Car rental companies usually prefer that you use a credit card to book your rental. That’s because credit cards are easy to accept, and they can offer rental companies protection if there are additional charges due on your end at any point in time.
But if you don’t have a credit card, you aren’t completely out of luck. If you don’t mind putting in a little bit of extra work, car rental without a credit card can be your reality. Keep reading to learn all about how to get a car rental without a credit card.
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Do you need a credit card to rent a car?
Major car rental companies offer customers a few options when it comes to booking and paying for rental cars.
Car rental with a debit card
Most well-known car rental companies let you book and pay for a rental car using a debit card. This is good news if you don’t have a credit card.
However, car rental companies run the risk of losing money if you don’t have adequate funds available on your debit card, so they often require you to jump through certain obstacles to book a car rental with a debit card.
Here are some requirements car rental companies might impose if you pay with a debit card:
- Additional documentation: Most car rental companies require additional identification and proof of travel plans when you book using a debit card. For example, when you pay with a debit card at airport locations through Hertz or Dollar, you are required to show two forms of valid identification, as well as proof that your return flight coincides with the time you are planning to rent the vehicle.
- Authorized hold: When you use a debit card to book a rental, the car rental company may place an additional hold on your funds. Dollar places an additional $500 hold when you secure a reservation with a debit card. The hold on your funds keeps you from spending your money on something else.
- Limited selection: While most car rental companies let you rent a car using your debit card, the type of car you can book is limited. For instance, you can’t rent a premium vehicle through Avis or Thrifty with a debit card. At Dollar, you can only reserve compact to full-size vehicles when using a debit card.
- Credit checks: Some car rental companies will check your credit if you want to book a rental using a debit card. For example, if you want to rent a car with a debit card through Thrifty, you must pass a credit check. So, if you have a negative credit score, the lowest FICO score or a bad credit report, your car rental will likely be declined. And even if you are approved, Thrifty won’t let you rent a premium car or a convertible with a debit card.
Car rental with prepaid card
Most car rental companies accept prepaid cards as payment at the end of the rental. However, they won’t accept prepaid cards to book a car rental.
Car rental companies that do not require a credit card
Car rental companies prefer credit cards because they give them added protection in the event of a loss. Although most rental companies require a security deposit, it might not be enough to cover the cost of repairs if there is damage.
Many times, unpaid parking tickets and tolls can take weeks or months to get to the rental agency. Without a credit card on file, a car rental company risks losing money as the result of damages and extra costs if they can’t recover them from you.
Customers may be able to reserve a vehicle without a credit card at the following major car rental companies:
Can I use cash for a rental car?
Most car rental companies let you pay cash when you return the car, but you will need to use a credit or debit card to secure the rental. Not every rental car location accepts cash, even at the end of your rental. It’s a good idea to make sure the location you rent from will take cash when you return the car.
What to know about renting a car without a credit card
You can rent a car without a credit card, but you may face a few hurdles along the way.
You’ll need a balance on your debit card
Many car rental companies require a higher security deposit when you secure your reservation with a debit card. They often need to verify that you have enough money in your account for a security deposit.
When you pick up your car, the rental company might place an additional hold for the amount you owe at the end. These funds won’t be available to you until the company releases the hold. So, if you are tight on cash, a hold on your funds may keep you from meeting other financial obligations.
You’ll need to bring all required documents
Most car rental companies will ask for even more documentation when you book a rental with your debit card. If you cannot provide these documents, you may not be able to rent a car without a credit card.
Most airline locations require two valid forms of identification, as well as proof of your return travel ticket that coincides with the time you are renting the vehicle. Most companies require the name and address on your driver’s license to match your current home address as well. If it doesn’t, a credit card may be necessary to rent a car.
You’ll need to meet age requirements
Age requirements vary based on the car rental company. You must be at least 25 years old to rent a car using a debit card at Avis and Budget. With a valid debit card and a driver’s license that has been in good standing for at least one year, you can rent a car through Dollar if you are at least 20 years old. Some Enterprise locations will allow renters between the ages of 21 and 24 to rent a car with a valid debit card as well as a valid driver’s license.
You may undergo a credit check
Some rental car companies require a credit check to secure a reservation with a debit card. So, if you have the lowest credit score possible or negative items on your credit report, you may be turned away from renting a car using a debit card.
You’ll want to double-check if the car is manual or automatic
Most car rental companies in the U.S. only offer vehicle rentals for cars with automatic transmissions. Even so, it’s a good idea to make sure the car you are renting isn’t manual, especially if you don’t know how to drive one.
Rent a Car Without a Credit Card
While it might be a more time-consuming process than usual, you can rent a car without a credit card. However, most car companies will require you to take additional steps if you don’t use a credit card to book your rental.
If you can provide the documents that the car rental company asks for, you don’t have a negative credit report and you don’t mind a few vehicle restrictions, car rental without a credit card is possible.
Can I rent a car without a credit card?
You can rent a car without a credit card. Just be prepared to supply more documentation and undergo a credit check if you rent a car without a credit card.
Should you use a debit card to rent a car?
You’ll run into far fewer restrictions when you rent a car using a credit card. If you can meet these additional requirements, you can still rent a car using your debit card.
Can you use a prepaid card to book a rental car?
Car rental companies won’t book a rental car using a prepaid card. However, most companies accept prepaid card payments at the end of your rental.