Car rental deposits are required at the beginning of your rental. When you pick up your vehicle, you will be required to leave a deposit or hold on your credit card
(or debit card if accepted) before you can take the vehicle.
Generally, at the time of rental, agencies will require a car rental credit card hold of at least the total estimated charges.
Some companies have a minimum car rental deposit while some hold the amount of the rental plus a certain percent. Your deposit type and amount will vary according to the company you rent from and the individual location. Some car rental companies have clear guidelines as to the amount of hold required, some are less specific.
For company specific guidelines see Car Rental Credit Card Holds
You must have the deposit amount required available on your card. This amount will be held or frozen until the rental is returned. When you return of the car, the actual cost of the rental will be charged, or you may pay in cash. If you pay by cash (or debit) the hold may appear as hold or pending charge on your statement and the void may appear as a refund on your statement.
Note: your bank may take up to two weeks to post the released car rental credit holds.
Car Rental Cash Deposits & Renting with a Debit Card
Some car rental locations may allow you to leave a cash deposit or rent with a debit
card, if you don't have a credit card.
Read more about
Using Someone Else's Credit Card to Rent a Car
This is not allowed. At the time of rental, you must present a valid driver's license and credit card with your own name imprinted on it. The name/address on the credit card MUST match the name/address on your driver’s license. There must be funds available on the credit card for any car rental deposits that are required.
Giving a Credit Card Number when Making a Car Rental Reservation
The majority of rental companies, at this time, do not require that you give your credit card number when you are booking a reservation.
Most of the time!
There are some exceptions.
Credit card information is sometimes required when booking a specialty vehicle (example: 12 passenger van) or a high demand vehicle during a peak rental season (example: renting a minivan in July or August). If a credit card is required to book a vehicle, then you should check to see what the cancellation policy is and if there is a no-show fee.
Also, if you book a prepaid reservation you will have to give your credit card information because you will be paying for the rental up-front. Again, make sure to check on the cancellation policy.
If the website says that the reservation is non-refundable, non-modifiable and non-cancellable, please be aware that you will pay for the rental whether you ever pick it up or not and that absolutely no changes or modifications can be made to your reservation.
Read more about PrePaid Rental
I also say "at this time", because car rental companies are increasingly looking at requiring credit card numbers to book rental cars (usually by offering prepaid rate discounts). There is generally a 30%+ no show rate for people who reserve cars in advance and do not give credit card information. This makes it hard for the car rental companies to schedule their fleets efficiently.
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