Renting a car without a credit card is often perceived as impossible. It isn’t. Many people stridently refuse to use credit cards for any reason; rental companies would be missing out on a major market if they did not have procedures established to cater to them. It was not always possible, and it isn’t always easy, but it’s absolutely possible to rent a car without a credit card. The following outlines what you should expect.
If you do not have a credit card, you should expect to need to use a debit card. Debit cards are usually issued with checking accounts at various banks. Organizations that claim to be willing to rent you a car for cash should be held in suspicion; this would be a highly irregular “too good to be true” scenario. Debit cards allow rental companies to insure themselves against financial loss by taking a hold out against your account in the same way they could use a credit card to take a hold out against your credit line.
To find a car rental company that is willing to rent without a credit card, you will need to look for one that advertises themselves as such, or else call a variety of installations to ask. Those that are unwilling to rent without a credit card may be able to refer you to other companies that are. You may get a more favorable response if you mention that you are looking to rent using your debit information instead of simply disclaiming the use of a credit card.
Once you do, you should expect to present your debit card and ID at the bare minimum. While you do not need to use a credit card, your credit information will still be checked. Bad credit is not an automatic disqualification, but it may adjust some of your fees. This should be a “soft pull” of your credit rating that will not impact your credit score, but you can ask if you are concerned and want to be certain. You may be asked to put forward additional identifying material at this point. Proof of address and proof of income are the most common, in the form of utility bills and pay stubs, respectively.
If your identifying material checks out, you’ll be able to use a debit card to pay for a rental car. However, you should expect a hold to be placed on some of your bank funds. This hold may range from $200 to $500, depending on a variety of factors. This hold will be released once you return the car, assuming nothing happens to put you in debt to the rental company.
Renting a car without a credit card is possible, but it does necessitate jumping through some additional hoops. Don’t panic. Gather your identifying information, your debit card, and make sure your checking account can sustain both the cost of the rental and the impending hold. Different companies have different requirements, so make sure you find out more about the company you’re renting from before you sign up for anything.