How to rent a car with a cash deposit

Written by jennifer eblin
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Some car rental companies have begun to allow renters to use a debit card or cash to obtain a car. The policies vary, but often the travellers have to put down a large cash deposit, sometimes twice the cost of the rental.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Credit report
  • Valid driver's license
  • U.S. passport (optional)
  • Recent utility bill
  • Airline Ticket (optional)
  • Cash deposit

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  1. 1

    Call all the car rental companies that you're interested in and ensure that they offer cash-only rentals. Hertz, Thrifty, Alamo and Budget, along with others, allow this, but they don't advertise it. They prefer credit or debit cards used for the rental and they all have different regulations. Many companies also use franchises, with each franchise setting its own policies and regulations.

  2. 2

    Agree to complete a credit check or bring a copy of your up-to-date credit report. Car rental companies run a credit check on all people who rent with a debit card or cash because they want to ensure that they're renting to a responsible person. They'll either require you to bring one or submit to one prior to your rental.

  3. 3

    Gather the documentation that the car rental company requires. It requires a valid driver's license or a valid passport, a utility bill dated within the last 60 days that includes your home address and a copy of your bus/train/airline ticket if you're travelling into town by alternative means.

  4. 4

    Make a reservation for the smallest car that fits your need or situation. If you can handle an economy vehicle, pick that size. Most car companies place some type of ban on the vehicles rented with a debit card or cash, which prohibits the rental of larger vehicles. Select a smaller one to make the process easier.

  5. 5

    Bring a cash deposit in addition to the total fee for the rental. The cash deposit varies depending on the company, so check on this in advance. Hertz, for example, charges £130 over the total of the rental, while Alamo charges a deposit of £195-$500.

Tips and warnings

  • Check on the hold times for your deposit. All rental car companies hold the deposit until enough time has passed that they can inspect the vehicle for damages. It ranges from one day to two weeks.
  • Don't expect to walk into a rental car agency and get a car right away with cash. Most places require a reservation of up to six weeks before they'll rent to someone with cash only.

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