Rental runaround

A rental car company gave Michelle and her husband a hard time and some bad information recently, when they tried to use their debit card. She tells Dave about the ordeal, and he's not impressed with the experience, either.

QUESTION: Michelle and her husband are on Baby Step 2 of Dave’s plan, and recently they had to rent a car at a combined Thrifty and Dollar rental desk while on a trip to Florida. They tried to pay for the rental with a debit card, and the attendant told them he would have to pull their credit report if they used a debit card instead of a credit card. In the process, he mentioned a concern about people stealing the cars and closing their checking accounts. He tried to ease their minds by saying that all rental companies operate this way. Dave sets the record straight and explains that he always uses a debit card for car rentals.

ANSWER: That’s a bunch of crap. That’s just a particular company that didn’t offer the service. There’s a really easy way to alleviate that kind of stress – just walk to a different rental desk.

It’s not true that all the big companies operate that way. I have a debit card I use to rent cars everywhere I go. I have no trouble doing things that way. Now, there may be some companies that don’t take them. But him telling you it’s the only way to rent a car without a big hassle is a bunch of crap. Lots of rental companies take debit cards without all that.

When you’re setting up your reservation, you need to have cleared that to make sure that company you’re dealing with takes debit cards. But almost all of them do. I wasn’t aware Dollar didn’t. Thrifty, maybe that’s who it is. They may not. Enterprise is sporadic; sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t. So check before you go. There are plenty of people who rent to folks with a debit card.