How to Rent a Car Without a Credit Card

Three Methods:Using a Debit Card to Rent a CarRenting a Car with CashRenting a Car With Someone Else’s Card

Do you need to rent a car without a credit card? It's possible to do so these days, although it's still a lot easier to use one. Many rental car companies will let you use a debit card to rent a car, for example. The process to rent a car without a credit card is often longer than using one, and you will have to prove your identity.

Method 1
Using a Debit Card to Rent a Car

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    Present a debit card. If you don’t have a credit card, if you have a checking account, many banks and credit unions will give you a debit card. Most car rental agencies will accept a debit card instead of a credit card, but it can be a longer process.
    • Debit cards function almost like credit cards, except that the funds are debited (withdrawn) directly from your checking account, so you’re not really putting it “on credit.” That's why car rental companies that accept them will put you through additional hurdles to get the car.
    • Check logo requirements. Some rental companies will let you use a debit card to rent a car, but they may require that the debt card has the right logos. Car companies often require Visa or MasterCard logos. Check with the rental agency.[1]
    • Prepaid debit cards or those that aren’t linked to an actual bank account are sometimes not accepted by car rental companies. Don’t assume the company will accept the card just because it’s a debit card.[2]
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    Bring extra identification. To save time, you may want to bring extra identification. You might need it in order to use a debit card or other non credit card method. You should assume you will be asked to prove your identity other ways.
    • You might be asked to show proof of auto insurance, a plane ticket itinerary or a recent utility bill if you’re not paying with a credit card. Expect to be asked to produce more than one way to verify your identity.
    • The name on the extra identification will need to match the name on your driver's license.
    • You’re probably not going to get the best cars without a credit card. Most car rental companies probably won’t let you rent a luxury car or SUV.
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    Expect that they will check your credit score. Many rental car companies, such as Dollar, accept debit cards but only after they perform a credit inquiry screening through a company like Equifax. If you have very poor credit, you might not get the car.
    • That means they are still going to check your credit score and report, and they won’t let you rent the car with a debit card if your credit score is very poor. They want to make sure they can recoup their costs if something happens to their car.
    • Some companies will let you pay the bill with a debit card even if your credit score is very poor at the end of the trip. However, they will still require a credit card to reserve it in the first place.[3]
    • If your credit is decent, renting a car with a debit card isn’t likely to be an issue, although it will harm your credit rating a little bit when the company runs your report.
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    Prepare for additional hurdles. To rent a car with a debit card, the rental car company may require additional steps. Expect to spend a little more time on the car rental process than you would with a credit card.
    • The company might require you to purchase insurance through the rental company.
    • It can take longer to pay with a debit card than with a credit card. They are going to check your credit, your insurance, and verify your identification.
    • Car rental companies prefer renting to people with credit cards, so they make it harder not to do so. They are likely to make you prove your identify, possibly through several methods.
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    Expect a hold on your account. The rental car company may place a hold on your account even if they accept a debit card. Make sure you have the extra funds to cover this hold.
    • That’s a deposit that they hold back until you return the car. The deposit can exceed $200. When the company puts the hold on the account, it means that those funds will not be available for your use.
    • Holds on your card can last as many as 14 days. You will need to have enough money in your account to cover the entire cost of the rental and deposit.
    • Some international locations might not accept debit cards at all. Check with the credit card company to find out where debit cards are accepted. Some rental car companies only accept debit cards at some non-international locations too.
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    Use a prepaid card, check, or money order. Some car rental companies, but by no means all of them, will accept prepaid cards. You can buy these cards at many grocery and department stores.
    • For example, Enterprise does accept prepaid cards. Other car companies only accept prepaid cards when you return the car. You will still need a debit or credit card to rent it in the first place.[4]
    • Some companies (but not most) accept personal checks on return or at corporate locations. Some accept money orders (Avis is one that does). This is rarer though, so check around.
    • You might need to make a cash down payment in order to use a debit card at some companies.

Method 2
Renting a Car with Cash

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    Pay cash to rent a car. You’re going to have to check around because all companies don’t allow this, and some that do allow it will only let you pay cash when you return the car, not when you pick it up.
    • However, it’s possible to rent a car with cash at some independent outlets or companies that market toward that clientele.
    • For example Rent-A-Wreck is one company that accepts cash without a debit or credit card ever being presented.[5]
    • Some online sites have compiled lists of cities that have cash only locations.[6]
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    Prove your identity. To use cash, expect to have to prove your identity. And you might be asked to show a lot of it. The car rental companies may want to see several items to prove who you are before giving you the car.
    • You may be required to show proof of insurance, a travel itinerary, and verification of your identity, such as your driver’s license.[7]
    • The car rental company will probably limit the type of cars that you can rent, and they won’t allow additional drivers in many cases.
    • Alamo cash rental rules require a current utility bill with your current address and a verifiable phone number in the renter’s name. Some major companies will let you pay for the car in cash, but you still need to present a credit or debit card to drive it away.
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    Pay a cash deposit. You’re going to need to have some extra money lying around if you want to pay for a rental car with cash. That's because the car rental companies are likely to want some extra cash as backup.
    • You will often have to provide a cash deposit in addition to the rental’s cost. You might be subject to a credit check.
    • Alamo requires a $300 cash deposit in addition to the rental charges. Check with the specific car rental agency because rules can differ.
    • You will receive the cash back when you return the car without damages, often by a refund check the company will mail to you.

Method 3
Renting a Car With Someone Else’s Card

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    Use someone else’s credit card to rent the car. Some credit card companies make you use the same card to prepay for the vehicle and pick it up, but all don’t. You could borrow a credit card from a family member and friend, and pay that person back with cash.[8]
    • Budget is one company that allows this. Some companies require that the person whose name is on the card and the person who picks up the rental car are one and the same.
    • Clearly, you should only borrow someone's card with their permission, but perhaps you have a loved one who is willing to charge the rental car to their credit card if you agree to pay them back right away.
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    Check around. Not all companies allow this. You will need to find a rental car company that allows you to use one card to prepay for the vehicle and other identification to pick up the car. Family-owned or lower-end rental companies, such as those specializing in used cars that aren’t that great, might have more relaxed rules.[9]
    • Don’t assume that all car rental companies are the same. Call around, and check on their requirements.[10]
    • You might be able to find an independent car rental company that will accept cash or someone else’s card. The big name chain companies are less likely to do so.[11]
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    Break down and get a credit card. Some people qualify for a credit card, but they don’t want to accrue credit card debt. If you are planning on renting a car, it would make your life a lot easier to break down and get one.
    • You could always set aside the cash to immediately pay the card off. Most car rental companies are still going to make you present them with some plastic, whether a debit card or a credit car, in order to drive the car away from the lot in the first place.
    • Look at it through their eyes. You’re asking to drive a very expensive machine that they own away from their lot, and they want to make sure you’ll bring it back (and that they know who you are if you don’t).
    • Improve your credit score. Maybe your problem is a low credit score, or maybe you have a debit card but can’t rent a car because you have a low score. Pay off your accounts, and make sure not to run them up to the limit.


  • Some rental car companies require full coverage insurance for individuals renting a car without a credit card.
  • If you do have a credit card, it is best to have it on hand in case you do need to use it, such as in instances where a credit report is unfavorable.
  • Make sure you have enough money in your account to cover the hold amount and still allow yourself to access cash if you need to.
  • Renting a car without a credit card may not be an option if you are attempting to do this in a country other than the US.
  • While some car rental companies allow customers to pay for rentals in cash, this option is typically available when returning the car. A credit or debit card is required initially to hold a vehicle and drive it off the lot.


  • In most cases you cannot use someone else's credit card to rent a car, even if you have permission from the cardholder.
  • You will likely not have the option to rent a SUV or specialty vehicle if you rent a car without a credit card.

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