Although they are often dated as far back as 15th century China, modern business cards are an adaptation to the 19th century French practice of visiting cards, wherein an individual would hand out a personal card during social engagements as a way to streamline introductions. These cards were often lavishly ornate and very popular among the 19th century upper class societies. It was around this time in America where businesses began using the same practice as a way to advertise a business’s location. Business cards were handed out to potential client prospects, and to customers as a subtle way to tell people that a bill was due.
Eventually the practice of visitor cards disappeared while business cards remained a mainstay in business. Today business cards are more commonly used than ever. Advances in printing technology and new QR Code technologies have further reinforced the business card as a necessity for any company.