car rental without credit card?

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-04-2003
car rental without credit card?
Fri, 08-03-2007 - 8:35pm

I don't have any credit cards anymore, but I do have a Visa debit card w/my checking account.

I was surprised that recently when I went to rent a car from Avis they asked for 2 utility bills & if they showed a past due balance I could not pay with my Visa debit card. I was unprepared & being in financial turmoil for the past few years have past due balances on my utility bills so I could not rent the car. Good thing it wasn't essential! I have a car, but had to travel 8 hours away & preferred a rental to save wear & tear on my car.

Is this a new thing? I know from past rentals that when you use a debit card they typically put a hold on $250.00 or so of your account funds until your return the car - but I never heard of having to bring in utility bills.

My son is in basic training for the Army in GA. We live in IL & plan to be there for graduation day - but on a shoe-string budget. Now I'm worried that my credit problems & the fact that I need to use a debit card could interfer with a much needed rental car when we arrive in GA.

On another note, I foolishly applied for one of those credit cards for people with bad credit - specifically for this travel purpose. I keep getting outrageous offers - you know the kind - $150 annual fees, 19% APR, monthly membership fees, other fees, etc - the kind I rip up & throw out. I was shocked to see that my credit is soooo bad I was turned down! The credit card co. suggested I get a pre-paid card - but how is that different from my Visa debit card?? And would the car rental place know the difference as well - I mean can they tell a secured credit card from a major credit card?

Any advice or comments? Thanks.

Avatar for earnhardt_jr_fan
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Sat, 08-04-2007 - 12:23am

Try going through Hertz. We used them a couple years ago for a Florida trip and while they placed a $50 hold on our debit card, they didn't require anything else to rent with them. And you get the $50 back when you return the vehicle!