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I want to rent a car for 2 days in Paris but I only hold a debit card (VISA). Is it possible to rent it without a credit card?

If so, can anybody tell me what car rental company accepts debit card at pickup time? I heard there are some smaller companies that do that, but I can't seem to find one of it.

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    If it's a VISA debit cart, then it can be used as a credit card anywhere VISA is accepted, so you shouldn't have to worry about it. The only concern is if the rental company puts a temporary charge on your account for some sort of deposit - you won't be able to use that money until the hold drops off (usually about a week). On a separate note, do think hard whether you really need a car in Paris, especially if you haven't driven there before. – Aleks G Mar 29 '15 at 21:49
  • But can't they check to see what kind of card type it is? And what kind of amount are they charging? Like 300 euros? – Bogdan Popa Mar 29 '15 at 21:56
  • @Bogdan probably this kind of amount, yes. – Vince Mar 29 '15 at 23:25
  • @BogdanPopa I am adding the info I stated as an answer - with a bit of further explanation. – Aleks G Mar 30 '15 at 6:52
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If it's a VISA debit cart, then it can be used as a credit card anywhere VISA is accepted, so you shouldn't have to worry about it.

Note that many rental companies will want to charge the deposit to the card - most likely in the area of €200-300. This money will be unavailable to you if the charge is on the debit card.

While it's easy to determine whether the card is a debit or credit card (often, but not always) by the card number alone, the rental company won't care. All they need is to be able to charge the amount owed to them.

On a separate note, I strongly advise that you think carefully whether you really need a car in Paris. Paris is one of the worst cities in Europe to drive in.

Updated based on the comment:
If you want to rent the car to go to Belgium, you may need to inform the rental company that you will be taking the car out of the country - which in turn may make the cost of rental more expensive. You will likely be breaking the terms of your rental contract if you take the car across the country border without notifying the rental company.

  • Thanks for the great answer. I agree you don't need a car in Paris since you have all sorts of public transport solutions. I want to rent it to go to Belgium for the weekend, since by train is more expensive. – Bogdan Popa Mar 30 '15 at 9:30
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    Quickly: the Visa cards acceptance may be true in France, it is not everywhere. In the US for example, a credit card is specifically asked (to check credit history). – Vince Mar 30 '15 at 10:28
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    My wife (French citizen, US resident) has a US VISA Debit card and this was rejected to rent a car in both El Paso, Texas, USA and Monterey, California, USA. However, her French VISA Debit card was accepted at the same locations. – gerrit Mar 30 '15 at 14:16
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    I have definitely had the experience of not being able to hire a car in France with only a debit card, so I don't think you should just rely on it all being fine. It was Alamo/National at Grenoble Airport in 2007, with a UK visa debit card if that makes a difference. I booked over the internet using the same card, but apparently you needed an actual credit not debit card to collect the car. (Someone else I was travelling with had a credit card, which solved our problem.) – djr Mar 30 '15 at 21:46
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    @AleksG because when I called, even if their terms and conditions stated that you can use a debit card at rental time, on the phone they are saying it is not possible. So I thought it was a necessary step in order to ask the next question. – Bogdan Popa Apr 1 '15 at 8:08

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