Can You Book a Rental Car with a Debit Card?
The answer is yes, you can rent a car with a debit card!
Almost all the major rental companies, including Airport Van Rental (AVR), Budget, Enterprise, Avis, and Hertz, will allow you to book a rental car with a debit card.
However, the process is not quite as straightforward as booking with a credit card. Many of these companies have several restrictions on which type of debit cards they accept and require you to meet several guidelines while renting a car with a debit card.
For instance, Enterprise-Rent-A-Car accepts only debit cards bearing the VISA, Mastercard®, or Discover logo. Likewise, Budget accepts debit cards bearing the American Express, Visa, MasterCard, Discover, or Optima logo.
This article provides everything you need to know about renting a car with a debit card.
Renting a Car with a Credit Card vs. Debit Card
Rental companies allow you to book a rental car through a wide range of payment options, including a credit card, a debit card, a prepaid gift card, mobile wallets, in-app payments, and cash payment.
However, more than half of online transactions in the United States take place through debit and credit cards. For instance, a recent survey by the PYMNTS revealed that 37% of consumers used credit cards and 33% used debit cards for their online purchases.
Despite their popularity, each of these payment modes has its merits and demerits.
Pros and Cons of Booking with a Debit Card
You don’t need a credit card to book a rental car.
You don’t need to worry about the additional debt and the accumulating interest.
Debit card usage does not appear on credit reports. So you don’t need to worry about the negative impact on your credit score.
Many rental companies don’t rent cars to people below the age of 25 with a debit card.
You may face a credit check while renting the car. Some rental companies opt for hard credit inquiries that may impact your credit score negatively.
You may need to submit multiple identification proofs, including a valid driver’s license, proof of insurance coverage, passport, and current utility bill.
Your car rental agency will place a hold to cover the estimated rental charges and additional charges that may incur.
Pros and Cons of Booking with a Credit Card
Booking a rental car with a credit card is a straightforward process. If you have a sufficient credit limit on your credit card, you can book a rental car from anywhere with your laptop or smartphone.
Many credit cards offer travel insurance with fewer exclusions. For instance, Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card provides primary rental car insurance that covers up to $75,000 for collision damage and theft of the vehicle.
You may receive reward points for using a credit card for rental cars. For instance, you may earn 5X reward points per dollar spent on car rental booking through the U.S. Bank Altitude® Reserve Visa Infinite® Card.
The credit card usage on rental cars will appear on your credit report. If you don’t clear the due amount that you used for your rental on time, your credit score may go down.
Locations that Accept Debit Cards
Some car rental companies don’t accept debit cards across all their locations. At certain locations, they may ask you to provide additional details.
Let’s get some clarity on which locations of popular rental companies accept or don’t accept debit cards.
Airport Van Rental (AVR): We accept debit cards across all locations, including Atlanta, Burbank, Dallas, Denver, Fort Lauderdale, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Oakland, Orlando, San Francisco, and Tampa.
Enterprise: They accept debit cards across all U.S. locations. At airport locations, it may ask you to present a return travel ticket.
Avis: Some rental locations of Avis, including the Metropolitan NY Tri-State area, Hartford, CT, Philadelphia, Mississippi, and Louisiana, will allow you to pay with the debit card only at the time of car return.
Dollar/Thrifty/Hertz: These rental companies accept debit cards bearing a VISA, American Express, MasterCard, and Discover logo across all U.S. locations. However, they may ask you to submit two forms of ID and a return travel itinerary for the debit card rentals.
Budget: Budget accepts debit cards across all U.S. locations. At some locations, it will accept debit cards only for payment at the time of car return but not at the time of rental pick-up.
Sixt: They do not accept debit card payments at airport branches.
How to Book a Car Rental with a Debit Card
Booking a car rental with a debit card is not as easy as you might think. If you are planning to rent a car with a debit card, you should be ready to meet certain terms and conditions of the rental agencies.
Know the Restrictions
You’ll want to check with the rental company about the restrictions related to the age, premium vehicles, and prepaid options before deciding to use your debit card for rental car booking.
Age: Nearly all rental companies don’t allow drivers aged 25 or below to book a rental car with a debit card.
Premium vehicles. A few rental companies will not allow you to rent full-size and premium vehicles with a debit card. For instance, Avis restricts you from booking Avis Premium Series vehicles with a debit card.
Pay Now: Some rental companies don’t accept debit cards for prepaid rentals. For instance, Hertz accepts only major credit cards for Pay Now rentals.
Expect a Hold
To avoid the non-payment risk, rental companies will place a hold on the bank account to cover the estimated rental charges and additional charges that may incur. These funds will not be available for your immediate use. The rental company will calculate the exact rental charges for the entire rental period and deduct the amount from your bank account when you come back to return the car.
Let’s look at the “authorization hold” policies of various rental companies below:
Don’t Forget Your Card
Rental companies may reject your debit card rental requests in two the following two scenarios:
If you are unable to present the debit card (with the renter’s name) to the rental location at the time of rental pick-up.
If your debit card/bank account does not have the money equivalent to the estimated rental charges.
Therefore, make sure you carry the debit card you want to use along with a valid form of identification and have enough money in your bank account when you visit the rental location to book a rental car with a debit card.
Book Your Perfect Rental Car with AVR
Though debit card rentals expect you to meet certain prerequisites and debit card policies, they enable you to enjoy your dream vacation without worrying much about not having a credit card.
AVR allows you to book a rental car with a debit card. With its premium fleet of vehicles, premier customer support, flexible pick-up locations, and best-in-class cleaning practices, AVR can be the most reliable travel partner for your upcoming vacation trip.
Book your perfect rental car from AVR with a debit card to enjoy your vacation with peace of mind!