In this age of technology, people tend to use credit and debit cards more often than cash. But there are some people who, for reasons, still prefer to use cash.
Of course, in the post-COVID-19 world, I don’t know how much people will want to touch coins and bills than have been touched by so many other people. That’s why we’ve questioned if cash is going extinct. But for those who still want to use cash, there’s always been a question if you can rent a car with cash. It turns out the answer is, “Maybe. Sometimes. It depends.”
It’s not always easy to pay for a rental car with cash, but it can be done. Just be aware that different companies have different hoops to jump through, and it may take some advanced planning.
Credit/Debit For Deposit & Cash For Balance
The easiest way is to reserve the car with a credit or debit card but then pay the final bill with cash. Most car rental agencies don’t have a problem with that, but you may want to let them know of your plan ahead of time, since it’s generally not done anymore and they might want to be prepared.
Cash For The Whole Thing
But let’s say you don’t have a credit or debit card; some people can’t or prefer not to have one.
It’s harder to pay for the entire rental, including the deposit, with cash. Car rental companies, understandably, want to make sure that you’re not a credit risk and they can’t do that if they have no credit card on file.
With that, of the larger national companies, Alamo, Avis, Budget, EZ, Fox, National and Sixt won’t take cash as a deposit. Ever. You have to use a credit card for the deposit, so that way if something happens and they have to charge you for some incidental (say, you smoked in the car), they can charge you.
But not all car rental companies are as difficult. Well, they are, because although they’ll let you reserve the car with cash, you’ll have to go through several steps for the privilege. Here are the rules for the major car rental companies:
These 3 companies are all under the same umbrella so they all have the same rules. They’ll let you book a car with a cash deposit, but you have to be approved for their Cash Deposit Identification Card beforehand. To get that, you have to complete a paper application (here are the applications for Dollar, Hertz and Thrifty) and mail it in with a nonrefundable $15 processing fee (my first thought was asking why they couldn’t do the application online and use a credit card but then…oh, yeah. Never mind). Once mailed, the approval process can take up to 30 days and will include a credit check.
Once approved for their Cash Deposit ID Card, you can rent a car with an upfront cash deposit.
Some (but not all) Enterprise locations will accept cash (or MONEY ORDER!) payments. But you have to provide a bunch of documents including proof of insurance, two current utility bills, personal references, your most recent paycheck stub, a driver’s license that’s issued from the same state the renting the car from, and personal references. You have to pay the entire cost of the rental when you pick up the car, plus a minimum deposit of between $100 and $300, depending on the location.
So it CAN be done, depending on what you want to use the cash payment for, and what company you want to use. But it’s a pain.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary