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Terms of payment on hertz.co.uk website are bit confusing with information regarding payment with debit cards. I reserved wanted a car with option 'Pay Later' and I tried to call the LAX Hertz office by telephone to clarify this — nobody answers the phone. Did anybody recently paid car rental only with a debit card at the LAX Hertz office? I own MasterCard debit card.

  • I would advise on getting a creditcard when going to the US, if only just as a backup. Most of the time stores, restaurants, hotels and car rentals accept debit card but every holiday I've experienced at least a few situations where a debit card was not accepted. – Summer Sep 22 '16 at 12:38
  • it's true that "traditionally" debit cards were useless for car rental, and you needed an actual credit card. however, "they have solved this problem". BUT be aware they put A LARGE "HOLD" on a LARGE AMOUNT (hundreds or more) on your debit card. it's that simple. – Fattie Sep 22 '16 at 14:03
  • and watch out for the absurd problem I experienced lately! while overseas, I forgot the PIN number on a credit card, for hell's sake ... what a fiasco. a good solution to that is, have some family member know and record your PIN: in a pinch you can call them and ask it! – Fattie Sep 22 '16 at 14:10
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Yes, you can reserve and pay for a car with a Debit card from the major agencies.

However, when you pick up the car, they will remind you many times that the Hold on a Debit card works a bit differently than a credit card. Meaning, the bank will hold several hundred US of your actual money to guarantee the charge.

If you need access to that cash, what you can do is reserve and rent with a Credit card, then settle with the Debit card. They have no problems doing this, but you may have to go to the counter to pay.

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US Car rental companies want a Credit Card on file for rental, to cover potential extra cost. For the real payment, you can use debit cards (or even cash); typically, when returning the car, they ask you if you want to pay with the credit card on file, or another card.

Having a debit card on file is no security for them, as they cannot access it if you disappear or the car gets damaged, or you simply keep it some days longer.

You will probably not be able to rent without having a credit card (in your name) to show and put on file. Note that this credit card will not be charged; it is just a 'insurance' for the rental company.

  • Debit cards with a visa or mastercard logo (which is nearly all of them these days) can be used functionally just like a credit card. So this objection is not true, generally speaking. And Hertz specifically allows rental with such a debit card – user35890 Sep 22 '16 at 13:15
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According to their site, yes, Hertz allows rental using a debit card at most locations (including LAX). (This is for debit cards with a Visa or Mastercard logo).

However, there are some additional requirements:

  • They will place a hold covering estimated rental charges (which may be higher than your actual charge if there is a promotion involved) plus $200 on your debit card.
  • They will likely perform a credit check, and you have to meet minimum requirements for them to rent to you (no information given on what these requirements are). It's not clear how this would be applied to someone who is not a U.S. resident.
  • You need to present two forms of ID (but as an international traveller you will already have your passport and driver's license, so this is no problem).

In short, you should not have a problem with this as long as your financial circumstances are pretty good, but it could make a difference in marginal cases.

Personally, I would just take out a credit card unless you have a good reason not to. Even if you never plan to use it, it is free and simple to open an account, and it's always useful to have a backup form of payment when travelling internationally.

The information can be found here, after you select LAX as your location and select "Forms of Payment" from the dropdown box.

  • There is no such thing as a 'hold' on Debit cards. and how would they make a credit check for someone not living in the US? That does not make much sense. – Aganju Sep 22 '16 at 13:26
  • @Aganju I am simply relating the information found on Hertz's site. I don't think you're right about holds on debit cards (if they have a Visa/MC logo and can also function as a credit card). Credit check on someone outside the U.S. is less clear and I'll mention that in the answer. – user35890 Sep 22 '16 at 13:39
  • @Aganju, there is indeed a pre-authorisation on Debit cards. An amount on your account is "earmarked" against possible future charges. It prevents you spending that money until released, which usually takes several days. Can cause a lot of problems if you do not normally keep a higher balance in your account. – djna Sep 22 '16 at 13:53
  • If you want to call this a 'pre-authorization', fine. For me that is a full charge, which might be reversed at a future day. An authorization means for me to have the right to take money later, not to take it right now and be able to return it later. In other words, you are prepaying the rental, and they promise to return the over-payment. – Aganju Sep 22 '16 at 13:56
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    as @dan1111 has clearly said a number of times, it's very much worth just getting some sort of credit card, if at all possible, for such a trip involving car rentals. – Fattie Sep 22 '16 at 14:06

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