Can I Rent A Car Without A Credit Card?

Can I rent a car without a credit card?  What if I need to rent an automobile but I want to use a debit card or cash?  I did a bit of research and have linked to various car rental services and their policies.  Information updated November 22, 2016.

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 at anytime.  (Emphasis added)

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.

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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.

Summary:

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!

Summary:

Almost every major rental car agency WILL rent a car without a credit card.  Most, however, will place a “hold” on your debit card for the full rental price, plus, in most cases, an added deposit.

When it comes to payment, most will accept a debit card as payment when you return the automobile.  Available options appear to be:

A) Reserve the car with a company that allows you to use a debit card.  If you do this, be sure that you bank account has a sufficient amount to cover the deposit, the hold, and any other charges that you might incur.

B) RESERVE the car using your credit card and PAY for the car rental using cash or your debit card.

While I do not use a credit card to make purchases, I do carry one in my wallet.  If necessary, for the security of my family, I would use the credit card to reserve a car and then pay cash for the rental when I returned the car.

Before renting an automobile, understand a company’s policies.  Do your own research and call ahead if you have questions.  While I was compiling this information, I did not take into account ANY insurance-related policies.

Please consider subscribing to No Credit Needed via email or rss – and follow me on twitter.com/NCN and facebook.com/NoCreditNeeded to keep up with my progress.  I’d love to hear from you via social media or here in the comments.  Have a blessed day!

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12 thoughts on “Can I Rent A Car Without A Credit Card?
  1. Rini

    This seems to be missing a key point. The above applies only if you are using your debit card /as a debit transaction/. Most debit cards (with a Visa or Mastercard logo, no less) can be used as a credit transaction. You do not enter a PIN, you do sign for your purchase, and as far as the merchant is concerned, you just used a credit card! As far as your personal finances go, the money is withdrawn from your account just as you would expect with a debit card.

    For most people, there is no reason to differentiate at all between “credit cards” and “debit cards”. As long as you can and do run your debit card as a credit transaction, the rental agency will not even be able to tell the difference.

     
  2. Jorie

    I was a local driver using a debit card. Most rental car agencies want a copy of the airline ticket if you’re going to use a debit card and I didn’t have one. I actually had to cancel my reservation with a different agency because they wouldn’t accept my card without a ticket. I did a search through Hotwire with my search selection being debit card and local driver. I made my reservation and panicked when I saw Hertz was the agency. I had heard nothing but negativity about using a debit card with them. i called their corporate office to confirm that I would indeed be able to rent through them with no airline ticket. They were very friendly and said it wouldn’t be a problem. I got to the pick-up location and was in and out withing 3 minutes. There were no hassles or problems. Hertz was very friendly, informed me of how much of a deposit would be held on my card until the return, handed me the paperwork and I was on my way. It was by far the best rental car experience I’ve ever had!

     
  3. Mac James Motors - Edmonton

    A good tip to keep in mind is to try and book the rental car in advance of your arrival. You will usually save a lot of money this way over just walking up to the counter upon arrival to your destination. For example, if you are traveling to Mexico from the U.S. or Canada, book the car rental prior to your departure… or at worst go online and make the reservation via head office: the last thing you want to do is book at the counter – you will pay big time that way. Hope this helps 🙂

     
  4. trish

    The companies that do not accept Visa/Mastercard debit card as security deposit like “National Car Rental” are very stupid. You can only do so if you’re out of town and have a round trip ticket…ARE YOU SERIOUS??? What’s the difference, so you can’t do it for your locals but you can do it for out of towners?? What a joke… No wonder the company is about to shut down, it’s bc your competitors are smart and know that not everyone choses to carry a credit card and most consumers have bank cards (that you can use as cc or debit) however you guys consider it as debits and will not use. Do yourself a favor and be smart; Change your company strategy and get with the program!’
    Irate consumer who will never go to National rental car

     
  5. marie

    My husband and myself went to rent a car at all the major places went to use our debit cards from our bank that had visa mastercard logos on them and we were told they dont take them . And we had a car on hold for us and they never told us this until we went to pick it up. Needless to say they tod us it had to be a major credit card so we were out of luck . The only place that would let us rent one would have cost us an arm and a leg needless to say we spent six hours in a waiting room to get my car in tip top shape and drive it to were we were going and it coast us less then it would if we rented that car

     
  6. Lynda

    I paid for car hire with Hertz 4 months before my trip with my visa debit card. The money was taken from my account immediately. When I went to collect the hire car I was told that I needed a valid credit card! As I do not possess a credit card I was not allowed to hire the car. Hertz cancelled the agreement and it .took a week before the money was refunded. They took £30 as a cancellation fee.

     
  7. gnd

    Keep in mind that some rental companies check your credit score if you pay with a debit card. I know Avis does and they may check it several times and each time you rent which can result in a ding in your credit from so many inquiries. I am not sure how they get your credit score without your ss# but they knew my credit score. I now rent with Enterprise as this is not their practice.

     
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