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Using Debit Card for Car Rental


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23 replies to this topic

#1 creditwizard

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Posted 25 March 2011 - 12:18 AM

Well, I'm taking a trip out of state and almost booked the car rental when I started digging through the fine print only to hear of "Debit Card Screening". Basically, the car rental company uses check systems to verify avg balance and overdraft info on checking accounts and some also check credit. They have the right to decline debit cards for authorizations and holds. Has anyone heard this or know exactly what the screening qualification criteria is to use a debit card and which one is the easiest rental car company to rent from??? Thanks!!!



#2 visorboy1974

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Posted 25 March 2011 - 06:38 AM

Well, I'm taking a trip out of state and almost booked the car rental when I started digging through the fine print only to hear of "Debit Card Screening". Basically, the car rental company uses check systems to verify avg balance and overdraft info on checking accounts and some also check credit. They have the right to decline debit cards for authorizations and holds. Has anyone heard this or know exactly what the screening qualification criteria is to use a debit card and which one is the easiest rental car company to rent from??? Thanks!!!


I've never heard of that. I know they can put a hold on available funds in your account for whatever they deem "reasonable" but that's it. I've rented from Alamo before with a debit card...absolutely no issues with them.

#3 somekindofhappiness

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Posted 25 March 2011 - 07:46 AM

I think what the car rental is using is probably similar to what a lot of banks use when cashing checks from other institutions.

If a bank participates they upload their balances at the end of each business day to some kind of database that can be accessed by other participating institutions. I don't know the name of this consortium, but it sounds like it might run afoul of the FCRA.

In any case, I highly recommend that you do not use a debit card for car rental. Use a credit card if you have it or even cash. These types of holds that car rental companies, hotels and airlines put on bank accounts can be a total mess, with problems ranging from excessive delays in removing the hold to getting a double holds placed, etc. Plus your credit card probably comes with renters insurance alread built in, and maybe some rewards points if you're lucky. :)

#4 jocks98

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Posted 25 March 2011 - 08:36 AM

Don't do it. I rented a car from hertz in june '09 with my debit card. They pulled a hard inquiry from equifax and held $500.00 out of my account for 10 days after I had returned the vehicle. YMMV, though.

#5 spoonieluv

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Posted 25 March 2011 - 09:24 AM

Its very common now. I'll 2nd the Hertz warning. They took 1k from me as a hold. Some hotels do the same. I know Marriott is one.

Spoonie

#6 blackberry74

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Posted 25 March 2011 - 09:55 AM

When all I had available was a debit card, Alamo was the best one. No credit checks & no holds after the car was returned. This was several years ago, though - I'm not sure what their policies are now.

#7 iWhat

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Posted 25 March 2011 - 10:04 AM

Las Vegas does that

#8 visorboy1974

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Posted 25 March 2011 - 10:28 AM

Las Vegas does that


When you apply for a credit marker. They better do that!!!

#9 cashnocredit

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Posted 25 March 2011 - 10:35 AM

A decade ago I had increasingly hard times renting cars/hotels with a debit card. The reason often given was the high checking account pull that sometimes yielded unhappy, surprised customers. What I didn't understand is that CC cards were a form of proxy for a lower risk one would abscond with the car! Many companies started disallowing debit cards entirely. One thing that seemed to work for car rental was booking them at the same time as an airline ticket and showing the flight ticket at the checkout counter.

The hassles just kept growing and was a major factor in my decision to get credit cards again.

#10 iWhat

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Posted 25 March 2011 - 02:44 PM

Las Vegas does that


When you apply for a credit marker. They better do that!!!

No for a car

#11 PunisherSD

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Posted 25 March 2011 - 03:06 PM

It's a big old pain in the flowers to reserve rental cars and/or hotels with debit cards.

#12 cashnocredit

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Posted 25 March 2011 - 03:34 PM

It's a big old pain in the flowers to reserve rental cars and/or hotels with debit cards.


Yep. Doable, well usually, but a big PITA. It's reason enough to get a CC. Back when I had dropped all my CCs, on personal trips I'd check in with a company card but pay with a check card. What a pain after I retired and didn't have a company card to grease the skids.

#13 abercrombie9701

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Posted 25 March 2011 - 05:16 PM

Last summer I rented from thrifty they had told me that we run a credit check before renting to you.After that they held on to $1000 after I returned the car. Its a pain.Had to call them to release the funds



#14 Chris in OK

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Posted 26 March 2011 - 12:14 PM

I've rented from Enterprise in the past with no adverse action. No pulls, no credit checks, no outrageous holds, etc...

I also know that Enterprise used to allow you to make a $200 cash deposit with them in lieu of a CC on file. Not sure if they still do, but my Mom rented a lot of cars in the late 90's - early 2000's, all from Enterprise.

#15 divineapples

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Posted 26 March 2011 - 03:17 PM

I rent from Enterprise all the time with my debit card, and I've never had a problem. The only issue that I've encountered is when I rent with my debit card locally they require two types of billing statements---like a water bill or electric bill.

However, when I rent from an airport, no bills are required--but they will put a hold on like an extra $200 or so which is always released back into my account in about two days. That's not a problem for me, because I try to have more than enough in my account to cover the hold.

Additionally, recently I rented a car for one day with my debit card from Charlie Car Rental in San Juan Puerto Rico, and they didn't put any type of holds on my card at all.

Those are the only two companies that I've ever rented cars from( with my debit card) so I can't speak for other companies.

#16 Jeremy09

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Posted 26 March 2011 - 03:33 PM

I'm in St Thomas, US VI right now. I rented a car from Budget/Thrifty. I know they refuse debit's. $500 deposit for the car. $400 for the hotel. We're staying at a Marriott resort. Rented with the NFCU cashRewards and also gave the Marriott my NFCU cashRewards for the deposit.

This might be a valuable data point.

Edited by Jeremy09, 26 March 2011 - 03:35 PM.


#17 FCB2700

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Posted 26 March 2011 - 04:35 PM

I rent from Enterprise all the time with my debit card, and I've never had a problem. The only issue that I've encountered is when I rent with my debit card locally they require two types of billing statements---like a water bill or electric bill.

However, when I rent from an airport, no bills are required--but they will put a hold on like an extra $200 or so which is always released back into my account in about two days. That's not a problem for me, because I try to have more than enough in my account to cover the hold.


Enterprise has refused my business (and thus lost money) in the past when I tried to pay with a Visa debit card. An Enterprise employee told me that their policy is that they will accept a debit card if you provide some proof that you reside in the same state (like a bill with your address) as the Enterprise location that you are renting from, and that if you are from out-of-state they will not accept a debit card. So the billing statements you mention above will only help you if you reside in the same state where you are renting.

Another Enterprise employee told me that their policy on debit cards can vary from location to location (possibly explaining them accepting debit cards at airports--I have never tried to use them at an airport). The time I was turned down was when I was trying to rent while out-of-state in a regular non-airport branch.

So it looks like their policy may be that they will only accept debit cards if you are resident of the same state as the rental branch location, with the exception of airport locations.

Edited by FCB2700, 26 March 2011 - 04:41 PM.


#18 PennyPinching

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 10:58 PM

I know this is an older thread, but I didn't want to start another....

I am traveling to California via LAX. I have a Budget rental car reserved but I think they may hold $200 to $400 since I do not have a credit card. (I have rented from them in the past this way and was OK, but it takes some time to release the funds back).

What is the best company to rent from without a credit card these days? (Debit card only).

Edited by emtownsend, 19 April 2012 - 10:58 PM.


#19 disnugaswagg

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 11:58 PM

The best company to rent from is Thrifty with a debit card. They only require a 250 deposit on a debit card. Also, try making your reservation at an airport.

#20 essexjet

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 12:17 AM

1334894287[/url]' post='4664612']
I know this is an older thread, but I didn't want to start another....

I am traveling to California via LAX. I have a Budget rental car reserved but I think they may hold $200 to $400 since I do not have a credit card. (I have rented from them in the past this way and was OK, but it takes some time to release the funds back).

What is the best company to rent from without a credit card these days? (Debit card only).


I'm in So Cal and just rented a car from enterprise while mine was in the body shop. They did $300 on my debt card but refunded the difference when returned within 48 hours.

Edited by essexjet, 20 April 2012 - 12:18 AM.


#21 ToddP

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 01:36 AM

As others have said, they can (and most will) pull a hard INQ and hold more than what the rental is worth.

Before this last year I didn't have a credit card to use for rental cars, so I would use my debit card. Well once I started monitoring my credit reports, I noticed I had 7 INQs from car rental companies.

Also, Hertz holds +$500 and Avis / Budget hold +$200.

#22 GoUpScore

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 05:49 AM

I've had good luck with Alamo. I think they're the same as Enterprise.

#23 Link2k

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 07:04 AM

Thankfully I never ran into this in my debit card days. Used budget a few times they did a simple hold on the funds for $300 IIRC.

#24 Topher227

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 08:18 AM

I had the same thing with Hertz. They did a HP on my EQ report, and held $300 for about 6 days.




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