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Renting a car without a credit card...


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I haven't had a credit card in years and don't really want one, but I have my resume out all over the country and may need to rent a car on short notice if I get an interview.

 

How difficult is it to rent a car without a real credit card?  I have a debit Mastercard from my bank, but there is probably a way they can tell it's not an actual line of credit.

 

Should I just get a card with a small limit?  Or maybe a secured card?

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I haven't had a credit card in years and don't really want one, but I have my resume out all over the country and may need to rent a car on short notice if I get an interview.

 

How difficult is it to rent a car without a real credit card?  I have a debit Mastercard from my bank, but there is probably a way they can tell it's not an actual line of credit.

 

Should I just get a card with a small limit?  Or maybe a secured card?

 

It will depend on the rental parent agency and the location policy.  If you go to a website of the major car rental agencies they all say that if they even do accept a debit card they will do a hard pull on your credit as well.  If you do not have literally perfect credit they will deny the rental.  

 

My primary motivation for getting a low limit car initially was exactly for the purposes of renting a car when I travel.  Keep in mind that even with an actual credit card they may put a hold for several hundred dollars on the card so make sure it is not a $300 toy card limit because a $100 rental combined with a several hundred dollar hold will also be rejected for exceeding the limit.

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Good Info.  Thanks!  

 

What about an American Express?  That's the one card I would consider carrying.

 

AMEX is a charge card in many of their products and it isn't that it is worse or better but you have to have a rental agency that accepts the card.  

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I don't know the answer. But would an Amex Bluebird card work for your purpose? You can "fill" them up to $5000, by either transferring funds (takes a while) or buying Vanilla Reload cards (CVS sells them.) You can put up to $500 per VR, and the cost is $3.95. 

 

It won't establish a credit history for you, tho.

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I don't know the answer. But would an Amex Bluebird card work for your purpose? You can "fill" them up to $5000, by either transferring funds (takes a while) or buying Vanilla Reload cards (CVS sells them.) You can put up to $500 per VR, and the cost is $3.95. 

 

It won't establish a credit history for you, tho.

 

I took a quick look and most of the major car rental agencies all said that a pre-paid debit card could be used to PAY for the rental on return of the car but not to secure it to start the rental process.  They view those like debit cards and run a credit check which is a hard pull.  

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A few years ago I rented a car with Enterprise using a debit Mastercard linked to a checking account.  With no problems.

 

There are isolated locations who will do it but they are few and far between.  The time to find out is not when you get to the airport and find out you can't.  

 

"Iunno about Phoenix, though.  That's a two day drive."

 

I have been to Phoenix and rented a car and can tell you that they do NOT do debit cards without a hard pull.  I watched a young woman in great distress because she didn't have a credit card or good credit and they would not rent her a car.  

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Agreed, I would enquire beforehand because you can jump up and down all you want – if the rental agency is not going to budge, you are stuck stranded. I have seen people be willing to pay the rental and cash and even put down a deposit before, but the rental service will not budge in the slightest.

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Did you check flights from Nashville to Houston. A quick Google search came up with 276. round trip. You might be able to get one cheaper through Priceline or one the other travel sites. I'm sure they will all take a debit card. If you factor in your time, extra meals and hotel stay a flight might be cheaper. 

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Did you check flights from Nashville to Houston. A quick Google search came up with 276. round trip. You might be able to get one cheaper through Priceline or one the other travel sites. I'm sure they will all take a debit card. If you factor in your time, extra meals and hotel stay a flight might be cheaper. 

 

@ArtVandelay

 

It isn't that some of the rental agencies won't take a debit card it is that they do a hard pull on your credit and if you do not have excellent credit they will not rent to you without a credit card.  

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If it's available in your area, you might want to consider car 2 go:  www.car2go.com

 

I saw a lot of these cars parked in Columbus, OH, and looked them up online.  It looks like a good deal for short trips in town.  Insurance is included in their rates.

 

It isn't clear if they only accept credit cards.

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I have rented a car with a debit card through Enterprise. Call the location to inquire what additional documentation you need (utility bills ...) to complete the transaction.  I did this this about 4 years ago. 

 

I have since obtained a Capital One secured card which I have used with Budget without an issue three times.

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