I am not a fan of credit cards – so I thought I’d check around and see if I could use a debit (check) card to rent a car. Here’s what I found – updated November 22, 2016.
Here is a list of many major car rental agencies and their debit card policies. Please click on the link associated with each company to read more about their policy. This information is provided in summary form and you should conduct your own research before using any of the companies listed. Information is subject to change.
Hertz: The Hertz website states:
Q: Can I use my Debit Card or Bank Card to reserve a Hertz car?
A: At most Hertz locations, debit cards (sometimes called check cards) issued under a VISA or Mastercard logo which draw funds directly from the cardholder’s account may be used to qualify for rental. However, prepaid or stored value cards which have a VISA or Mastercard logo are not accepted to qualify for rental. Debit cards must have available funds for the estimated amount of the rental charges plus a reasonable amount to cover any incidental charges in order to secure the rental. Both debit cards and prepaid or stored value cards issued under a VISA or Mastercard logo may be used as a form of payment when you return the vehicle. Please contact your local Hertz Reservations Office if you have a question about whether Hertz will accept a certain card.
Enterprise: The Enterprise website states:
Some Enterprise Rent-A-Car locations may accept debit cards, pre-paid cards, or other forms of payment to secure the rental transaction. To reserve a vehicle without a major credit card, please contact the local office directly. Click here for location information
At the time of rental, a debit card must be presented with available credit, in the renter’s name. In addition to the anticipated cost of the rental, an additional security deposit may be required. To find out the cost of the security deposit, you will need to contact the location directly.
The signature on the back must match the name imprinted on the card and the signature on the rental agreement.
At the end of the rental, if you are entitled to a refund, the location will release the funds immediately. Due to bank processing times, this could be delayed a couple days, but we find that typically customers have their refund within 15 business days.
Avis: The Avis Website states
Most U.S. locations accept bank debit cards with the Visa or MasterCard logo as credit identification at the time of rental if you are at least 25 years of age. In most cases, U.S. locations will perform a credit check for debit card renters to determine credit worthiness at the time of rental. The renter must meet Avis’ minimum criteria in order to rent. Currently, at all U.S. and Canada locations, debit cards are not acceptable as credit identification at the time of rental for all makes and models identified in the Avis Signature Series and for certain other premium vehicles. Debit cards are also not acceptable as credit identification at the time of rental at locations in the Metropolitan NY Tri-State area, Hartford, CT, Philadelphia area, Mississippi or Louisiana locations as well as other locations across the country. Canada locations do not accept bank debit cards as a form of credit identification. Debit Cards are acceptable for payment at the completion of your rental.
Also be advised that some Avis locations do not accept debit cards as a form of payment. Upon paying your rental with a Debit Card, Avis will generally request an authorization hold against your account for the estimated charges of the rental but reserves the right in its sole discretion to request extra value based on certain factors as we deem appropriate. Some exceptions may apply. THESE FUNDS WILL NOT BE AVAILABLE FOR YOUR USE. When the rental is over we will process the reversal but the bank may take time to post it back to the account.
If you fail to return the vehicle as agreed, Avis will obtain additional authorizations from your account to cover the rental charges.
Avis is not responsible for any returned checks or over-drafts based on this policy.
This policy applies to both U.S. residents and foreign renters. Positive identification in addition to your driver’s license may be required.
In the United States, debit, cash or check cards can be used at the end of the rental for payment of rental charges. For acceptable credit identification and payment methods in countries outside of the U.S., please search for the specific location’s Terms and Conditions.
Budget: The Budget website states:
Which credit, charge and debit cards do you accept?
Answer: Our corporate-operated locations accept the following major credit cards: American Express, Budget Charge Card, Budget International, Discover, JCB/Japan Card, MasterCard, Optima, PHH and Visa. Please note that acceptance of these cards may vary at locations outside of the U.S. and at our licensee-owned locations.
At some locations, debit and pre-paid charge cards are not accepted at rental pick-up time, but are accepted for payment at time of car return. See What kinds of credentials will I need to present when I pick up my rental? for information on required rental pick-up holds.
From the National Website–
Debit/check cards are considered to be any non-credit card bearing the VISA, MasterCard or Discover Card logo. Any other non-credit card without the VISA, MasterCard or Discover Card logo is not accepted.
When renting in the US, a credit card in the name of the renter must be presented at the time of rental; otherwise, Debit/Check cards are accepted along with proof of a confirmed round trip travel ticket (airline, cruise ship or train). Without proof of roundtrip ticket, debit or check cards are only accepted as a form of payment at time of return.
Puerto Rico, a credit card in the name of the renter must be presented at the time of rental. Debit/check cards are only accepted for payment at time of return.
In Canada, US bank issued Debit/Check cards are accepted as a form of payment at return provided they DO NOT require a Personnel Identification Number (PIN).
Canadian bank issued Debit/Check cards that require the use of a PIN are NOT accepted as a form of payment.
Canada, a credit card in the name of the renter must be presented at the time of rental.
Almost every major rental car agency WILL allow you to reserve a car using a debit card. Most, however, will place a “hold” on your debit card in the amount of the full rental price plus, in some cases, a pretty healthy deposit percentage. Some rental agencies do not accept debit cards for reservation or have very strict policies. As for PAYMENT, however, almost ALL of the companies WILL accept a debit card as a method of payment when you RETURN the automobile. So, for now, perhaps the best way to rent a car is to either:
A) Reserve the car with a company that allows you to use a debit card. If yo do this, be sure that you have sufficient money in the bank to cover the entire rental fee and a rental ‘hold’ that the rental agency will no doubt place on your card.
B) RESERVE the car using your credit card and PAY for the car rental using cash or your debit card.
As I’ve stated before, I did not cut up my credit cards, and I carry one with me wherever I go. If pressed, for the safety and security of my family, I would use a credit card to reserve a rental car and pay cash whenever I returned the car.
Again, before you use one of the above mentioned rental agencies, please research their current policies. Also, while I was compiling this information, I did not take into account ANY insurance-related policies. Please do your own research before you rent a car. An informed consumer is a powerful consumer!
For updated information on this subject, please read – Can I Rent A Car Without A Credit Card?
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