Fact Checked

Dollar and Thrifty make it easier to rent cars with your debit card

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Renting a car just got easier at many Dollar Car Rental locations in the U.S. as the company eases extra requirements for debit card rentals.

Dollar Car Rental announced that its corporately owned Dollar and Thrifty rental locations have changed their policies to make it easier to rent a car with a debit card. Here are some of the changes for debit card rentals:

  • No credit check
  • No required proof of return travel for some rentals if you book a rental more than 24 hours in advance
  • Temporary “hold” charge on debit cards is reduced to $200 from $350
  • A minimum rental age of 20, down from 25

Dollar and Thrifty are a big deal in the industry and could make rentals more accessible to those under 25 and to people with lower credit.

Want to know more?

What’s the backstory?

Although it’s been possible to rent a car with a debit card in the past, most major U.S. car rental companies have imposed extra steps for people paying with debit cards. Additional requirements at Dollar have included providing proof of a return and having credit scores of at least 660.

According to a New York Times report, these extra hurdles came from the assumption that debit card users posed more risk than people with credit cards, since debit cards are tied to bank accounts that might not have the necessary funds if a renter incurred extra charges.

But a Dollar representative told The New York Times that improved data analysis suggested that debit card use isn’t necessarily aligned with greater risk.

Why does this matter?

This change in the company’s policy could make the car-rental process less stressful for many, particularly those who are under 25 or have less-than-perfect credit.

Also, debit card users will have access to more of the money in their bank accounts now that the temporary hold has been decreased to $200 from $350.

But if you’re making a reservation less than 24 hours in advance and you’re picking up your rental at an airport, you’ll still need to show proof of return travel and two forms of ID. This also applies to the rental of luxury vehicles.

What’s next?

These new debit card rental policies will be implemented at all corporately owned Dollar and Thrifty locations. But franchise locations are still free to implement the policy at their discretion, since those are independently owned. If you plan to use a debit card during an upcoming trip, you can call your nearest Dollar or Thrifty location to confirm their debit card policy beforehand.

There are still requirements that come with using your debit card when renting a car from Dollar and Thrifty locations, but as long as you’re prepared with the necessary paperwork and funds in your checking account, you may find the new process to be a lot easier than before.


About the author: Paris Ward is a content strategist at Credit Karma, providing readers with the latest news that will aid their financial progress. She has more than a decade of experience as a writer an… Read more.