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Do You Need a Credit Card to Rent a Car? What You Should Know

Credit Card or Debit Card?

What exactly is the difference between a credit card and a debit card? Well, a credit card is a payment card that allows cardholders to use a line of credit to purchase goods and services from merchants. 

Cardholders may need to pay back the borrowed money before or on the agreed-upon billing date to the financial institution or bank that issued the card. If the billing date passes, the financial institution may impose applicable interest, charges, and penalties. These can impact your score during a credit check.

A debit card is also a payment card that allows users to withdraw money from an automated teller machine (ATM) and purchase goods or services from merchants. However, you need to have sufficient money in the checking account to use debit cards. If your account is empty, you may face overdraft fees. 

No one can deny that credit and debit cards are the widely accepted payment methods for over 15,577 car rental companies that operate in the United States. When it comes to paying for services from a car rental company, many individuals choose the credit card or debit card route. 

However, well-known car rental companies across the United States accept several other payment modes aside from credit and debit cards, including cash payments, gift cards, money orders, internet banking, mobile banking, and checks.

So, do you need a credit card to rent a car? The answer is no. You don’t need a credit card to book a rental vehicle. In fact, other forms of payment may be a better option for your particular situation. 

In this article, we’ll provide an overview of the top eight car rental companies in the United States that accept various other modes of payment in addition to credit cards.

Car Rental Companies That Don’t Require Credit Cards

Airport Van Rental (AVR)

AVR is the leader in the van rental industry in the United States. With a premium fleet of rental vehicles, premier customer support, flexible pick-up locations, and an affordable pricing structure, AVR has become the most preferred rental company nationwide for family vacations, road trips, and weekend getaways.

AVR accepts several payment modes, including credit cards, debit cards, and cash payments. We also offer a “Pay Now” option that enables you to pay the money upfront when reserving the vehicle with a credit or debit card and receive a discount of up to 30% on rental rates.

AVR offers rental vehicles to all age groups as long as the renter has valid driver’s license. We have over a dozen rental locations across the country. You can rent cars from any of these locations, including Atlanta, Burbank, Dallas, Denver, Fort Lauderdale, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Oakland, Orlando, San Francisco, and Tampa. Find the one nearest you and book a rental that suits your adventure!


Alamo is a low-cost car rental company that operates in various countries, including the United States, Canada, Mexico, Latin America, and Europe. 

Alamo accepts a wide range of payment options. These may include credit cards, debit cards, prepaid gift cards with a Visa, Mastercard, or Amex symbol, and cash payments. Standard cancellation fees of $50 will apply if you cancel the car rental more than 24 hours before pick-up time. For cancellations within 24 hours, Alamo collects a cancellation fee of $100.

It has around 250 rental locations in the United States, including Fort Lauderdale, Hawaii, Los Angeles, Orlando, San Diago, Dallas, and San Francisco. 


Avis, also known as Avis Budget Group, is one of the oldest car rental service providers in the United States. Avis also operates Zipcar, the world’s leading car-sharing network. 

The organization is known for reinventing the way car rental services are offered. For instance, its mobile app enables travelers to change reservations, extend rentals, view fuel consumption details, locate a nearby gas station, and return the car via assistance without contacting the customer support team.

You can rent a car without a credit card at Avis. The company will accept debit cards with the Visa and Mastercard logo as credit identification. However, renters may need to meet the minimum eligibility criteria, which may include:

  • 25+ years of age,

  • A valid driving license

  • A good credit score

  • A valid driving record

  • Proof of insurance

  • Additional valid proof of ID

  • An available credit and utility bill 

Avis also accepts all forms of prepaid payment options, including internet banking, cash payments, and gift cards.

Avis will charge a $50 processing fee if you cancel the prepaid reservation more than 24 hours before pick-up time. The cancellation charge may increase to $150 for cancellations within 24 hours. Avis Budget Group operates through over 11,000 rental locations in 180 countries. It has over 1500 rental locations in the United States.


Dollar Rent a Car is a Florida-based car rental company operating in countries such as the United States and Canada. The company is known for offering rental services at everyday low rates and running a wide range of reward programs that assist travelers in planning their vacations on a low budget.

Dollar provides the flexibility to rent a vehicle with debit cards, credit cards, prepaid cards, and cash payments. To rent vehicles with debit cards, Dollar may place an authorized hold to cover the estimated rental charges and $500 for any additional charges that may incur. This amount may not be available for travelers to use. Just like the other rental companies, Dollar also imposes a penalty of $50 for cancellations more than 24 hours before the pick-up schedule.

The top U.S. rental locations of Dollar Rent a Car are Las Vegas, Portland, New York, Tampa, Orlando, Miami, San Francisco, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, and Sacramento.


Enterprise Rent a Car has been historically known for “home city” rentals where people used to rent a car when their cars were being repaired. However, the organization expanded its services to airport-based rentals, long-term car rentals, business rentals, and replacement rentals in the recent past.

Enterprise accepts payments through credit cards, debit cards, and prepaid gift cards. Cash payments and money orders are accepted at only a few selected locations at the end of the rental for final payment. If this is your preferred payment method, you’ll want to call ahead and see if it's available at your select location.

Enterprise also charges $50 for cancellations more than 24 hours before the pick-up schedule. For cancellations less than 24 hours before the pick-up time, the charges are $100.

The company has over 100 rental locations in the United States. The top states or cities with more than five rental locations of Enterprise are California, Texas, New York, Florida, and Hawaii.


The Hertz Corporation is an American car rental company that operates in over 160 countries across the world. It is one of the world’s largest car rental companies by rental locations, fleet size, and sales.

Hertz accepts payments through credit cards, Visa/Mastercard debit cards, and cash payments. When you rent a car with debit cards, you may need to put in a security deposit at the pick-up location. You can also use your credit card, Hertz Charge Card, and Diners Club Card to put the security deposit at the time of rental. Hertz accepts cash deposits only in a few circumstances, like booking through an insurance company.

Hertz has over 2,690 rental locations in the United States. A few top rental locations of the company are Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Nevada, Oregon, South Carolina, and Utah.


Sixt Rent a Car is a German-based car rental company that operates in over 105 countries across the world. The organization offers a broad range of car categories, including standard sedans, premium sedans, standard SUVs, premium SUVs, convertibles, and exotic cars.

In the United States, Sixt accepts payments through credit cards, debit cards, and China Union Pay. You may need to put in a security deposit at the rental counter depending of the type of car you rent from Sixt. 

Note that Sixt does not allow you to book a rental vehicle with someone else’s credit card. The credit card must belong to the person who signs the rental agreement.

Sixt is the 4th largest car rental company in the United States by rental locations. It has over 100 rental locations, including 30 airport locations. The top states or cities with two or more rental locations of Sixt are Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York, Seattle, Miami, San Francisco, and Orlando.  


Thrifty Car Rental is a subsidiary of Hertz Rent a Car. It provides affordable car rental services that cater to cost-conscious leisure and business travelers. The organization runs a wide range of promotional campaigns that enable travelers to book cars at low rental rates. Promotional campaigns such as Seal the Deal, Pay Now, and Bluechip Rewards may provide up to a 15% discount on base rates.

Thrifty accepts payments through credit cards, debit cards, and cash payments. Thrifty's debit card policy states that the company will place an authorized hold on credit/debit cards to cover rental charges plus up to $500 in additional charges. You’ll need to have a physical card as the company does not accept digital wallet cards at the time of pick-up.

Thirty has over 4,000 worldwide rental locations in conjunction with its parent company, Hertz. The organization’s top rental locations in the United States are Washington, Miami, Philadelphia, Ohio, Tampa, Phoenix, Nashville Airport, New York, and Denver.

Benefits of Using a Credit Card for Your Car Rental

Renting a car with a credit card is super simple! And what’s even better is that you can earn discounts, rewards, and insurance coverage benefits if you use a credit card to book car rentals.

  •  Potential Discounts: Major credit card companies offer discounts on using a credit card for car rental payments. For instance, the Platinum Card from American Express enables travelers to receive huge discounts from rental companies like Avis, National, and Hertz.

  • Potential Rewards: Credit card holders also earn impressive reward points on the dollar amount they spend on rental car bookings. For instance, the U.S. Bank Altitude® Reserve Visa Infinite® Card enables you to earn 5 points per dollar spent on rental cars booked directly through the U.S. Bank Travel Center.

  • Insurance Coverage: You don’t need to purchase additional travel insurance or rental insurance if you use a credit card to book the vehicle. You may be eligible for credit card travel insurance if you use credit cards such as Chase Sapphire Reserve®, United Club Infinite Card, and Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card for booking a rental vehicle.

Secure Your Next Car Rental with AVR

Car rental agencies accept different forms of payment, but credit cards and debit cards are the most popular payment modes people use to book a car. Almost all top-class car rental companies, including AVR, Alamo, Avis, Dollar, Enterprise, Hertz, Sixt, and Thrift, will allow you to book rental vehicles by using a debit card. So you don’t need to have a credit card to rent a car.

AVR offers a wide range of rental options, including long-term rentals, weekend car rentals, car seat rental, car rental with chauffeur services, handicap van rental, and many more. Whether you are planning a family vacation or a weekend road trip, you can find a suitable rental vehicle with AVR at an affordable price. AVR’s premium fleet of vehicles, flexible pick-up and drop-off options, rental locations across the country, and premier customer support increase your convenience and safety. 

Book a rental car with AVR today to receive huge discounts on rental rates!

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