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 December 17, 2014.
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)
From the Hertz FAQs site:
Debit Card Policy-
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.
Q: What can I do if I do not have a credit or debit card in my name?
A: Cash Rentals are accepted with a Cash Deposit ID Card. Applications for a Cash Deposit ID Card are available from your local Hertz Office. Applicant must be 18 years or older and the application process takes approximately 30 days. There is a $15USD nonrefundable processing fee. A Hertz Cash deposit ID Card may be used at a Hertz Location.
From the Enterprise Website–
Debit Card Policy-
Debit Cards, Prepaid cards and other forms of payment: Although you may use a debit card, prepaid card, or other form of payment to pay for the final charges on the vehicle, if you reserve a vehicle through this website, you will need to provide a major credit card at the time of the rental to secure the rental transaction. A major credit card is a card that is supported by a pre-determined line of credit, and not a bank account, or a pre-paid balance.
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.
Please review the following exceptions:
When renting in the US: Debit Cards will be accepted with proof of a round trip travel ticket (airline,cruise ship or train) at time of rental.
In Canada, a credit card in the name of the renter must be presented at the time of pickup. Debit/Check cards are not accepted. At the time of return payment, money orders, traveler’s checks, or a major credit card are accepted. Canadian based Debit Cards are not accepted at either the time of rental or at the time of return.
From the Avis FAQs–
Debit Card / Cash Policies-
Debit Card Policies
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.
Note: Prepaid debit/gift cards are not acceptable methods of credit identification to pick up a car at any location. One of the above mentioned cards must be presented. Prepaid debit/gift cards are accepted at time of return only.
From the Budget Website–
Debit Card Policy-
Credit and Debit Card Rules
Generally, at the time of a U.S. rental, we’ll require a credit card hold of total estimated charges plus 25% or $200, whichever is greater. 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. Look at the terms and conditions on your reservation confirmations for the deposit required at your specific rental location. Some select locations do not accept debit cards at time of rental to release the vehicle, but do accept debit cards for payment at time of car return.
From the National Website–
Debit / Cash Policies –
Q: What methods of payment are accepted for deposits? How can I pay at the end of my rental?
The credit card must be presented with available credit, in the renter’s name. The signature must match the name imprinted on the card. In addition, if the renter has an online transaction, the number and name printed on the card presented by renter must match the name and number stored for the online transaction. To change credit card on file update your profile.
Credit Cards honored: American Express®, MasterCard®, VISA®, Discover® Network, and JCB
Canada: The following credit cards are accepted for rentals in Canada: American Express®, MasterCard®, VISA®, and Discover® Network
Puerto Rico:The following credit cards are accepted for rentals in Puerto Rico: American Express, MasterCard, VISA, Diners Club and Discover Network.
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, a credit card in the name of the renter must be presented at the time of rental.
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.
Not all locations accept cash. Cash rentals may be accommodated for economy through full-size vehicles.
Please review the following key points regarding cash rentals:
Renter must meet locations rental requirements including but not limited to:
Verifiable proof of employment
Verifiable home/cell phone and/or utilities in renter’s name
Verifiable return transportation
Deposit in the amount of the calculated rental charges plus an additional amount (up to $500) may be required.
Renters may use cash as form of final payment upon return of the vehicle.
For rentals in Canada, only customers on a pre-paid tour or renting on corporate accounts that have negotiated the option to use cash are allowed to use cash to qualify for a rental.
Is considered a gift certificate bearing the Visa, MasterCard or American Express logo. National only accepts gift cards for final payment upon return of the rental vehicle. Gift cards are not acceptable as a form of deposit. Gift Cards are not accepted in Latin America or the Caribbean.
National will accept money orders as a form of payment. They are handled in the same manner as a cash rental.
Virtual Credit Cards:
National does not accept online-only, virtual credit cards or any other type of “single-use” card number security product or one-time use credit card number that may be provided by credit card companies for online use.
National shall not assume responsibility or liability in connection with the use of on-line only, virtual credit cards or any other type of “single-use” card number security product or one-time use credit card number that may be provided by credit card companies for online transactions. National shall have no obligation to honor transactions made with such cards.
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.