For those traveling often, renting a car is necessary. However, a lesser-known fact is that your current credit card score can impact your ability to rent a vehicle. One of the common questions in the minds of most people is, ‘Do I need a credit check to rent a car?’ The answer, in most cases, is yes. A majority of rental car agencies check your credit before letting you rent the vehicle. But there’s also good news. You don’t need to have an excellent credit score to rent a car. Those with a fair or average score can easily rent a vehicle and carry on with their trip.
Do I Need a Credit Check to Rent a Car
The only time a credit check is required by a rental company is when you pay with your debit card. Most rental companies view debit cards as a poor indicator. As a result, they will demand to check your credit before approving your rental request.
Debit cards are a method of payment that pose a greater risk for rental car companies. Do you know that about half of rental car agencies have put a hold on debit cards as an extra deposit, and nearly 10% stipulated a credit check? However, remember that rental car providers demanding a credit check do not aim to find a splendid credit score.
In contrast, their purpose is to uncover red flags like delinquent credit lines opened in previous years. It enables them to minimize their risk. Also, if you use a debit card, the company will realize you have issues paying for incidental charges like post-accident damages. So, a credit check allows the agency to ensure that you have a good history of paying bills timely. It also indicates to them that you are not behind on any accounts.
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What Is the Minimum Credit Score to Rent a Car?
The score you require to rent a car depends on several things. Chiefly, they include the policies of your rental company and the type of your rental vehicle. Usually, a credit score between 550 to 600 will allow you to easily rent a car. Those on the higher end of this score will find the renting process more seamless. For example, Dollar Car Rental used to rent only to those with a 660 credit score.
Besides that, there are also some rental companies that provide short-term rentals. They don’t check your credit score.
POINT TO NOTE: Although a good credit score is preferred, most rental companies focus more on the particular kind of information in your report. They give more weightage to things like several delinquent accounts or a late payment history rather than the exact score.
Do Major Car Rental Companies Demand a Good Credit Score?
As mentioned before, as long as you pay with your credit card, the rental company will not demand a credit check. Only payment with a debit card will prompt the company to run a credit check. Here are the policies of some major car rental providers in the US about having credit to rent a car.
- Avis Rent a Car demands a credit check if you pay with a debit card. The professionals will do it during the rental. They will have a hold placed on your account for the approximate rental charges.
- Budget Car Rental, in some of its locations, accepts debit cards as a payment medium. These locations will also demand a credit check before approving your rental request. Most of the locations of the company don’t accept credit cards as a payment medium.
- Hertz runs a credit check when you choose a debit card to pay. The company places an extra $500 hold on your account when you opt to pay with a debit card. It implies that you cannot use that amount during the rental.
- Thrift Car Rental also needs a credit check from those paying through debit cards. They will perform a credit when renting you the car.
- Enterprise lets you use a debit card at their airport locations. But you need to show that your itinerary has a ticketed return.
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Ways to Rent a Car With No Credit Card
There are various options for those who do not want to rent a car with their credit card. Below we have mentioned some great options for you.
1. Use a debit card issued by your financial institution.
Most rental companies accept bank-issued debit cards, such as Mastercard, Visa, and Discover. So, you can give your debit card to your rental company. However, if they seem reluctant to accept it, negotiate with them. More often than not, they will accept the card with some other identification proof.
2. Use cash
Although giving cash isn’t common, some companies do accept it. The only drawback is that you will need to make a larger deposit. The company may also ask you to furnish additional forms of ID. Generally, many rental companies accept cash when you return the vehicle. It lets them cover the final payment.
3. Use prepaid gift cards.
Again, companies usually accept prepaid gift cards when you return the vehicle for the final payment. Prepaid cards like Mastercard or Visa Gift Card are generally accepted by car rental companies. However, before using this form of payment, ensure to call the company beforehand. Learn about its specifics from them. Usually, you can use a prepaid gift card along with submitting additional forms of IDs.
4. Show insurance proof.
Another way to get a rental car is by showing proof of insurance. An auto insurance policy covers the cost of a rental car. So, you can buy rental vehicle insurance from your car rental provider. Evidence of insurance allows the rental agency to mitigate their risk enough to let you pick up your rental vehicle.
Although a credit check is usually mandatory to rent a car, it’s definitely possible to do so otherwise. Most of it depends on your specific car rental company and the kind of vehicle you are renting. Besides that, the assurance of you paying the rental cost also plays a significant role.