Rental Car Payment Methods

by William

When renting a car, there are various payment methods available. While some are better than others, it is ultimately up to the person renting the car to decide what is best based on their financial situation. To address the different ways a person may prefer or need to pay for the rental car, here are the pros and cons of rental car payment methods.

Rental Car Payment Methods

Credit Card:

This is the most universally used rental car payment method. Credit cards are the only payment method that is accepted at every rental car company. Not only will they make renting a car hassle free and easier for both the company and the person renting the vehicle, but discounts and rebates can simply be implemented through credit cards. If you decide not to use a credit card, it is important to check with the rental car company as this may be the only form of payment accepted. Also, many rental car companies may allow the payment to be made differently, but require that a credit car is used to hold the reservation. If you wish to pay with a different method, check with the company to see if this is possible as well.

Debit Card:

While many car rental companies accept this payment method, don’t think that a debit card works the same way as a credit card. To cover any unforeseen accidents or problems, you may be charged more than the actual cost of renting the car. While you will be reimbursed in the future, remember the money will not be returned until after the car is returned. So if money is tight during a vacation or trip, make sure to check with the rental car company about extra charges and fees. Also, if the reservation was made with a credit card then paid with a debit card, it may take days or weeks for the original transaction to be cancelled and the money to be returned.


Cash is almost never accepted to pick up a car, unless it is with a small or home rental car company. Sometimes, cash is accepted at drop off, but this can be rare as well. Even if cash is accepted, there can be many limitations. Certain car makes and models may not be available to cash payers. Also, like a debit card, there will be a surcharge to cover anything extra. While this will be returned in the mail at a later date, it may take a while and is ultimately an inconvenience. However, even getting a car rental company to accept a cash payment is a feat. Expect a lot of paper work and a long background check. An investigation may be performed so expect to disclose contact information and previously paid bills.

Pre-paid Voucher:

This is a great idea for people traveling abroad or with complex travel arrangements. Discussing this car payment method with a travel agent is the best idea, and the voucher can be redeemed directly at the rental car company. Since it is pre-paid, be ready to pay for the rental car when meeting with travel agent. And while credit cards are usually preferred, many people choose this method because they prefer to pay with a check or cash.

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