Let's say you're planning a road trip and wondering if you should use a debit card to pay for a rental car. Many rental car companies let you use a debit card, but there might be better solutions. Here are some things to consider before using your debit card for a rental car.
CAN YOU RENT A CAR WITH A DEBIT CARD?
Yes, you can usually rent a car with a debit card, but restrictions may apply. For example, Budget requires renters using a debit card to be at least 25 years old. Additionally, some of the company's locations will not accept a debit card at the time of pickup. Therefore, verifying the rental car company's rules ahead of time is a smart move.
ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS OF RENTING A CAR WITH A DEBIT CARD
Rental car agencies are all about playing it safe and minimizing risks. That's why they tend to have a few additional requirements when paying with a debit card. The criteria might include:
- Debit cards usually must have a Visa®, Mastercard®, or Discover® logo
- If flying, proof of a return ticket and itinerary
- Proof of auto insurance
- Agreeing to a credit check, if applicable
- Showing multiple forms of identification, like a driver’s license or passport
You'll also likely be required to allow a hold on the account associated with your debit card or to make an upfront deposit as part of the rental process. Rental car companies typically require these steps because they cannot authorize charges without your permission.
In addition, they may require a deposit equal to the amount of your rental. As long as the rental company doesn't need the additional funds to cover your rental charges or any associated fees, you'll receive your money back.
SHOULD YOU RENT A CAR WITH A DEBIT CARD?
While larger rental car companies like Avis, Budget, Enterprise, and Hertz let customers rent cars with debit cards, there are better options. Credit cards may be more efficient and more budget-savvy, since they often offer travel rewards and insurance benefits. Remember to read the fine print and understand the terms and conditions of your credit card (and the car rental agreement) beforehand.
So, consider the pros and cons of using your debit card the next time you're planning to rent a car, and be aware of the required extra steps.