Car Rental Credit Identification

Credit Card vs Debit Card 

You must show acceptable credit identification for every car rental company.

The most important thing to determine before you go pick up your rental, is what is acceptable for that particular company or particular location.


If the location requires a credit card, you, as the renter, must show a credit card, in your own name, at the car rental counter in order to be able to rent a vehicle and any additional drivers that you have must show credit identification as well. You can't use someone else's credit card. 

Some companies only take major charge or credit cards, and some take debit cards for credit identification.



Can You Rent a Car Without a Credit Card
or Credit Identification?

There are some car rental companies that offer the option of doing a cash only rental. For more information, see Renting a Car with Cash.

When looking at credit card requirements The first thing to deal with is the car rental company’s definition of a charge or credit card and a debit card.

A major charge card or credit card is one for which you receive a monthly statement and that is not tied in any way to your bank account. Common credit cards that are accepted would be American Express, Visa, MasterCard, Discover and Diners Club.

A debit card (even those with a Visa or MasterCard Logo) is credit covered by your checking account. Your funds are limited to the amount in your account. Any amount you charge with this card is automatically debited from your bank account.


If a car rental company accepts your debit card make sure to check about any additional information that would be required. You'll want to know about id requirements, holds(deposits) and credit checks.

Check our information on different car rental companies'



While some car rental locations do not accept debit cards at time of rental to release the vehicle, they will usually accept debit cards for payment when you return the vehicle. If someone tells you that a certain company takes debit cards, make sure that you check first with that particular provider (either by calling or by checking their policies and procedures on their dedicated websiste, that they will accept it at pick up, and not just a payment method.

Click here for information on why car rental companies are so restrictive about using debit cards


A prepaid debit card is a one-time use, or reloadable card. You may receive this from your tax return or as a reward or “gift card”. These types of debit cards will not be accepted as a form of credit identification, but may be able to be used to pay for the rental when the vehicle is returned.  Car Rental Gift certificates also are only accepted as a method of payment.








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