How To Rent A Car With Bad Credit


Bad credit can jump up and bite you in the most unexpected of places, like at a car rental agency counter. You show up with a debit card because money is money, right? They can take the rental cost right out of your account immediately, thanks to the wonder of modern digital transactions.

Unfortunately, most car rentals will not be satisfied unless you have a credit card. Once you take a look at the equation from their side of the counter, the problem becomes more clear why they consider you to be a risk. Keep reading, though.

I’ll show you how to rent a car with bad credit. People do it every day, and you can too.

Related: Can You Prepay A Car Lease With Bad Credit?

There is a process to follow to learn how to rent a car with bad credit, and here it is.

Step 1: Get A Debit Card

Even if tarnished credit keeps you from getting a credit card, there’s no reason you can’t get a debit card, even if it is of the pre-paid variety. Let’s make that the first order of business. Of course, the best option is to open a checking account and get a debit card from a traditional bank.

At least then the bank can vouch for you. If your credit is REALLY bad, or you have any item on the banks’s laundry list of bad risks, you might be turned down, but don’t let that get you down.

Pre-paid debit cards are easily available from a variety of locations like Wal-mart, convenience stores – almost anywhere. These cards look legit because they are. For now, this is your debit card so treat it with care.

Related: Can You Lease A Car For A Year? Would Short Term Leasing Be Better For Me?

Step 2: Comparison Shop

The best way to find success when renting a car with bad credit is to give yourself enough time to call around to several agencies and ask questions. Walking up to a counter the day you’re ready to head off into the wild blue yonder will likely lead to frustration and maybe a vacation that ends before it begins.

Tell each company rep you get on the phone that you plan to use a debit card. Ask if there are any restrictions? Do they require an additional deposit? Do they screen debit card holders for credit? The truth is you are liable to find a spectrum of responses.

A locally owned rental agency might be fine with accepting debit cards, perhaps without a credit check. The bottom line is you need to comparison shop in this situation. Be aware that a national franchise will be less likely to deviate from policy.

Step 3: Get Ready For A Deposit

As a debit card payer at most major car rental agencies, you will almost certainly to be asked to deposit additional money or will have extra money charged to the card. This is refundable; you get it back when you return the car undamaged and topped off with fuel.

Depending upon your financial situation, the amount may feel substantial, perhaps as much as $500.If they temporarily charge it to the debit card, you won’t be able to access the money until it is released, which takes up to 10 days in some case.

This is another reason you should make preparations ahead of time when renting a car with bad credit – like saving for the increased deposit.

Step 4: Gather Your Information Ahead Of Time

It will be a good idea to have some idea of what your credit score is before showing up at the car rental agency. You will also need proof of your current address and auto insurance policy.

If you’re picking up from an airport, they may want to see your itinerary. It’s imperative that this information matches what is on your driver’s license and debit card.

Once again, allow extra time for the the reps to peruse your information. It almost certainly will take more time than if you were able to provide a credit card.Stay patient. Don’t rant and rave. That will certainly NOT help your cause.

Related: What Are The Advantages Of Leasing A Car Instead Of Buying One?

Step 5: When All Else Fails

If credit checks and required extra deposits are too much for your financial situation to handle, there are two options to consider. Check with the Alamo agency, which has been known to waive these requirements for those with debit cards. Call the nearest one to verify that that is, in fact, still the case when you’re ready to rent.

Your other option would be to find a Rent-a-Wreck dealer. These are few and far between when compared to the major franchises at airports, but a detour might be well worth the ability to rent a vehicle with cash, no strings attached.

This is probably the only place left in America where you can rent a car with cash. Expect the selection to be thin and likely older cars with larger numbers on the odometer. It’s better than walking, right?

Obviously, having acceptable credit is the preferred course of action, but sometimes bad things happen to good people and the result is a scrawny credit score. Stay positive. The good news about bad credit is that you can rebuild and often faster than you think, sometimes a matter of months or maybe a year.

Until then, now you know how to rent a car with bad credit. If you found this article helpful please leave a comment below or share it with your friends.

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