Car rental without credit card in the USA: with debit, prepaid and cash cards

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Judit Llordés

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Are you planning a tour in the United States, need to rent a car and don't have a credit card? Do not despair, there are good news in recent years It is possible and always easier to rent a car without a credit card in the US, using debit cards or even prepaid cards and cash.

This payment option is not valid for all car rental companies, but only for some of them, which require tax special requirements and conditions to be respected. In fact, it is advisable to read the rental and payment conditions carefully before making the reservation.

However, this new and interesting opportunity will now allow even those who do not have a credit card to make a pleasant road trip on the beautiful American roads.

Car rental with debit card

The debit card, as opposed to the credit card, is one quite popular payment tool in Spain. Most debit cards are labeled "Debit Card" or "Debit", otherwise they could be prepaid or reloadable cards.

So if you have a debit card, here it is everything you need to know on car rental without a credit card, before making the reservation:

  • Check which debit card logos are accepted. THE most accepted logos they are Visa or MasterCard, although it is not excluded that some rental companies also accept other logos.
  • The most accepted debit cards are those linked to a bank account real. Thus, prepaid debit cards or cards that are not linked to a bank account are often not accepted.
  • You need to have one sufficient financial resources on the card or on the associated running account, to pay the cost of the car rental, any insurance and the security deposit.
  • Most car rental companies don't allow you to rent luxury vehicles or SUVs with debit cards, but only small and medium-sized cars.
  • Il name shown on the debit card it must be the same as the one on the driver's license of the car renter.
  • For car rental with debit card may be required more than one identification document, for example, in addition to the driving license, a passport may also be required.
  • You may be required to purchase aadditional insurance to reduce the deductible, or to bring the deductible to 0, i.e. without deductible.
  • Rent a car with a debit card takes longer I respect the use of the credit card, because the operators will have to carry out more checks and controls.
  • The purpose of the credit and debit card is to leave one bail to the rental company. Therefore, if you use a debit card, consider the fact that the company will block or withdraw a certain amount on the credit and therefore it will not be possible to use it. This amount will then be released upon delivery of the vehicle intact, without damage.
  • However, please note that it is always easier and faster to collect a rental car with a credit card. Therefore, if there is enough time to leave for the United States, it is always convenient try applying for a credit card to your financial institution or bank. The issuance of a credit card can take up to a month.

Alamo, Enterprise e National Car Rental

Car rental companies Alamo, Enterprise and National Car Rental in the rental and payment terms indicate that debit cards will be accepted along with proof of a Round trip ticket confirmed (plane, cruise or train ticket).

Without proof of the round trip ticket, debit cards will only be accepted as a form of payment when the vehicle is returned. Accepted debit cards must have the logo VISA, MasterCard o Discover Card. Virtual credit cards are not accepted.

Hertz, Dollar e Thrifty

Hertz, Dollar, and Thrifty car rental companies accept debit cards, but under certain conditions. At the time of car rental, adebit card authorization, to cover the estimated rental costs and any additional charges. This amount cannot be used by the customer.

Accepted debit cards must have the logo VISA, MasterCard o Discover, and draw funds directly from a bank account tied to the cardholder. You must also submit a return flight ticket linked to the duration of the rental and two valid identification documents.

I 2 identification documents must be a valid driver's license plus a valid passport in the name of the same license holder and debit card, or another credit or debit card in the same license holder and embossed lettering.

in non-airport agencies an age of at least 25 is also required for the release of the car and the reservation must be made at least one day in advance.

Car rental with prepaid card

There are some car rental companies, such as Enterprise, which also accept prepaid cards. Renting a car with a prepaid card takes a lot more investigations and documents compared to a debit card, and especially a credit card.

While there are many that accept prepaid cards when returning the vehicle, for the delivery of the car most require a credit card or at most a debit card.

Car rental with cash

Renting a car with cash, while not impossible, is much more difficult than a debit or prepaid card, and especially a credit card. Generally the payment is in cash accepted when returning the vehicle and not at the time of collection.

The requirements or documents required for a debit or prepaid card, other documentation may be required such as an employment contract, a verifiable landline or cell phone invoice,… So, documents that are much easier for a person resident in the United States to present than a person resident in Spain.

Assuming however that the rental in cash is accepted, for a Spaniard it means carrying a lot of cash on the trip, to pay the rental fee and the security deposit. Therefore, even if it is a possible condition, in practice this is not recommended.

It is possible to rent a car with cash in some points of sale and in specific agencies. Eg, Rent-A-Wreck is a company that accepts cash without the need to present a credit or debit card. Rent-A-Wreck cars have an average age of three to five years and often have more than 100.000km. They accept car rental for young drivers.

How and where to book the car

To book a car rental in USA we recommend that you use the safe and reliable price comparators, which offer the best rates according to your requests: travel period, rental location and car category.

These search engines in addition to offering rates and offers better than official sites, they also give information on the rental conditions and the accepted payment methods.

Search for the best car hire deals on Skyscanner


It is advisable to choose between most famous car rental brands in the United States, such as: Alamo, Hertz, Dollar, Enterprise, Thrifty e National Car Rental. These companies have car fleets with “younger” cars and better after-sales service.

Search among the best car rental deals on Rentalcars

Useful tips for car rental without a credit card

Before you leave, if you don't have one credit card, it is advisable to request it from your financial institution or bank. The issuance of a credit card can take up to a month. The credit card gives more guarantees for the release of the car.

If you don't have a credit card, but still generally, it's always best to bring multiple debit, prepaid or rechargeable cards, with sufficient funds to pay the cost of the car rental, any insurance and the security deposit.

Some simple cards to receive, which however are not credit cards, but which can be useful during a trip to the United States, are: N26, Hype e Revolut. These cards can be received for free, only the necessary funds have to be entered.

Please note that special conditions may apply when using a debit or prepaid card, so please read the rental conditions and payment options accepted before booking a rental car in the United States. Maybe contact the rental company directly to ask for confirmation on the documentation to bring and if your card is accepted.

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