Want to rent a car with a debit card? See which rental companies let you rent a car without a credit card and special conditions applied.

If you want to rent a car or have rented in the past, you already know most rental companies require a credit card in the renter’s name at the moment of pick-up. However, not everyone has a credit card in their name. What can you do if that’s your case?

Can you rent a car with a debit card?

Short answer: yes. While it’s not always as easy as renting a car with a credit card, using a debit card is allowed by most of the major car rental companies.

Debit card car rental extra requirements

Please note that while renting a car with a debit card is permitted, some conditions may apply. The car rental company may require one or more documents in addition to the usual car rental requirements, like:

  • Utility bills (like a water or gas bill, one or more)
  • Proof of insurance (as credit cards usually provide their own insurance and debit cards don’t)
  • Personal references (contact information of one or more people to verify your personal information, such as name and address)
  • Return travel ticket from the drop-off location
  • Extra identification in addition to your driver’s license (like a valid US passport)
  • Most recent paycheck stub

Other than that, the rental company may also do a credit check and only accept debit cards from specific credit card networks, like VISA, MasterCard or others.

Why is renting a car with a debit card harder?

The list of extra requirements above is quite scary, right? But why are rental companies making it harder to rent with a debit instead of a credit card?

Basically, when rental companies let you rent with a debit card, they’re assuming a greater risk. With the credit card information, the rental supplier can charge for extras like parking tickets, fines and little scratches even when the driver is not present. But that isn’t possible with a debit card, as the PIN number is required to make any charges.

That means that if the rental company receives a parking ticket after you’ve returned the car, for example, it’s much harder to charge that from you as they can’t just use the credit card info.

Keep in mind that de credit card is not only used to pay for your rental car, but also for a credit hold, also known as a security deposit. The rental company may ask for a deposit anyway, but when using debit the money won’t be available for you to use with travel expenses, for example. This is an important thing to remember.

What is better: renting a car with a credit card or with a debit card?

Generally speaking, if you own a credit card, go with credit. Using a debit card may be easier for some people, but, seeing as you have to provide more documents and personal information, it seems like using a debit card isn’t a good deal after all.

If you still feel like a debit card is the best option for you, check the list below to see which extra documentation is required by some of the most popular rental companies in the US.

Car rental companies that accept debit card

1. Enterprise

Debit cards are accepted in the US, Puerto Rico and Canada (non-airport locations only). There are different conditions for debit card payments depending on the country and the location. See below the list of requirements for paying debit in the US.

Airport pick-up location

  • Proof of outgoing flight from the drop-off rental location
  • Debit card must have enough funds to cover the rental and security deposit

Non-airport pick-up location

  • Proof of return from the drop-off rental location
  • Debit card must have enough funds to cover the rental and security deposit
  • Proof of insurance (can also be bought directly with Enterprise)
  • Two current utility bills (cable, water, gas etc.)
  • Two personal references 
  • Most recent paycheck sub

2. Dollar

Dollar changed its debit card policy in 2019 to make it easier for customers to pay debit. Under this new policy, if you book in advance (more than 24), you’ll only be required to present your debit card and driver’s license.

Booked more than 24 hours in advance

  • Debit card
  • Driver’s license

Booked less than 24 hours in advance

  • The items listed above and
  • An extra form of identification
  • Proof of return from the drop-off rental location

3. Alamo

Alamo accepts debit cards in the US and requires that:

  • Debit card must have the VISA, Mastercard or Discover logo
  • Proof that you have disembarked at the rental location
  • Proof of return from the drop-off rental location

If you’re not disembarking at the rental location, debit cards are only accepted when you return the car as a form of payment, but a credit card must be presented at pick-up anyway.

4. Avis

Avis requires that renters are 25 years of age to accept debit cards. Some car rental categories (like premium models) are not available it you’re paying with a debit card. Additionally, the debit card must have the VISA or Mastercard logo and a credit check may be necessary.

5. Budget

Not all locations accept debit cards at the time of pick-up, so Budget advises that you check in advance directly with the rental location you’re planning on picking-up your rental. The requirements are:

  • Debit card must have enough funds to cover the rental and security deposit
  • Renter must be 25 years old
  • For airport locations: proof of return flight

6. Sixt

Debit cards are accepted at some rental locations. There are different conditions for different pick-up locations depending on your status (local customer, non-local and international customer).

Local customers

  • Airport pick-up location: not allowed to use a debit card
  • Non-airport pick-up location: allowed to use a debit card, but with car category restrictions. Customer must present an original and current utility bill with name and address matching the ones on the driver’s license

Non-local and international customers

  • Can use a debit card, but with car category restrictions. Must present proof of return (must coincide with the drop-off date and location)

Please note that the car rental restrictions applied to non-local and international customers are different. International customers may rent any category with the exception of specialty cars. Non-local are more restricted, as they won’t be able to rent cars from premium, luxury and more categories.

7. National

Debit cards are accepted as long as you have:

  • Proof that you have disembarked at the rental location
  • Proof of return from the drop-off rental location

If you’re not able to present these documents, debit cards are only accepted at the return as a form of payment.

8. Hertz

Hertz does not accept debit cards at the time of pick-up, so you’ll have to present a credit card (American Express, Visa, Mastercard, Diner’s Club) or your Hertz Charge Card anyway for the security deposit.

Debit cards can, however, be used for payment after you drop-off the rental car.

Remember to check the payment and security deposit info in advance!

As an extra tip, remember that not all rental locations may accept payment with debit cards or follow the same rules. The best option is to check directly with the car rental locations to check if they have any special conditions in addition to the ones we’ve discussed above.

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Attention! All efforts were made to validade the information published in this blog at the moment they were written, however, Rentcars.com does not take responsibility for inaccuracies or future adjustments that can happen as a result of different offers and conditions. The posts here published, as well as the eventual comments from its readers, are merely informative and it is the client's duty to confirm with Rentcars.com and/or suppliers any content that may affect their vacation plans.

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