Hotwire Car Rental Question

Jim asks:

I'm looking to book a Hotwire car rental for my daughter, who is coming to visit me next month. She's over 25, but doesn't have a credit card. With Hotwire I can book the car in advance and pay for it with my credit card. I'm kind of nervous about giving my credit card online. Are these kind of sites safe to use? I want to make sure that she'll have no problem picking up the rental car.

My Response: 

While sites like Hotwire are most certainly safe, what you're looking to do, will not work

On, to book a car, after putting in your pickup and return city and dates, they ask "What type of card you would like to use for deposit." It also states:

"The rental agency will require a credit card or debit card as a deposit when you pick up the car. The card must be in the name of the primary driver, and must include sufficient available credit to secure your rental."

That means she would have to show a credit card in her own name at the rental counter, or they would not release the Hotwire car rental to her.

Before you book a Hotwire car rental, there is a section entitled Know Before You Go:

It will tell you that:

When you book the car (on, your credit card will be charged for the full amount of the rental car that you've booked... the total will include all applicable taxes and surcharges.

At the time of pickup, the car rental company will also require the renter (primary driver) to show a credit card in their own name. Sufficient credit must be available for a deposit. The amount of deposit varies, but will be at least the full amount of the rental.

Hotwire car rental bookings are "final (no refunds, no changes, non-transferable)."

If you book the rental and your daughter goes to pick it up without a credit card in her own name, with the deposit amount available on it, NOT ONLY will they not give her the vehicle, but YOU will be charged anyway. As they clearly state above, bookings are final (no refunds, no changes, and not transferable).

I hope this answers your question, and I hope that you and your daughter can find a way to make her rental possible. Good Luck!

Pages from this site, relating to this topic:

Using Booking Sites to Rent a Car

Credit Identification

Car Rental Deposits

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