How to Use a Debit Card for Rentals

Let's face it, not everyone has a credit card, but there are times when a credit card comes in handy, like when you want to rent a car. Car rental companies are notorious for being easy-going with credit card users, but you'll have a far more difficult time trying to rent a car if you use a debit card. Some companies don't accept debit cards for car rentals, but if they do, you'll need to follow a few more steps to get inside your rental car than if you had a credit card.

Call the car rental company and ask if they accept debit cards. Some car rental companies simply do not accept debit cards for renting a car; others accept debit cards as a form of final payment when you drop the car off, but not for actually renting the car. Some rental companies accept debit cards only if you are traveling and have a returning plane itinerary.

Access your bank account to make sure you have the necessary funds. Car rental companies almost always place a "hold" on your debit card--generally, $300 to $500 more than what the rental car cost to begin with. If you do not have this much in your bank account, the car rental company will typically decline your card, or you will overdraft your account. The car rental company will release the hold within two weeks.

Bring your drivers license and a utility bill. Most car rental companies will need to see your driver's license and your utility bill for proof of address. Nearly all car rental companies will perform a credit check on you as well, to make sure you're not too high a risk.


  • If you're under 25, you'll have a difficult time renting a car even with a credit card, and it becomes more difficult if you're trying to use a debit card. If you're under 25, you'll have to pay extra fees as well.