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Renting a car in the US with a debit card

Renting a car in the US with a debit card

Old May 14th 2012, 4:17 pm
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Default Renting a car in the US with a debit card

Anyone have experience of renting a car from any of the major US car rental companies with only a non-US debit card?

I have some friends who will be visiting from Europe in a few weeks time - they want to rent a car but only have debit cards - no credit cards.

Both Avis and Hertz say on their web sites that they will (at some locations) accept debit cards as a form of "credit identification" but they also say that in that case they will usually run a credit check which, presumably, would come up with nothing for a non-US debit card.

So, has anyone actually done this and if so what problems. if any, did you have?
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Old May 14th 2012, 4:34 pm
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Default Re: Renting a car in the US with a debit card

Can help with using debit cards as last september, my Pops was over and he tried to book a hire car and use his debit card at an Enterprise branch in Exton, Pa. They would only accept a credit card and it had to be presented in person (couldn't do the "we pick you up" thing).
He had used his debit card in 2010 with no issues so there have been policy changes.

If they are going to use a car hire branch local to yourself, I'd pop in and speak to the Manager.


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Old May 14th 2012, 4:40 pm
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Default Re: Renting a car in the US with a debit card

I just rented a car from Hertz using my debit card.
They scanned through an extra $200 dollars on top of the fee to make sure it would pass though, so make sure you have plenty in the account!

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Old May 14th 2012, 4:50 pm
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Default Re: Renting a car in the US with a debit card

Originally Posted by ned1983 View Post
I just rented a car from Hertz using my debit card.
They scanned through an extra $200 dollars on top of the fee to make sure it would pass though, so make sure you have plenty in the account!
OK, thanks.

Was that a US or non-US debit card that you used?
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Old May 14th 2012, 4:56 pm
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Default Re: Renting a car in the US with a debit card

Same goes for me at ned1983. I have rented a car a couple of times with a non-US debit card and after they asked for a credit card and I said I didn't have one they said they would take charge an extra $2-300 to my account which would be deposited back in after the car is returned on time, assuming of course there is no damage to the car (if you didn't take out insurance etc)
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Old May 14th 2012, 5:02 pm
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Default Re: Renting a car in the US with a debit card

Originally Posted by md95065 View Post
Both Avis and Hertz say on their web sites that they will (at some locations) accept debit cards as a form of "credit identification" but they also say that in that case they will usually run a credit check which, presumably, would come up with nothing for a non-US debit card.
Can't imagine what kind of "credit check" they'd do involving a plastic card above and beyond a pre-auth meaning, in the case of a debit card, that the amount of the pre-auth would be "frozen" in their bank account for a particular length of time.

Incidentally, pre-paid reservations done through EU versions of 3rd party sites like Expedia can often be a hell of a lot cheaper than booking directly with the US rental agency. For example you can often rent a car with CDW etc. included this way for less than you would pay the same agency for the same car without insurance if doing it directly via the agency's US site. We've done this a few times with visitors.

That might not completely eliminate the problem, though, as they'll probably want something to do a pre-auth on when collecting the car, as this is their way of covering themselves in case of a prang. Not sure if the fact that the pre-pay rate included CDW would limit the amount of the pre-auth though - it would make sense if this is the case.

Probably best to find the best deal online and then call the manager of the branch directly to inquire about how it would be handled (prior to making the booking).

Alternatives - depending on how much you trust them - rent in your name with one of them as a named driver. This can often be done fee-free if you Google around a bit. Use your credit card. Could also see if the insurance is covered by your regular auto policy.

Last edited by tonrob; May 14th 2012 at 5:05 pm.
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Old May 14th 2012, 5:39 pm
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Default Re: Renting a car in the US with a debit card

Haven't tried renting with a debit card recently, but watch out for differences between states. Got caught out once when we went to pick up a car at the airport and in that state the (same) rental company didn't accept debit cards. Luckily one of the other rental company counters had no such issues.
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Old May 15th 2012, 2:00 am
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Default Re: Renting a car in the US with a debit card

Originally Posted by tonrob View Post
Can't imagine what kind of "credit check" they'd do involving a plastic card above and beyond a pre-auth meaning, in the case of a debit card, that the amount of the pre-auth would be "frozen" in their bank account for a particular length of time.
I'm curious about this too, as i know someone who was declined a rental based on a "credit check" done after they'd presented a debit card. And they had plenty of money in their bank account, so the pre-authorization amount wasn't the issue.

Last edited by Giantaxe; May 15th 2012 at 3:42 am. Reason: presented not resented!
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Old May 15th 2012, 10:36 am
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Default Re: Renting a car in the US with a debit card

Originally Posted by Giantaxe View Post
I'm curious about this too, as i know someone who was declined a rental based on a "credit check" done after they'd presented a debit card. And they had plenty of money in their bank account, so the pre-authorization amount wasn't the issue.
"Plenty of money" - do we know how they calculate the amount of the pre-auth?
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Old May 15th 2012, 12:53 pm
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Lightbulb Re: Renting a car in the US with a debit card

The UK car rental site (for worldwide car rentals) 'Holiday Autos' might be worth checking out:


http://www.holidayautos.co.uk/
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Old May 15th 2012, 2:12 pm
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Default Re: Renting a car in the US with a debit card

It can vary from company to company. Last year one of my offspring and her boyfriend went to rent a car for a road trip [The Mini was in for major service]. Daughter had a credit car, no problem [and BTW, she is over 25 years of age]. Alamo/National required that each DRIVER have a credit card and would not accept my son-out-law's debit card.
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Old May 15th 2012, 2:54 pm
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Default Re: Renting a car in the US with a debit card

Originally Posted by tonrob View Post
"Plenty of money" - do we know how they calculate the amount of the pre-auth?
It's a good question but as this person had thousands in his account, I'm sceptical it was the issue. They did specifically tell him that the "credit check" they ran indicated too poor credit.
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Old May 15th 2012, 3:12 pm
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Default Re: Renting a car in the US with a debit card

Originally Posted by Giantaxe View Post
It's a good question but as this person had thousands in his account, I'm sceptical it was the issue. They did specifically tell him that the "credit check" they ran indicated too poor credit.
Quick Google found these two interesting results that - assuming they are accurate - shed a bit more light on things along with providing some "helpful hints" for those renting with debit cards:

http://www.creditcards.com/credit-ca...-card-1508.php

http://www.creditcards.com/credit-ca...-card-1268.php
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Old May 18th 2012, 9:07 pm
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Default Re: Renting a car in the US with a debit card

Well im new to the US, moved here 4 weeks ago.
They ran my Lloyds TSB debit card with an extra $200 on it to make sure i could pay, it went through fine even though im actually about 2.25k into a 3k overdraft. When i return the car tomorrow im going to pay on my US debit card.
I have no credit history at all in the USA.
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Old May 18th 2012, 9:40 pm
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Default Re: Renting a car in the US with a debit card

Originally Posted by tonrob View Post
Quick Google found these two interesting results that - assuming they are accurate - shed a bit more light on things along with providing some "helpful hints" for those renting with debit cards:

http://www.creditcards.com/credit-ca...-card-1508.php

http://www.creditcards.com/credit-ca...-card-1268.php
Thanks, those links were interesting although I can't imagine that any of the standard credit checks like Equifax would show up anything for a non-US resident with a non-US card.
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