There are a million reasons why people think they can’t part with their credit cards. Believe us, at this point we’ve pretty much heard them all. One reason that always seems to pop up is the age-old, “But I need a credit card to rent a car.” And guess what? That just isn’t true.
We’re going to let you in on a not-so-secret “secret”—you can rent a car without a credit card. You can even travel without using a credit card. It’s mind-blowing stuff. In fact, you can live your life as you normally would without ever using a credit card for anything. But that’s a different rant for a different day . . .
Buckle up, because we’re about to show you how to rent a car without a credit card.
How to Rent a Car Without a Credit Card
Renting a car without using a credit card sounds fine and dandy in theory, but how does it all shake out in reality? Look no further, we’ve got you covered with seven tips to figure out how to rent a car without a credit card.
1. Choose a company that allows you to rent a car with a debit card.
Believe it or not, they’re out there. And they’re more than myth or legend.
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Up until now, a lot of car rental companies would make you jump through some serious hoops if you slapped down a debit card instead of a credit card. And some of them still will. If you want to rent a car without using a credit card you might be asked to bring in everything but your social security card, medical history and attendance report from third grade.
Okay, we’re kidding. But only kind of.
Car rental companies vary on what they require from you if you’re paying with a debit card. But some common things they might ask for are proof of car insurance, a pay stub, a recent bank statement, or even a utility bill with an address that matches the one on your driver’s license.
Our friends at Dollar Car Rental are one of those not-so-mythical creatures who will let you rent a car with a debit card (that is, non-prepaid debit cards backed by Visa, Mastercard or Discover). Imagine that, a car rental company who will take your debit card (and not your first born with it). Dollar will rent a car to you, process your debit card, and send you on your way. Renting a car with a debit card just got much easier. Finally!
2. Research your car options.
Some car rental companies limit the types of cars you can rent if you’re paying with a debit card. Check with your rental company to see what kinds of vehicles you can rent when paying with a debit card. If you have your sights set on renting a luxury or exotic type of vehicle, you might have to think again. But don’t worry, those minivans and economy cars are calling your name! And they’ll get you better gas mileage anyway.
3. Meet minimum age requirements.
A lot of car rental companies are going to either not allow you to rent a car until you’re 25, or they’ll make you pay a pretty penny for being under their age requirement. That’s standard stuff. But Dollar Car Rental is one of the few companies that will let anyone age 20 and up rent a car—and you can use your debit card too. How’s that for first-class treatment?
4. Have a valid driver’s license.
This goes without saying, but if you want to rent a car then you need to have a valid, up-to-date driver’s license. Why? Because those of us on the open road with you want to be sure you know how to drive. Funny how things work like that, isn’t it?
But really—don’t forget your driver’s license at home.
5. Be prepared for credit checks.
If you want to rent a car without a credit card, some companies will run a credit check on you—because seeing how well you manage debt somehow means you’re more likely to return their rental car. Yeah, we don’t get it either. And neither does Dollar. They want to save you that hassle, which is why they’ve done away with credit checks and credit limits.
6. Look out for travel plan requirements.
Car rental companies can be pretty nosy when it comes to your travel plans—especially at airports. If you land at the Nashville airport and want to rent a car with a debit card, you’ll be asked to show proof of your return flight out of Nashville.
This is another area where Dollar is flexible. As long as you book your car rental 24 hours in advance, just show your driver’s license, pay with a debit card and you’re all set. Didn’t book in advance? No sweat. Just be sure to bring in a second form of I.D. and your travel plans (along with your license and debit card).
7. Prepare for holds/deposits.
Holy inconvenience, Batman! No one wants to see a hold from the rental company sitting in their bank account. Here’s the thing: A hold can be annoying—but at Dollar, it’s actually the same hold amount you’d pay if you were paying with a credit card anyway. So pony up for that $200 hold or deposit (don’t worry—they’ll give it right back when you return the car).
But Don’t I Need a Credit Card for Rental Car Insurance?
Ah, yes—this is a common misconception. Most people assume they need to use a credit card to rent a car so they can get insurance coverage through their credit company.
But guess what? You’re actually covered through your primary car insurance carrier! Take that credit card companies! We don’t need you! Besides, not every card offers coverage, and some of them don’t even cover property damage or damage to another vehicle anyway.
Benefits of Renting a Car With a Debit Card
Here’s a crazy notion: Renting a car with a debit card means that the price they quote you is actually the price you’re going to pay. Why? Because paying with a debit card means no interest added (unlike paying with a credit card).
If you rent a car with a credit card, you’ll end up paying interest on the amount of the rental price you put on the card. And every month you don’t pay it off, you’ll add on more and more interest. So a $300 car rental that seemed like such a good deal, could end up costing you. . . well, a lot!
Let’s say you charge that $300 car rental fee to your credit card, which has an annual percentage rate of 19%. You’re in no real hurry to pay it off and drag it out over the next year. The grand total you’ll end up paying back is now $357.
And that’s assuming you weren’t already carrying a balance on the card. If you had a revolving balance of $1,500 on the credit card and then charged this $300 car rental to it, your balance is now $1,800. But with that 19% interest being charged on the entire amount, you’ll now have to pay back $2,142 total. Ouch!
You Can Rent a Car Without a Credit Card
Don’t buy into the hype that you need a credit card to make it through life. That’s just crazy talk. And you definitely don’t need a credit card to rent a car. If you’re looking for a rental company that makes it easy, reach out to our friends at Dollar Car Rental.
And the next time you need to hit the open road in a car that isn’t yours, remember what’s in your wallet—a debit card.