that run on premises, in the cloud ...

  • out-of-band authentication

    Out-of-band authentication is a type of two-factor authentication (2FA) that requires a secondary verification method through a ...

CIO
  • strategic management

    Strategic management is the ongoing planning, monitoring, analysis and assessment of all necessities an organization needs to ...

  • IT budget

    IT budget is the amount of money spent on an organization's information technology systems and services. It includes compensation...

  • project scope

    Project scope is the part of project planning that involves determining and documenting a list of specific project goals, ...

HRSoftware
  • director of employee engagement

    Director of employee engagement is one of the job titles for a human resources (HR) manager who is responsible for an ...

  • digital HR

    Digital HR is the digital transformation of HR services and processes through the use of social, mobile, analytics and cloud (...

  • employee onboarding and offboarding

    Employee onboarding involves all the steps needed to get a new employee successfully deployed and productive, while offboarding ...

Customer Experience
  • chatbot

    A chatbot is a software or computer program that simulates human conversation or "chatter" through text or voice interactions.

  • martech (marketing technology)

    Martech (marketing technology) refers to the integration of software tools, platforms, and applications designed to streamline ...

  • transactional marketing

    Transactional marketing is a business strategy that focuses on single, point-of-sale transactions.

Close