When taking a vacation or traveling to a new place, many people rent a car for convenience. Major companies that provide rent-a-car services usually require credit card payment. But what if you do not have a credit card? Or if you do have a credit card, what if you do not want to use it to rent a car? Do you have other options?
The truth is, prepaid debit cards can be used for car rentals. Below are practical tips on how you can use a prepaid debit card for renting:
Explore your options. Some auto rental companies impose more restrictions than others. By doing your own research, you can find a company that has more lenient policies to non-credit-cardholders. Different branches of the same company may also have varying rules. The best way to know your options is to call up the company and make inquiries.
Be prepared to wait in line. While paying with a credit card allows instant approval, using a debit prepaid card can mean more waiting time. A credit check may be required and you will be subjected through verification procedures such as checking your ID, driver’s license, auto insurance etc. Be sure to allow some time when arriving or leaving your destination. You don’t want to miss a flight just because you had to stand in line at the car rental counter.
Load up your debit account. See to it that you have sufficient funds in your account. Aside from the cost of the rent, you will need to make a certain amount of deposit ($200 to $500) linked to your checking or savings account. This is known as the “hold” or a “block”. Take note that you will not have access to that portion of your account for 24 hours to 14 days, depending on the car rental company.
Visa or MasterCard. Most merchants who accept prepaid debit card payments require either a Visa or MasterCard logo. If your debit card is not supported by any of these two leading credit card processors, you may have a hard time finding a car rental company who will accept your transaction.
Check your credit rating. Rental car companies usually do a credit check before approving a renter. This is especially true if you do not have a credit card. The company will consider the possibilities as to why you do not have a credit card and one is that you may have a history of bad credit.
Since a car is valuable and an expensive property, rental companies will make sure that they are dealing with a trust-worthy customer. If you have bad credit or a poor score, you can get rejected. You can ask a friend or family member with good credit to rent the car and accompany you to the trip.
Prepare necessary documents. Be prepared to submit supporting documents such as a utility bill, proof of auto insurance, return airline ticket, itinerary, driver’s license, and valid IDs. The names and signatures on the documents presented must match with the name and signature on your debit card.