The car rental security deposit — a thorn in many renters’ sides. Either attached to your credit card or debit card (or, in some cases, a cash payment), a security deposit is an expensive way to tie up your available cash or credit. Sure, a refund is provided once you return the vehicle safe and sound, but wouldn’t it be nice to avoid paying this charge every time you rent a car? So can you get a car rental with no deposit required?

In This Article:

  • Can You Rent a Car Without a Security Deposit?

  • Options for Making a Security Deposit

  • Security Deposit Requirements for Each Major Rental Car Company

Can You Rent a Car Without a Security Deposit?

Yes, it would be nice to rent a car without worrying about a security deposit. Unfortunately, you are unlikely to find a car rental company in the United States that will rent a car without a security deposit. All major U.S. car rental companies require customers put down some type of security deposit to secure a vehicle. Allowing people to drive off in a vehicle with no security deposit is extremely risky for rental companies. If a vehicle is lost, stolen, or in an accident, the car rental company could lose tens of thousands of dollars.

The only place you are likely to find a car company willing to rent a vehicle with no security deposit is in international vacation destinations. A company called Sunny Cars, for example, will allow people to drive off in a vehicle with no deposit at all — credit, debit, or cash. But this no-deposit option is only available in destinations like Ibiza, Majorca, The Canary Islands, Greece, and Portugal. This may be good for people vacationing abroad, though expect these rental vehicles to be well-used. Here in the U.S, expect to pay a security deposit anytime you rent a car, though there may be some flexibility in how you make the security deposit.

Options for Making a Security Deposit

Credit cards remain the most common way to place a security deposit for a rental vehicle, although some companies now allow people to use a select number of debit cards and even cash when making a security deposit. But using an alternative form of payment other than a credit card often requires people to adhere to a number of conditions that can be time consuming and more expensive than simply using a valid credit card to make a security deposit.

The typical security deposit that is charged by the leading car rental companies is $200. But keep in mind that security deposits are refunded once the vehicle is returned safely to the car rental company.

Although you cannot rent a car without providing the car rental company with a security deposit, security deposit requirements vary from one company to the next. We therefore provided you with a list of the major car rental companies and their security deposit requirements.

Security Deposit Requirements for Each Major Rental Car Company

Every rental car company publishes their policies and procedures for renting a vehicle on their corporate website. We gathered the following information directly from the websites of leading national car rental companies in the US:

1. Alamo

  • Payment Method(s): Allows deposit payment with a credit card or debit card with the Visa, MasterCard, or Discover logo.
  • Deposit Amount: Security deposit of $200 is required at time of reservation when paying with a credit card.
  • Details: Security deposit and payment must be made by a valid credit card, and the name on the card much match the name of the person renting a vehicle.
  • Visit the Alamo website

2. Avis

  • Payment Method(s): Does not allow payment with a debit card or cash; only with a credit card.
  • Deposit Amount: Security deposit of $200 is required at time of reservation.
  • Details: Security deposit and payment must be made with a valid credit card.
  • Visit the Avis website

3. Budget

  • Payment Method(s): Will allow payment of the security deposit with a debit card at some rental locations – it is up to the individual rental office.
  • Deposit Amount: The security deposit can be as high as $500 when paying with a debit card. The cost when using a Visa, MasterCard or Discover card is $200, or 25% of the rental charge, whichever is greater.
  • Details: Security deposits cannot be made using cash. Credit cards are the preferred method for making security deposits.
  • Visit the Budget website

4. Dollar Rent-A-Car

  • Payment Method(s): Allows people to make a security deposit with a debit card if the card is linked to Visa, MasterCard, or Discover.
  • Deposit Amount: The typical security deposit charged is $350, or 15% of the estimated rental charge, whichever is greater.
  • Details: At airport locations, people using a debit card to make a security deposit will be required to provide proof of a return airline flight and two pieces of government issued I.D.
  • Visit the Dollar website

5. Enterprise

  • Payment Method(s): Debit cards can be used to rent a car in select locations, provided they have the Visa, MasterCard, or Discover logo.
  • Deposit Amount: The required security deposit can be as low as $200 if paying with a credit card, and as high as $300 if paying with an approved debit card.
  • Details: Deposits by cash are not accepted. The preferred method of paying a security deposit is a valid credit card.
  • Visit the Enterprise website

6. E-Z Rent-A-Car

  • Payment Method(s): Debit cards and cash are not acceptable forms of payment.
  • Deposit Amount: Credit card security deposit of $200, or 30% of the estimated rental cost
  • Details: In addition to Visa, MasterCard, and Discover, E-Z also accepts American Express and Diner’s Club International credit cards.
  • Visit the E-Z website

7. Fox Rent-A-Car

  • Payment Method(s): Only accepts the security deposit in the form of a credit card.
  • Deposit Amount: Requires a security deposit of $150.
  • Details: Cash and debit cards are not accepted forms of payment.
  • Visit the Fox website

8. Hertz

  • Payment Method(s): Accepts the use of debit cards to make a security deposit, provided the card is linked to Visa, MasterCard, or Discover.
  • Deposit Amount: A security deposit of $200 is placed on the debit or credit card.
  • Details: If making the security deposit using a debit card, people must also provide proof of a return airline flight to coincide with the rental and present two valid forms of government-issued identification. Cash is not an acceptable form of payment.
  • Visit the Hertz website

9. National

  • Payment Method(s): Allows payment with a debit card if the card is linked to Visa, MasterCard, or Discover.
  • Deposit Amount: A security deposit of $200 is required at the time a reservation is made.
  • Details: Credit cards are preferred for security deposits, including the Network and JCB cards. Cash security deposits and rentals are permitted at select locations, and under specific conditions, including proof of employment and an additional charge of $500.
  • Visit the National website

10. Rent-A-Wreck

  • Payment Method(s): A security deposit is made at the time of reservation.
  • Deposit Amount: Security deposit of $150 must be made using a valid credit card.
  • Details: Debit cards and cash are not accepted when making a security deposit.
  • Visit the Rent-A-Wreck website

11. Sixt Rent a Car

  • Payment Method(s): Allows people to rent a car without a credit card, provided they use a debit card and present two forms of government-issued identification.
  • Deposit Amount: A deposit of $200 is required at the time a reservation is made.
  • Details: People wishing to rent a car without a credit card must provide a return airline ticket upon pick-up at an airport rental location. Customers without a credit card may also be required to present two recent utility bills that match the name and address on the driver’s license. Rentals without a credit card or security deposit are limited to economy class vehicles.
  • Visit the Sixt website

12. Thrifty

  • Payment Method(s): Allows people to rent a car without a credit card.
  • Deposit Amount: Usually requires a cash deposit in lieu of a credit card that is $200.
  • Details: Still performs a credit check on each driver. Customers with a credit card are unable to rent luxury vehicles.
  • Visit the Thrifty website

13. U-Save

  • Payment Method(s): People can rent a car with a credit card or debit card; a $20 “convenience fee” is charged on the rental when using a debit card.
  • Deposit Amount: A $400 deposit, cash or debit, is required if renting without a credit card.
  • Details: At airport rental locations, proof of a return airline ticket must be shown at the time of vehicle pick-up.
  • Visit the U-Save website

In Summary

So can you get a car rental with no deposit required? Basically, no. All the major car rental companies in the U.S. require a security deposit of some kind when renting a vehicle. While some companies give customers the option of paying a security deposit with cash or a debit card, the majority of rental car companies still require a credit card to secure one of their vehicles. Cash or debit card security deposits may be higher than credit card deposits, and additional rental requirements may exist.