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    Can I book a car hire without a credit card?

    To pay for your car hire booking and any additional insurance options etc., Auto Europe's booking system will allow you to pay for your reservation by national or international credit card. If you yourself do not have a credit card in your name, it is possible to use another person´s credit card to pay for the booking. Please note however, that paying for the rental reservation on the Auto Europe booking system and putting down the mandatory deposit for the car rental with the local car hire supplier at the time of pick up, are two completely different processes.

    This means that when picking up the rental car at the rental company counter, the main driver named in the booking and on the voucher is responsible for paying for the security deposit and must present a valid credit card in his or her name. Any additional surcharges or fees such as one-way rentals, young driver fees, etc. are also to be paid directly at the counter unless otherwise specified. All car hire suppliers accepts credit cards for this purpose, in some cases a debit card is also accepted, but the card, regardless of the card type, must always be made out in the name of the main driver as stated on the rental voucher.

    FAQs about car hire without a credit card

    What is a deposit?

    The car hire company entrusts you with a vehicle that is worth much more than the rental price you paid for. A deposit is therefore a security against possible damage to the rental car, but also - depending on the fuel policy - an empty fuel tank, unpaid tolls or similar unpaid items after the car hire is returned. The amount of the deposit varies depending on vehicle category and supplier and can be found under the blue 'Info Icon' – 'Mandatory Deposit Information' before selecting a specific rental model and also under 'Book your Car Rental' -> 'Important Information' -> 'Mandatory Deposit Information' before completing the reservation.

    Important information during the booking process
    All above-listed prices and fees are for example purposes only.

    The deposit amount will be blocked on the main driver's credit card upon pick-up and released again after the vehicle has been returned in accordance with the contract. Please make sure that your credit card limit can cover both the rental car deposit and any other payments that you plan to make with the credit card during this period. For example, if you want to pay any additional costs for supplementary equipment, additional coverage packages for the car hire, or other holiday costs such as hotel or restaurant bills, and so on. Please also make sure that you have your credit card PIN memorized as most of the payment terminals require a PIN and authentication via signature is not sufficient.


    Why do car hire companies prefer a credit card for the security deposit?

    In addition to the points already mentioned in the previous question, there are other reasons that can pose a certain financial risk for car hire supplier. Firstly in the event of damage, the costs could exceed the deposit paid. Although there is usually a deductible in the event of damage, this does not include all parts of the vehicle.

    Secondly the supplier might also receive fines months later, i.e. well after the rental was returned and the security deposit block released. Therefore, most car rental companies prefer that the deposit is paid by credit card.


    Is it possible to leave a deposit for your car hire without a credit card?

    Yes, some car rental companies offer this service. However, this may not be possible at every pick-up location and can vary depending on the country, pick-up location - city office or airport counter -, or vehicle category. In addition, the selection of rental vehicles and categories can be severely limited. Please note that you may need to meet additional requirements in order to be able to leave a deposit for your car hire without credit card, such as purchasing extra insurance coverage during the rental period. This may or may not be the case and is always determined by the terms and conditions of each supplier. During the booking process please make sure you inform yourself if debit cards are accepted and if so, which ones. You can find this information under the blue 'Info Icon' -> 'Supplier Payment Policy Information' and in the 'Important information' below the 'Booking your car rental'. Once again, please note that the debit card must be in the name of the main driver. The deposit amount will then be charged directly to the main drivers account and returned at the end of the rental.

    You also have the option of filtering out offers without a deposit during the booking process by clicking on the 'deposit' - 'no deposit' above the vehicle list. However, please note that deposit-free offers are not available for every destination.


    What's the difference between a credit and a debit card?

    Debit cards are payment cards that are used to charge the amount payable to the cardholder's bank account immediately after the transaction. These include Visa and MasterCard circuits that are often linked to the debit card systems of international financial service providers so that they can also be used abroad.

    Credit cards are the only means of payment with a credit line that serves as security for the car rental company. The deposit amount is thus only blocked/pre-authorised and released again after the vehicle has been returned in accordance with the contract. Some credit card companies such as Visa or MasterCard issue debit cards in addition to credit cards. Both look almost identical (they can be distinguished by the small imprint 'Debit' or 'Credit'), but - as mentioned above - have completely different billing functions.

    All suppliers accept credit cards for the security deposit and as a mean of payment for other on-site extras and local fees. It is important to note which credit cards your car rental company accepts. During the booking process you will find this information under the blue 'Info Icon' -> 'Supplier Payment Policy Information'; and under 'Booking your car rental' -> 'Important Information' -> 'Supplier Payment Policy Information' and of course on the voucher you receive once your booking is completed.

    Some rental companies also accepts debit cards for the security deposit. In this case, the deposit amount is immediately debited on your account and refunded upon car return; the supplier could also make additional demands (see also FAQ 5). As these are exceptions, it is important that you clarify this during the booking process. You can also find this information under the the blue 'Info Icon' and the 'Booking information'.


    What are the requirements to hire a car with a debit card?

    Should the car rental company allow for a car hire with a debit card, it is important to understand in advance what type of debit card they accept. Moreover, at the time of pick up, the the supplier may also ask that certain requirements, such as taking out additional insurance for the rental period, regardless of whether you have already booked another protection option for your rental car or not, are met. These additional insurances can be relatively expensive, but it might also reduce the deposit amount or even eliminate the deposit all together. Another possibility is that the supplier increases the amount of the deposit or asks for documents that confirm a regular income. Please note that this may or may not be the case, it always depends on the terms and conditions of your car chosen rental supplier.

    Please inform yourself of your chosen car hire supplier's policy during the reservation process under the blue 'Info Icon' - 'Supplier payment policy information' and below the 'Booking Information' under 'Important Information' - 'Supplier Payment Policy Information'.


    What are the advantages of using a credit card for the security deposit?

    Paying for the deposit with a credit card is not only beneficial for your car rental company, but also for you. For example, you will have a full range of car rental deals at your disposal since credit card deposits are a global standard. There may be restrictions for cardholders of certain credit cards, such as American Express or Diners. To be sure, please verify under the blue 'Info Icon' - 'Supplier payment policy information' and below the 'Booking information' under 'Important information' - 'Supplier payment policy information', which credit cards are accepted.

    Some credit cards even include different types of travel insurances; you can find out which insurance applies to a payment with your card in the terms and conditions of your credit card company.

    Another big plus of credit cards is that the deposit is only blocked and then released after the vehicle has been returned in accordance with the contract. This is usually faster than debiting and reversing the deposit to a bank account. In general if you use a credit card to place your security deposit, you should not incur any transaction fees or losses due to exchange rate changes since the deposit amount is only blocked and not debited.

    To ensure that your car hire pick-up is as smooth as possible, we strongly advise you to find out more about the payment, deposit and deposit restrictions in the terms and conditions of the car rental company during the booking process. All important information can easily be found under the blue 'Info Icon' and below the 'Book your car rental' under 'Important information'.

    If you have any questions, simply contact our reservations team that will be happy to advise you over telephone on +44 123 3225 114.