We are often asked if it’s possible to hire a car without a credit card. The short answer is no, however there are exceptions to the rule. The industry standard is that a credit card is required to hire a car, this has to be registered in the name of the main driver for the rental and presented on arrival at the rental agent office / depot.
Exceptions to this include;
*Prior approval should be sought, credit card is for security purposes also and is at the discretion of the rental agent.
- Limited UK domestic rentals where rental agent is advised beforehand that a debit card is to be used for deposit – this must be authorized in advance and it’s advised that you take proof of acceptance on arrival - see where you can hire a car in the UK with a debit card here.
- Where rental agent SCDW is purchased on arrival, the rental agent will not require a deposit / excess* and so credit card is not required.
Can I hire a car with a debit card?
Car hire can be booked and paid in advance using a debit card online, however it is still a requirement that the main driver presents a valid credit card in their own name with sufficient available funds to meet the rental agent deposit / excess amount on arrival. There are exceptions where a credit card may not be required, these include some UK domestic rentals where the rental agent is advised in advance of collection or on occasion where the rental agent SCDW insurance package is taken, removing the requirement for deposit / excess and thus a credit card. It is vital however that sufficient forms of ID are presented, please ensure you check the rental terms and conditions for your specific rental as requirements do vary.
Most rental companies that accept debit cards will require that the card has the Visa or Mastercard logo and may also require a credit check and / or contact the card issuing bank to ensure the necessary funds are available to secure the deposit.
Can I hire a car with AMEX? (American Express)
Most rental agents treat AMEX cards the same as VISA and MASTERCARD and will accept an AMEX card as security, however it’s worth checking the terms and conditions for your rental, or enquire before confirming booking to avoid any surprises.
How to hire a car without a credit card?
We have a few suggestions on ways in which you can hire a car without a credit card;
- If a member of your party has a valid credit card, we suggest you book the rental in their name and book an additional driver so you are eligible to drive.
- Contact the local office prior to arrival to enquire whether a debit card is acceptable to secure the deposit.
- Contact the local office to check if by accepting the agent SCDW insurance package, you are exempt from requiring a debit card.