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 Rewards+ 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.
No information can be currently found on the Advantage website about using a debit card for rentals.
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. Drivers License photo must also be of the person at the counter.
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.
At all 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 corporate-owned Hertz Local Edition locations, i.e., neighborhood locations that are located off airports, you will be required to provide a valid United States or foreign country-issued driver’s license. 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.
You will be required to meet all age, driver and credit requirements. 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 Adrenaline Cars.
Using Debit Cards as Payment for Your Rental
Debit cards and prepaid or store value 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 debit, prepaid or store value cards is contingent upon the card having available funds to cover the estimated charges plus an authorization of up to US$ 200.00 given conditions depending on location, length and date of rental that will be outlined at time of rental. These funds will not be available for your use.
For debit card payment at airport locations, in addition to a valid United States or foreign-country-issued Driver’s License, you most present one 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).