How to Rent a Car with a Debit Card

No Credit Card Required

BMW 328i Sedan - Mineral White Metallic color

Updated September 2, 2015 

At a glance:

Different rental locations have different debit card policies.  The information below is general in nature only.  Always check the location where you will be renting to avoid any unpleasant surprises.

  • Car rental companies that will rent with a debit card: AlamoAvis, Budget, Dollar, Fox, HertzPayless, Sixt, and Thrifty.
  • Car rental with no credit check for debit card rentalsBudget (some locations only), Fox (with proof of return travel ticket) and Sixt (also varies by location).  Some Alamo and Payless locations also waive the credit check with proof of return ticket.
  • Car rental for underage drivers with debit cards (drivers under 25, additional fees may apply): Dollar, Hertz, Rent-A-Wreck, and ThriftyEnterprise will rent to underage debit card holders at some locations.

Other important information about renting a car with a debit card:

  • Most car rental companies will place a hold on debit card account funds during the rental.  See below for specific policies and amounts.
  • Car rental debit card policies are more restrictive for locals than for out-of-town-renters.  For details, see below.
  • Debit cards must be linked to a bank account and in many cases must have the Visa or MasterCard logo in order to be accepted for car rental.

View Car Rental Debit Card Policies:

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In this article:

  • Which car rental companies will rent a car with a debit card (with or without a credit check)
  • Amounts of the holds placed on debit card account funds during the rental
  • Which car rental companies will rent to young/underage debit card holders (under 25 years)
  • Car rental debit card policies, requirements, and tips

Yes, You Can Rent a Car without a Credit Card

It’s a common misconception that a credit card is required to rent a car.  In fact, most car rental companies offer at least one way to rent a car with a debit card instead.  In this article we discuss the ins and outs of renting a car with a debit card and take a look at debit card policies for Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Fox, Hertz, Payless, Rent-A-Wreck, Silvercar, Sixt, and Thrifty.

In general, to rent a car without a credit card, you must be 25 or older and have a Visa or MasterCard debit card linked to a bank or credit union checking account, and you must rent the vehicle in the United States (and in some cases, Puerto Rico).  There are, however, some agencies that allow drivers as young as 20 to rent with an additional fee.

When you return the vehicle, you can pay with the debit card you used to rent the vehicle, a different bank debit card, or a major credit card.  In addition, most rental companies will also accept prepaid debit cards or cash as payment at the end of the rental.

Local or Long Distance

The requirements for renting a car with a debit card are different depending on whether you’re from the area or traveling by air from another town or state. In fact, some car rental agency locations will not rent to locals without a major credit card. This is due to the fact that renting cars to local residents is much riskier then renting to air travelers from out of state. According to one industry insider, car rental companies are leery of renting to locals because of past issues that included the vehicles being rented for someone else, used in the commission of crimes, or not being returned at all.

If you have a driver's license from the same state where you rent the car, you may be considered "local" even if it's not the same city, or even nearby (less than 150 miles).  Your ability to rent a car with a debit card may therefore be limited by the restrictions placed on local renters. x

Local renters are advised to check the debit card policy with the location where they will be renting before making the reservation. At a minimum, expect to be asked to provide a copy of a recent utility bill to prove home address in addition to a driver’s license and the debit card you wish to use.

If you can show return flight tickets when picking up the vehicle, car rental agencies automatically place more trust in you and as a consequence you’ll get much less of a hassle when renting a car without a credit card. With proof of return flight tickets, you can sometimes avoid credit checks or have the deposit reduced or waived altogether.  All you’ll need to provide are the return flight tickets or e-tickets, a driver’s license, and the debit card you wish to use to rent the car.

Some rental companies offer pre-pay options and/or member services where you can skip the check-in lines altogether. Whenever available, these 2 options are highly recommended when renting a car without a major credit card.

Credit Checks for Debit Card Rentals

Be aware that most car rental agencies will do a credit check when you rent a vehicle using a debit card. If the car rental company chooses to do the credit check, it will show up on your credit report. The criteria for refusing a rental due to creditworthiness is a closely-guarded industry secret, but the fact is your credit has to be pretty dismal in order to be refused a rental. The rental company will also check to see if the funds necessary to rent the car are available in your account, as well as any extra funds required (some rental companies will hold as much as $500 in addition to the rental amount).

Is Your Credit Good Enough to Rent a Car?

While the exact credit scores car rental companies use to assess whether to rent or not are a mystery, it’s pretty safe to say that your credit would have to be very poor to trigger a denial of a rental.  We have seen clients with poor credit rent and pay with a debit card with no problems.

While it’s very rare that a car rental company will refuse to rent a car based on a credit check, be aware that it can and does occasionally happen. Anecdotal evidence suggest that bounced checks and non-sufficient fund (NSF) transactions on your bank account are particularly likely to trigger a rental refusal.

Car Rental Companies with No Credit Check

  •  Fox (with proof of return travel ticket) and Sixt (varies by location).  Some Alamo  and Payless locations also waive the credit check with proof of return ticket.  Some Budget locations check your credit, while others require only a third form of ID (return flight ticket, military ID, passport, current vehicle insurance card, current home utility bill or bank statement).
  • Always check the payment policies with the location where you wish to rent, because each has its own specific rental requirements, terms, and conditions.
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Holds on Account Funds

Most rental agencies not only check your account for the proper funds, they’ll actually place a hold on them during the rental period.  The hold can be for several hundred dollars, the amount of the rental, or sometimes both (some locations, primarily in the northeast USA, require a minimum $500 hold).  While the hold is active on your account, which could be anywhere from 24 hours to 2 weeks, these funds will not be available for your use.  The funds may not be released for use until several days after the rental has ended (in some cases up to 14 days).

Prepaid Debit Cards

Prepaid debit cards are never accepted for the purposes of renting and picking up a car. They are, however, accepted for payment at the end of a rental in nearly all cases, including rentals in Canada and other foreign countries.

Policies May Vary Widely by Location

Since credit requirements and rental policies vary by location, please refer to the location’s terms & conditions for specific information on the acceptance and usage of debit cards where you intend to rent a vehicle. Always check with the office you are renting from for the exact terms of your rental agreement and thoroughly read the information that is mailed or emailed to you regarding your rental.

We researched the debit card policies of all the major car rental companies and compiled the results for you below. This information is intended to be general in nature only. Individual offices of the major car rental companies can have very different policies and rules, and debit card policies and requirements are no exception. Also please be aware that while we strive to keep this information constantly updated, it could change at any time without notice.

Disclosure: some of the companies listed below are advertisers on TheFlightExpert.com.  Our credibility is of utmost importance to us; we do not and never will allow any financial relationship to influence the accurate, reliable, well-researched information we provide to our readers. Read more on our advertising policy here

Alamo Car Rental - renting with a debit card

  • Pick up vehicle with a debit card: Yes, with proof of round-trip travel ticket
  • Pay with a debit card at time of return: Yes
  • Prepay for rental with debit card: No
  • Hold on account funds (deposit): Yes, minimum $500
  • Credit check: Varies by location
  • Premium vehicle rental: No
  • Underage rental: No
 

Alamo accepts Visa, MasterCard, and Discover debit cards for rental reservations in the United States with proof of round-trip travel ticket (plane, train, or ship). This policy seems to apply to all locations in the US. You can pay with a debit card upon return of the vehicle at all locations in the US and Puerto Rico.

Alamo rates are usually among the cheapest when comparing rental companies, especially when you use coupons. If you're renting a car without a major credit card, Alamo is definitely a top pick.

Alamo Car Rental Debit Card Policy

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  Avis Car Rental - renting with a debit card

  • Reserve and pick up with a debit card: Yes (Visa or MasterCard)
  • Pay with a debit card: Yes
  • Hold on account funds: Yes, usually in the amount of the rental
  • Credit check: Yes
  • Premium vehicle rental: No
  • Underage rental: No
 

Avis accepts bank debit cars with the Visa or MasterCard logo both to reserve and pay for the rental. When you pick up the vehicle, Avis will run a check for creditworthiness (not the same as an in-depth credit report). There will be a hold on funds placed on your account in the amount of the vehicle rental. In some cases, Avis may choose to hold additional funds as well (this should not exceed $500).

Avis locations where you may experience difficulty when trying to rent with a debit card: Canada, Mississippi, Louisiana, metropolitan New York (incl. parts of NY, NJ, PA, CT), Hartford CT, Philadelphia PA.

Avis has 2 ways you can alleviate some of the hassles associated with debit card rentals. The first is the Pay Now option, which also often saves you up to 30% on the rental. With the rental prepaid, Avis is much less likely to place a hold on your account funds during the rental (but be aware they reserve the right to do this in the fine print of your rental contract). For prepaid rentals, whether or not a hold is placed and the amount of the hold depend on the results of the credit check run by Avis.

The second way to save yourself some time and effort is to sign up for Avis Preferred. Enrollment is free, and since you've already provided Avis with much of the information they need to rent you the car, you can skip the lines at many locations and go straight to your car. You also get exclusive rental offers and discounts, some of which can be pretty good.

Making use of both the Pay Now options and Avis Preferred benefits is highly recommended when renting a car from Avis without a credit card.

Avis Car Rental Debit Card Policy

Find debit card terms for your desired Avis rental location

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  Budget Car Rental - renting with a debit card

 
  • Reserve and pick up with a debit card: Yes (Visa or MasterCard)
  • Pay with a debit card: Yes
  • Hold on account funds: Yes - estimated rental charges plus 25%, but only $100 if you prepay online
  • Credit check: Maybe, depends on location
  • Premium vehicle rental: No
  • Underage rental: No
 

A hold will be placed on funds in the amount of total estimated rental charges plus 25% or $200, whichever is greater. If you prepay your rental online, the hold on your funds is only $100 (certain northeast USA locations require a $500 minimum hold).

Some Budget locations check your credit, while others require only a third form of ID (return flight ticket, military ID, passport, current vehicle insurance card, current home utility bill or bank statement).

Budget Car Rental Debit Card Policy

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  Dollar Car Rental - renting with a debit card

  • Reserve and pick up with a debit card: Yes
  • Pay with a debit card: Yes
  • Hold on account funds: Yes (rental amount plus 15% or $350, whichever is greater)
  • Credit check: Yes - Equifax
  • Premium vehicle rental: Yes
  • Underage rental: With extra fee (varies by location)
 

For car rentals without a credit card, Dollar performs a credit check through Equifax. If your credit is not good enough to rent with a debit card, you may still rent with a major credit card. Not all Dollar locations accept debit cards for rentals, but you can pay with a debit card at nearly all locations.

The debit card must be Visa or MasterCard. Two additional forms of ID are required: a driver's license and an additional credit card, government-issued ID, non-government-issued ID with photo (employee badge, Costco or Sam's Club, etc.), or current month utility bill with same address as driver's license.

Dollar Car Rental Debit Card Policy

To find out if your desired Dollar rental location accepts debit cards as acceptable ID to pick up the car, find the location and call them directly as this information is not provided online.

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  Enterprise Car Rental - renting with a debit card

 
  • Reserve and pick up with a debit card: No
  • Pay with a debit card upon vehicle return: Yes
  • Hold on account funds: N/A
  • Credit check: N/A
  • Premium vehicle rental: N/A
  • Underage rental: N/A
 

Enterprise general policies indicate that a credit card is required to rent a vehicle. Checks of individual locations, however, show that many actually do accept debit cards, but with different requirements and terms at each. If you want to rent a car from Enterprise using a debit card, find the location you wish to rent from and contact them directly for their debit card terms.

Enterprise Car Rental Requirements

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  Fox Car Rental - renting with a debit card

  • Pick up vehicle with debit card: Yes
  • Pay with a debit card at time of return: Yes
  • Prepay for rental with debit card: No
  • Hold on account funds: Yes, amount of rental plus $150
  • Credit check: No (with return airline ticket)
  • Premium vehicle rental: No
  • Underage rental: Yes, with fee
  • Additional driver: No
 

Fox permits car rental with a debit card with a Visa or MasterCard logo. The debit card and driver's license used must be in the same name. If you don't present a return airline ticket or your residence is within 150 miles of the Fox rental location, your credit score will be checked through Equifax and a hold of $200 plus estimated rental charges will be placed on your account.

Fox will rent to drivers between 20 and 25 years of age with payment of an additional underage driver fee.

Fox Car Rental Debit Card Policy: click here and then on the location you wish to rent from.  Click on "Payment" to view the debit card policy for that location.

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  Hertz Car Rental - renting with a debit card

  • Reserve and pick up with a debit card: Yes (Visa or MasterCard)
  • Pay with a debit card: Yes
  • Hold on account funds: Yes (rental amount plus up to $200)
  • Credit check: Yes
  • Premium vehicle rental: No
  • Underage rental: With extra fee (varies by location)
 

Hertz requires that debit cards used for rental must have the Visa or MasterCard logo. Two additional forms of ID are required: a driver's license and an additional credit card, government-issued ID, non-government-issued ID with photo (employee badge, Costco or Sam's Club, etc.), or current month utility bill with same address as driver's license. A hold on funds will be placed on your account in the amount of the rental (less any coupons or promotions) plus up to $200.

Hertz Car Rental Debit Card Policy

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  Payless Car Rental - renting with a debit card

  • Reserve and pick up with a debit card: Yes
  • Pay with a debit card: Yes
  • Hold on account funds: Yes (estimated rental amount plus $350)
  • Credit check: Varies by location
  • Premium vehicle rental: No
  • Underage rental: No
 

Payless allows rental with a debit card. For local renters, Payless may verify your home address, phone number, and/or employment. Supporting information can be a current utility bill, recent bank statement and /or pay stub.

Payless Car Rental Debit Card Policy

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  Rent-A-Wreck Car Rental - renting with a debit card

  • Reserve and pick up with a debit card: Yes
  • Pay with a debit card: Yes
  • Hold on account funds: Yes - estimated charges plus several hundred dollars
  • Credit check: No
  • Premium vehicle rental with debit card: No
  • Underage rental with debit card: Yes, with fee
 

Rent-A-Wreck allows rental with Visa, MasterCard, or other debit card with a major bank processing logo. A hold on funds will be placed on your account in the amount of the estimated rental charges plus several hundred dollars (varies by rental terms and location).

Some Rent-A-Wreck locations will rent without a credit card or debit card in a cash-only transaction. Most locations will require that cash customers fill out a cash qualification questionnaire at the rental location during normal business hours so that it may be verified. A cash deposit will be required if a credit card is not presented for payment. If you are interested in renting a car using cash, please contact the individual location for their specific prices and policies.

Rent-A-Wreck Payment Information

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  Silvercar Car Rental - renting with a debit card

  • Reserve and pick up with a debit card: No
  • Pay with a debit card: No
  • Hold on account funds: Yes - estimated charges plus $200
  • Credit check: No
  • Premium vehicle rental with debit card: No
  • Underage rental with debit card: No
 

Silvercar currently accepts only major credit cards as payment: Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover. Silvercar does not accept rental reservations or payments made with debit cards (or cash, for that matter).

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  Sixt Car Rental - renting with a debit card

  • Reserve and pick up with a debit card: Yes
  • Pay with a debit card: Yes
  • Hold on account funds: Yes - amount varies by location and vehicle (terms state up to 3x estimated charges)
  • Credit check: No (may vary by location)
  • Premium vehicle rental with debit card: No
  • Underage rental with debit card: No
 

Sixt accepts Visa and Mastercard debit cards linked to a bank account. A hold on finds will be placed on your account; the amount varies by location but can be as much as 3 times estimated rental charges, although it is usually a bit less than that. Sixt does not accept cash or prepaid debit cards as payment.

Sixt Rent-A-Car Debit Card Policy

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  Thrifty Car Rental - renting with a debit card

  • Reserve and pick up with a debit card: Yes
  • Pay with a debit card: Yes
  • Hold on account funds: Yes (rental amount plus 15% or $350, whichever is greater)
  • Credit check: Yes - Equifax
  • Premium vehicle rental: Yes
  • Underage rental: With extra fee (varies by location)
 

For car rentals without a credit card, Thrifty performs a credit check through Equifax. If your credit is not good enough to rent with a debit card, you may still rent with a major credit card. Not all Thrifty locations accept debit cards for rentals, but you can pay with a debit card at nearly all locations.

The debit card must be Visa or MasterCard. Two forms of ID are required: a driver's license and an additional credit card, government-issued ID, non-government-issued ID with photo (employee badge, Costco or Sam's Club, etc.), or current month utility bill with same address as driver's license.

Thrifty Car Rental Debit Card Policy

To find out if your desired Thrifty rental location accepts debit cards as acceptable ID to pick up the car, find the location and call them directly as this information is not provided online.

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