How To Make Debit Card Car Rental Work for You

How To Make Debit Card Car Rental Work for You

Let’s say you want to rent a car, but you don’t have a credit card. This can limit your options depending on who you rent through. It’s standard practice for corporate rental chains to only rent to credit card holders. Don’t worry, If you’re renting from an independent rental car company, you can usually pay with a debit card or cash. You may have to hop through some extra hoops, but it’s easy to make debit card car rental work for you regardless of your situation. Here are some things you should know before renting a car with a debit card.

Renter Requirements

Rent a Car in Los Angeles vs leasing buying

When you rent a car with a debit card, you’re essentially paying with cash. This places the rental agency at additional risk, because they don’t have a line of credit to bill if something goes wrong during your rental period. Due to this risk, there are a few additional requirements that you’ll have to meet before you can rent. It’s common for rental companies to only rent to drivers over the age of 24 if they don’t have a credit card. Rental companies may still check your credit score and ask for multiple forms of identification even if you’re renting with a debit card. This helps protect the rental company from renters with bad intentions.


independent auto rental cash

When renting with a debit card, it’s common for the entire rental period to be billed up front. Since the rental period hasn’t started yet, they can only bill an estimate plus the deposit. This might be a significant amount to pay up front, so be sure to make your travel plans accordingly. If they don’t bill the entire trip up front, they may put an additional hold on your debit card. This hold is typically for your security deposit, plus any discretionary expenses. You won’t be able to access the blocked funds until the rental period is over and the funds have been released.

Vehicle Restrictions

cartoon of man pointing to red car

Debit card renters might have restrictions placed on what vehicle types they’re eligible to rent. This is entirely at the discretion of the rental agency. It’s common for debit card renters to be limited to economy vehicles. If you want something fancier like a luxury rental or convertible, there are a few ways to get around the vehicle restrictions. Some rental car agencies will let you put down a credit card for your deposit, but charge your debit card when the car is returned.

Debit Card Rental Benefits

wallet in back pocket

Although it can be harder to use a debit card to rent a vehicle, it offers some benefits to the renter that you don’t get from using a credit card. First and foremost, using a debit card doesn’t add to your debt. It’s a good idea to keep your credit cards clear before you go on a trip. You never know when you’ll have to cover emergency expenses. You also won’t have to worry about paying interest on your transaction. Renting a car for a week or two can get expensive quickly. Paying interest on a large transaction like that can make a trip uneconomical if you’re on a tight budget.

Drawbacks of Debit Card Rental

Credit Card Rental Car Deposits

In the end a credit card is the most reliable way to secure a rental car. You don’t have to jump through nearly as many hoops and your transactions have more protection. Also, using a debit card for your car rental won’t help increase your credit score. If you’re working on building credit, it’s a much better idea to rent with a credit card. Some major credit card companies offer rental car benefits for cardholders such as extended vehicle insurance, liability protection, or cashback.

Looking For Debit Card Car Rental in Los Angeles?

Value Rental Car wants to help you get a rental car and get to your destination quickly and safely. We offer clean and affordable rental cars for local driving in Los Angeles and Pasadena, with complimentary pickup and drop off service within seven miles of our two locations. If you’re a college student, we want to help you get on the road. We rent to drivers under the age of 21, and we offer cash and debit card car rentals. Check out some of our other articles to learn more about how car rental works!

Skip to content