How To Use Debit Cards For Car Rentals

One question we’ve been asked on our Facebook page is how to rent a car using a debit card. While I’m a believer that the best way to get the most from your spending is to use a miles or points earning credit card, there are people who choose to not have or cannot get one of those cards. This post is for them.

Rental car companies like the security of having your credit card in case they need to charge you for not returning the car, damage to the car or anything else they’d like to charge you for once you return the car. If you use a debit card, they’ll often put a large hold on your account that will prevent access to your funds until the hold is removed.

Looking through all these websites, there’s one thing that stands out among all of them. Car rental companies don’t want to rent to you if you’re using a debit card at the beginning of your rental. They’ll gladly accept a debit card as a payment when you’re finished but the security of a credit card, and the credit hold they can put on it, is what they really want access to. If you’re against using credit cards, here’s one example where having one will make your life much easier. It makes sense to have a card with no annual fee like the Chase Freedom Unlimited, Citi Double Cash or the Discover It, as they can be used to guarantee your rental and you can still use your debit card to pay when you return your car. If your credit is not good enough to get a credit card, you can still get a secured credit card (you deposit money that is equal to the credit limit of the card) from several banks listed in this article.

Another way to use a debit card is to rent from Hertz, Thrifty or Dollar. They’ll let you use one if you have your debit card on file with them in your frequent renter account before you make your reservation. You can find the links to sign up for the rental car programs here.

Below are the policies, as listed on their respective websites, for using a debit card with the major car rental companies. The policies are for rentals to U.S. residents renting from airport locations when arriving on a flight. Rentals made from local area locations may have different policies. All policies were current as copied from the rental car websites at the time of writing this article. Check the respective websites for current policies before renting.

Advantage Rent A Car

The deposit paid can very depending on the rental location, but in general the policy is as follows:

  • Non-Local renters are subject to a $200 deposit/authorization when paying with either a debit* or credit card
  • Local renters (defined as individuals residing within 65 miles of the location they are renting from) are subject to a $350 deposit/authorization when paying with either a debit* or credit card.

*All customers wishing to pay via debit card will be subject to an Equifax credit check.

Alamo Rent a Car

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 one of these logos is not accepted.

  • When renting in the US, Debit/Check cards are accepted for customers with proof they have deplaned or disembarked at the rental location. Customers must have proof of a ticketed return or outbound trip from the location where the vehicle will be returned on an airline, cruise ship or train. For customers not deplaning or disembarking at the rental location and/or do not have evidence of a return or outbound trip, Debit/Check cards are only accepted as a form of payment at the time of return. This applies to all airport, sea port, train and bus station locations in the US and Canada.

Avis Car Rental

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.

Budget Car Rental

Debit Card User Instructions
If you prefer to use a debit card rather than a credit card, be aware that some Budget locations will check your credit with a national credit verification bureau.  Other locations might not check your credit, but will require you to present a third form of identification:

For debit card customers renting at an airport location, one of the following is acceptable as a third form of identification in addition to a driver’s license and debit card:

  • a round-trip airline ticket, e-ticket, or travel itinerary to or from the airport of rental, disclosing a return date and showing the renter’s name
  • a valid U.S. passport or current U.S. military identification card
  • a current vehicle insurance card
  • a current copy (within the last 60 days) of the customer’s cellular phone bill, home telephone bill, bank statement or utility bill

For debit card customers renting at an off-airport location, one of the following is acceptable as a third form of identification in addition to a driver’s license and debit card:

  • a valid U.S. passport or current U.S. military identification card
  • a current vehicle insurance card
  • a current copy (within the last 60 days) of the customer’s cellular phone bill, home telephone bill, bank statement or utility bill

Rules at licensee-owned locations and locations outside of the U.S may vary.  It’s always best to check the terms and conditions on your online reservation confirmation or on the location information page to see which rules apply for your selected location.  Then, if you still have questions, please contact us.

Dollar Rent A Car

At many locations, debit cards issued under a VISA, MasterCard and Discover logo which draw funds directly from the cardholder’s account may be used at the outset of a rental to qualify for a rental where the following requirements are met;

  • at Dollar Airport locations, you will be required to provide proof of a return airline flight to coincide with the rental and present two (2) valid forms of identification
  • at Dollar Off Airport locations, if you are at least 25 years old, present two (2) valid forms of identification and one of the following: (a) a Corporate Discount Plan (CDP) number is provided or (b) proof of a return trip travel ticket to coincide with the rental (airline or cruise).  However, there are exceptions to this Dollar Off Airport location policy; Debit cards are not accepted at the outset of a rental to qualify for rentals in the New York Metropolitan Tri-State Area (NY, NJ, CT), areas of Hartford, CT, areas of Philadelphia, PA, areas of Boston, MA, areas of Manchester, NH, areas of Detroit, MI, areas of Baltimore, MD and areas of Atlanta, GA.

There are exceptions to this general policy:

  • Debit Cards are accepted for Dollar EXPRESS members when the card is already in the member’s profile or the rental is a Replacement rental.

Debit cards are accepted for payment at the end of your rental.

In most cases, the location will perform a credit check for debit card customers to determine credit worthiness at the time of rental.  The customer must meet the minimum criteria to rent using a debit card. In addition, the acceptance of such debit cards is contingent upon the debit cards having available funds to cover the estimated charges plus an authorization of up to USD 350.00 or 15% of the estimated rental charges, depending on the rental location and card used. These funds will not be available for your use.

When a debit card is accepted as form of payment, at the start of the rental, two (2) forms of identification must be presented:

1. A valid United States or Foreign Country issued Driver’s License

PLUS

2. One (1) of the following forms:

  • An alternative valid credit or debit card embossed with the same name as the driver’s license.  The card is for identification purposes only.
  • A Government issued ID, in the same name as the driver’s license and credit card:
    • Passport: United States or Foreign Country Issued
    • Military Identification Card: United States or Foreign Country Issued
  • Non-Government Form of IDexamples that may be accepted include, store membership card with photo (Costco, Sam’s, etc.), a company ID badge with photo.  Only acceptable if the photo and name matches the driver’s license and debit card. Current month Utility statement in the renter’s name and the same address on the driver’s license (e.g., gas, electric, cable bill).

Enterprise Rent-A-Car

  • Debit/Check cards are accepted for customers with proof they have deplaned or disembarked at the rental location. Customers must have proof of a ticketed return or outbound trip from the location where the vehicle will be returned on an airline, cruise ship or train. For customers not deplaning or disembarking at the rental location and/or do not have evidence of a return or outbound trip, Debit/Check cards are only accepted as a form of payment at the time of return.
  • 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 day.

E-Z Rent-A-Car

All renters are subject to a $200 deposit/authorization regardless of payment method. The deposit will be placed on the same card that is used to pay for the rental.

Fox Rent A Car

DEBIT CARDS

In order to use a Debit Card as a method of payment at time of rental, the following policies must be met:

1. We do not accept Debit Cards from Local Renters (who have an address within 150 miles of rental location).

2. The Debit Card must have a Visa, MasterCard, or Discover logo.

3. The Debit Card and Drivers License presented must be in the same name.

4. Customer must have a 24-hour (or greater) advanced reservation.

5. Renter must be a minimum of 21 years of age

6. Must present round-trip airline ticket at time of pick-up

7. In addition to the Drivers License and debit card, the renter must present one of the following forms of ID:

A) An additional credit card or debit card, embossed with the same name as the Drivers License. The card is for identification purposes, and will not be used to charge or authorize.

B) Government-issue ID, in the same name as the Drivers License and debit card.

C) Valid passport: United States- or Foreign Country-issued.

D) United States military identification card.

E) Non government form of ID. examples that may be accepted include: photo store member card (Costco, Sams Club, etc.), a photo employee card (as long as the photo and name match the Drivers License and debit card).

F) Current utility statement in the renters name and the same address as on the Drivers License, example gas, electric, cable, etc.

8. All documentation including debit card, license, airline ticket, and additional ID must be presented at the rental counter at time of pick up.

9. The address on the Renters valid Drivers License will be referenced to determine the Renters primary residence.

10. Must have available funds to be taken as a deposit at the time of rental in the amount of the estimated rental charges plus USD/400.00.

11. Rental is permitted for the following vehicle classes only: Economy Vehicle, Compact Vehicle and Compact SUV, Mid-Size Vehicle and Mid-Size SUV, Standard Vehicle and Standard SUV, Full-Size Vehicle, Minivan Vehicle.

12. Upon return of the vehicle, unused funds will be returned through the credit card processor. Due to the Customers Bank processing standards for Debit Card transactions, it can take up to 14 days for a credit to appear on his/her account. FOX will not be responsible for any returned checks or insufficient fund charges or bank fees related to this process.

13. Customers who use a Debit Card may NOT add Additional to the rental.

Note: Please see policy for PREPAID RESERVATIONS regarding Debit Cards and Pay Now Reservations.

Hertz Car Rental

At many Hertz locations, debit cards under a VISA, MasterCard and Discover logo which draw funds directly from the cardholder’s account may be used at the outset of a rental to qualify for the rental where the following requirements are met:

  • at Hertz Airport locations, you will be required to provide proof of a return airline flight to coincide with the rental and present two (2) valid forms of identification;
  • at Hertz Off Airport locations, you will need to be at least 25 years old, present two (2) valid forms of identification and one of the following: (a) provide a Corporate Discount Plan (CDP) number or (b) proof of a return trip travel ticket to coincide with the rental (airline or cruise).  However, there are exceptions to this general policy; Debit cards are not accepted at the outset of a rental to qualify for rentals in the New York Metropolitan Tri-State Area (NY, NJ, CT), areas of Hartford, CT, areas of Philadelphia, PA, areas of Boston, MA, areas of Manchester, NH, areas of Detroit, MI, areas of Baltimore, MD and Atlanta, GA.

However, there are exceptions to this general policy:

  • You can use a Debit Card if it is already included in your Hertz Gold Plus Rewards profile or the rental is an Insurance Replacement rental.
  • Debit cards are not accepted to qualify at time of rental for Dream Cars and Hertz Shelby GT-H.

Debit cards are accepted for payment at the end of your rental.

In most cases, the location will perform a credit check for debit card customers to determine credit worthiness at the time of rental.  The customer must meet the minimum criteria to rent using a debit card. In addition, the acceptance of such debit cards is contingent upon the debit cards having available funds to cover the estimated charges plus an authorization of up to US$ 200.00 given certain conditions that will be outlined at time of rental. These funds will not be available for your use.

When a debit card is accepted as form of payment, at the start of the rental, two (2) forms of identification must be presented:

1.   A valid United States or Foreign Country issued Driver’s License

PLUS

2.   One (1) of the following forms:

  • An additional credit card or debit card embossed with the same name as the driver’s license. The card is for identification purposes only;
  • A Government issued ID, in the same name as the driver’s license and debit card:
    • Passport – United States or Foreign Country Issued
    • United States Military Identification Card
  • Non-government form of ID, example that may be accepted includes photo store member card (Costco, Sam’s, etc.), a company ID badge with photo. Only acceptable if the photo and name matches the driver’s license and the debit card. Current month Utility statement in the renter’s name and the same address as on the driver’s license (e.g., gas, electric, cable bill).

National Car Rental

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, Debit/Check cards are accepted for customers with proof they have deplaned or disembarked at the rental location. Customers must have proof of a ticketed return or outbound trip from the location where the vehicle will be returned on an airline, cruise ship or train. For customers not deplaning or disembarking at the rental location and/or do not have evidence of a return or outbound trip, Debit/Checkcards are only accepted as a form of payment at the time of return.

Payless Car Rental

 At most airport locations proof of a return flight that coincides with the rental must be shown.

Debit Cards are accepted when renting an Economy, Compact, Intermediate, Standard, Full-size, Premium car, SUVs and Minivans only. The estimated amount of the rental plus an additional amount of $200.00 will be assessed against your debit card at the time of rental. We release the hold on funds when the vehicle is returned however, these funds may no longer be available for your immediate use and may take up to 14 days, depending on your bank, to become available.

We will not be responsible for any returned check(s) or insufficient fund charges or bank fees related to this process. Use of a debit card to rent a Vehicle may be subject to a review of your credit history. The inquiry will be posted on your credit report and may have an effect on your credit score. If the debit card fails to meet our debit card criteria, you may either be unable to rent a Vehicle. or required to present a major credit card in your name to qualify for rental at this location.

Silvercar

 At this time, Silvercar does NOT accept debit cards or other methods of payment besides credit cards.

Sixt

Debit cards may be accepted at select location’s on SIXT’s discretion if they have  two forms of government-issued identification, available funds, and one of the following criteria are met:

  • The renter presents the return airline ticket/roundtrip flight itinerary upon pick-up and is not a resident of the state of pickup.
  • Out-of-state renters may use a debit card, but may not rent any premium, luxury, or extraordinary vehicles.
  • In-state renters presents two recent, and original, utility bills that match the name and address on the driver’s license used. Photo copies, printouts, and digital images are not permitted, and these bills must be no more than three months old. Also, in-state renters may not rent with a debit card at an airport location and may only rent ECAR, CCAR, or ICAR categories.

Thrifty Car Rental

IMG_7832

Using Debit Cards to Qualify for a Rental

  • At many Thrifty locations, debit cards issued under a VISA or MasterCard logo which draw funds directly from a cardholder’s linked bank account may be used at the outset of a rental to qualify for the rental where the following requirements are met; at Thrifty Airport locations, you will be required to provide proof of a return airline flight to coincide with the rental and present two (2) valid forms of identification; and in Thrifty Off Airport locations, you will need to make your reservation at least one day in advance of your rental pick up date, be at least 25 years old, have a Corporate Discount Plan (CDP) number listed in the reservation and present two (2) valid forms of identification.
    • However, there are exceptions to this general policy:
      • Debit cards are not accepted at the outset of a rental to qualify for rentals in the New York Metropolitan Tri-State Area (NY, NJ, CT), areas of Hartford, CT, areas of Philadelphia, PA, areas of Boston, MA, areas of Manchester, NH, and areas of Detroit, MI.
      • Debit cards are accepted for Thrifty Blue Chip members using a debit card in their profile or it is an Insurance Replacement rental.
  • Debit cards are accepted for payment at the end of your rental.
  • In most cases, the location will perform a credit check for debit card customers to determine credit worthiness at the time of rental. The customer must meet the minimum criteria to rent using a debit card. In addition, the acceptance of such debit cards is contingent of meeting the requirements noted above and upon the debit card having available funds to cover the estimated charges plus an authorization of up to USD 350.00 or 15% of the estimated rental charges, depending on the rental location and card used. These funds will not be available for your use.
  • When a debit card is accepted as form of payment, at the start of the rental, two (2) forms of identification must be presented.
    • A valid United States or Foreign Country issued Driver’s License
    • Other form of identification in the renter’s name

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