I do not use credit cards. I do not travel very often, and when I do, I usually just drive my own car. But, what if I wanted to use a car rental service? Could I do so using a debit (check) card?
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 subject to change.
Hertz: The Hertz FAQs state:
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:
Can I use my debit card to rent the car?
Some of our Enterprise locations will accept a debit card for the rental deposits and payments. Please contact the office you plan to rent from to determine their policies on renting with a debit card.
What forms of payment does Enterprise accept?
A major credit card in the renter’s name is required for a deposit on all rentals. When the rental is returned, traveler’s checks, debit card, or a major credit card can be accepted to pay for the rental.
Avis: The Avis Website states:
Debit Card Policies
Avis reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to seek a Debit Card authorization hold in excess of the estimated rental charges. When using a debit card at Avis there may be a minimum hold of $500 and a maximum hold of the estimated rental charges will be placed on your account.
Upon returning the vehicle, Avis will process a release of the unused portion of the hold subject to your Bank’s procedures. The hold may take up to 2 weeks to be released by your bank.
Budget: The Budget website states:
If you’re using a debit card at a location that accepts them, we’ll require a hold of total estimated charges plus 25% or $300, whichever is greater. However, for insurance/service replacement rentals and tour rentals, the minimum debit card authorization hold is $100. At select locations in the Northeast and North Central regions, the minimum authorization hold is $500. Renters under 25 years of age may not use a debit card.
At some locations, debit and pre-paid charge cards are not accepted at time of rental but are accepted for payment at time of car return.
National: The National website states:
When renting in the U.S., debit and check cards may only be used in conjunction with proof of a round trip travel ticket (airline, cruise ship or train) at 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?