When renting a car, the first thing a car rental company checks is the renter’s credit score. This might not seem like a big deal to some, but close to a third of all Americans have a bad or poor credit score. While there isn’t a minimum credit standard across all traditional car rental companies, a low credit score can be a deal-breaker for many. Your credit report can decide whether you get a rental car even if you use a debit card instead.
What are Rental Companies Looking for?
While it’s true that every car rental service has different operating procedures, they all consider the same information. If you have good credit and you’re paying with a credit card, they probably won’t need any additional info. The rental car company is trying to determine whether you can pay for additional charges you may incur while renting the vehicle. This includes late fees, damage from smoking in the vehicle, or damage from an accident.
If you cannot provide a credit card, traditional car rental companies will ask for background information. This can include your driving record, bank statements, and a credit statement. If you have multiple delinquent accounts, a history of late payments, or a bad driving record, it’ll be harder to get approved.
If you have a credit card but don’t want to pay with it, you can use the credit card to reserve the vehicle and pay with debit or cash at the end of your trip. The rental company will put a hold for the amount you owe on your credit card during the reservation process. This will be released after you pay off your account.
Renting a Car With Bad Credit
Bad credit or no credit customers constitute a greater risk for the rental agency. In order to offset that risk, the customer will be under greater scrutiny. Your options will be limited, but you can still rent a car. You won’t have access to luxury or premium vehicle. In most cases you’ll be limited to economy cars and older models.
When renting with a debit card, you’ll have to place a large deposit on the vehicle. This can range from an additional $100 to $500 dollars. After you return the vehicle, the deposit will be released. It can take up to 2 weeks for the money to be released, so make sure your finances are in order before renting.
You’ll be asked to provide extra forms of identifications. Bring a passport, state ID card, utility bill, bank statement, and an additional debit card along with your driver’s license. This will help confirm your identity and place of residence. For payment, your best option is to use a card in a major debit card network. This includes Visa, Mastercard, or Discover cards.
There are a variety of ways to save money on your car rental, even if you have bad credit. Make sure to check your contract for any late fees, pickup and drop off fees, cleaning fees, and restocking fees. Consider using your own insurance if possible.
Renting at an Airport With Bad Credit
If you’re going on a trip and plan on renting a car at the airport, the rules are slightly different. You’re more likely to get a bad credit car rental from an airport car rental booth. If you bring proof of your incoming flight, a return ticket, and your deposit there shouldn’t be any issues. It helps if you’re part of a company’s frequent renter program. Renting a car at an airport can be pricier than renting at an offsite rental company. Expect a host of fees along with your standard rate and deposit.
Customers under the age of 25 my run into more problems. Most traditional rental car companies have policies that don’t allow drivers under the age of 25 to rent from them. This is especially true if you don’t have good credit. Make sure to call ahead to the airport car rental agency to make sure you qualify for a rental.
Have Bad Credit but Need to Rent a Car?
At Value Rental Car, we believe bad credit shouldn’t keep you from renting an affordable vehicle. We offer rental cars for people with bad credit, no credit, or no credit card. We also accept cash and debit card customers. If you’re flying into LAX, we offer complimentary pickup and drop off services right at the airport. We also rent to drivers under the age of 25. Contact us the next time you’re in Los Angeles to get on the road today.