Renting a car without a credit card
First time renting a car for a vacation, qualifiers are: currently no credit card, and pretty bad credit rating
Is it possible to rent a car in Phoenix, without a major credit card, and have bad credit? In my search so far, it looks like most rental companies want a major credit card, or in lieu of that, a debit card but pass a credit check. I have a debit card, will be able to pay for the cost, have insurance on my owned vehicle, but will I be out of luck?
I am 34, so some of the age restrictions wouldn't apply to me.
You should be able to rent a car from Alamo. at a minimum. I used to rent from them (for years) when I didn't have a credit card.
Other options include bidding on Priceline or using Hotwire. Both sites have a checkbox for you to indicate that you need to use a debit card for deposit.
Keep in mind that if you do use a debit card for deposit, they will put a hold on the deposit amount, which might be $100 or more. You won't be able to use that money while it's on hold. So make sure you have enough in your account for your vacation expenses, plus enough to cover the deposit.
You may want to bring a recent utility bill with you just in case, although I've never had anyone ask to look at one. And I've never had a car rental agency run a credit check on me.
I've rented cars without use of a credit card (used debit) and haven't had any problems. They just make sure you've got like $200 in your account to "hold" until you return the car. I didn't know they ran a credit check because I've rented cars in the past year and none of the "checks/inquiries" showed up on my credit report.
From my experience, this is how it went:
Rent car online, supply debit card info. as payment (to reserve).
Go to rental counter, hand them debit card, let them swipe and hold the deposit.
Sign agreement, get keys.
Return car, they charge debit card and release the hold.
It may be that some car rental companies do a credit check. I've not had this experience with Budget, Enterprise and Hertz.
posted by loquat at 12:09 PM on January 4, 2011
Do you have cash? Some places will take a deposit.
The last time I had to do this was several years ago, but I was able to rent a compact for four days with a three hundred dollar cash deposit and payment in advance for the full term of my rental.
In my experience Thrifty is willing to do this, but the location I used was not in Phoenix, so I can't tell you if that makes any difference. I was careful to call well in advance, ask for a low-end vehicle, give a work and home contact number, and dress professionally when I showed up at the counter.
Looks like Alamo in Phoenix can help you.
I just rented a car last week with Enterprise (in Maryland) with a debit card. They put a $200 hold on top of the fee
and released it the minute the car was returned. No credit check.
Well if a debit card hold is what it takes, that should be no problem. Thanks so far for the re-assurance and advice. Any suggestions as to just setting this up online, or calling ahead as Sallyfur suggested?
FWIW, the credit check guideline I found was on Budget, via Orbiz's website.
I rent with a debit card at airports all the time, no problem, and they never ask for flight confirmation. They do hold an extra $200 or so on my debit. But a friend rented a car from Enterprise (non-airport) last week in the town where he's owned a home for 20 years. They acted like he was a flight risk, demanding 3 names and phone numbers of "personal references," and employment information, including his supervisor's name and number. He could also only take the car to neighboring states, not farther. So mileage (heh) varies.
posted by cyndigo at 12:49 PM on January 4, 2011
I rent from Alamo all the time with just a debit card. They just want proof of a return flight, which can be a printout of an email or anything with the flight numbers.
posted by The Deej at 1:34 PM on January 4, 2011
Do you have cash? Some places will take a deposit.
FYI: I recently got into a tussle with Enterprise - I had used a credit card for the deposit but wanted to settle the bill in cash. They refused to take my cash, and I ended up going to the USPS to get a money order (which they would accept). So if you're going to try to settle the bill in cash, ask about their payment policy first.
Enterprise is awful in every way, including trying to ding you for "damage" you didn't cause and that would never trigger a charge from any other company. I rent cars every couple of weeks, all over the US. Enterprise is the worst and I avoid them like the plague since they tried to charge me for a barely visible half inch scratch on the rear bumper of a shitbox Kia that any other company would attribute to normal wear and tear.
$300 no less. I now use my phone to photograph every single little nick on every car I rent, but only Enterprise has ever given me this crap.
I eventually shouted them down with threats of doing just what I am doing now, actually, which was to warn everyone I could about their little scam.
I regularly rent from Alamo in lots of places, never had any issues at all and all locations seem to accept debit with deposit. Be aware your debit card may not provide supplemental damage insurance the way most credit cards do, but if you have collision/comp on your personal auto policy you should be ok (ask your insurance company to make sure, don't assume it).
Avis lets you rent with a debit card (they do the $200 hold as well) and I haven't had any issues with them with them.
posted by KingEdRa at 6:21 PM on January 4, 2011
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