Yes, you can usually use a debit card, a prepaid card, or even cash to rent a car. However, each rental company has its own rules on acceptable payment options, which often vary by location, and not paying with a credit card usually has certain consequences. Both Enterprise and Hertz allow you to use a prepaid card to pay for your vehicle rental. Some Enterprise locations only accept cash payments and money orders, while others allow you to secure your rent this way.
Hertz only accepts prepaid cards as a final payment. However, you'll need to provide a credit or debit card upon check-in to guarantee your rental. Keep in mind that this may not work abroad, where the acceptance of prepaid cards is extremely limited. If you're not a local and you're renting at an airport, you'll need to show proof of a roundtrip ticket and two government-issued forms of identification (locals can't use debit cards at airports at all).
You'll face some obstacles (additional identification requirements, limitations on the cars you can book, and even a credit check), but it's possible. While most companies accept debit cards, they look for specific types of cards and require you to take additional steps that may make the process more time consuming. For example, Avis offices in the tri-state area, Philadelphia, Mississippi, Louisiana and Hartford, CT, do not accept debit cards. For example, airport rental counters will require proof of a roundtrip ticket if you use a debit card, and not all rental locations can accept cash.
To begin with, many of them require you to be at least 25 years old and will perform a credit check before allowing you to rent a car. Airport rental counters require proof of a roundtrip ticket and place the withholding charges (plus a refundable deposit) on your debit card when you pick up the vehicle. Most companies hold your card to cover the estimated costs of your rental and will release these funds when you return the vehicle. Therefore, if someone else pays for the rental car you are going to drive, they will need to be present when you pick up the car to sign the documentation.
Most Payless airport locations accept debit cards for renting cars, as long as you have proof of a roundtrip ticket, although you can only use specific vehicle classes. If you find yourself in one of these situations, you can breathe a sigh of relief because you can rent a car without a credit card. Even after going through all the hurdles of renting with a debit card, you may face other restrictions as well. In addition to regular credit cards, Alamo also accepts old-fashioned debit cards and cash for renting a car (prepaid cards are not accepted).
So, even if you have enough credit available to cover the cost of rent and unforeseen expenses, renting a car with a credit card could make other purchases difficult to complete until the rental company releases the hold on your account. When renting with a debit card, National won't allow you to add additional drivers to the booking, which can be inconvenient if you're on a long road trip. A prepaid Visa card is a practical travel tool, since you can control your expenses by charging as much money as you want on the card.