It is more convenient to rent a car when taking a vacation or traveling to a new place. Most rent-a -car companies accept a credit card for payment. However, what if you don’t own a credit card? Is there another way to pay the rent-a-car company aside from using cash?
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. It is to be expected that each branches of the same company has different sets of requirements and 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. This will give the company the impression that the reason why you don’t have a credit card is because you have bad credit history.
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.