Rental car companies commonly use credit checks to determine creditworthiness when you book without using a major credit card. If you have a credit card, it means that you have credit history, so rental companies do not need to run a credit check to confirm this. If you don’t have a credit card, though, companies can view renting to you as a risk. Fortunately, some companies have changed their rental policies to help those who lack credit. Below, we’ve compiled the list of national car rental companies that don’t do credit checks, as well as those that do.
Note that we’ve only included car rental companies with clear policies regarding credit checks. There are many ride-sharing and franchised/independently owned car rental companies, but the credit check policies for these establishments tend to vary from one location to the next.
What We Recommend
For car rental companies that don’t do credit checks, that accept a wide range of payment methods, and that allow young renters, consider renting with National or Enterprise. Dollar also does not conduct a credit check, and it accepts debit cards at many locations, though policies may vary. Finally, Alamo does not conduct credit checks, but when you choose to pay with something other than a credit card, you cannot add additional drivers to your rental.
The following car rental companies do not require a credit check, even if you choose a form of payment other than a credit card, such as a debit card. There are also several companies that will allow you to reserve a rental car with a prepaid credit card, and some that will let you pay cash for your rental. We’ve ordered the list below starting with the best overall options.
1. National Car Rental
- Payment types accepted besides credit cards: Debit cards with the Visa, Mastercard, or Discover logo with proof of round-trip travel. Without proof of round-trip travel, a debit card can only be used as a form of payment at the time of return. Cash is accepted at the time of return only.
- Other requirements: You must be at least 21 years old to rent with National; a “Youthful Surcharge” may be applied for drivers 21 to 24.
- Book online
2. Enterprise Rent-A-Car
- Payment types accepted besides credit cards: Debit cards are accepted with proof of round-trip travel at the time of rental; an additional security deposit may be required. Cash is not accepted at the time of pick-up, but some locations will accept it as payment when you return your rental.
- Other requirements: An additional security deposit may be required, depending on the location. You must be at least 21 years of age to rent a car through Enterprise, and a young renter’s fee may be applied to the cost of your rental if you are between the ages of 21 and 24. U.S. government employees can rent if they are at least 18 years of age, provided that they show the renting office their official orders.
- Book online
You may also want to check out our research on Enterprise student discounts.
3. Dollar Car Rental
- Payment types accepted besides credit cards: At most locations, you may use a debit card. You may also pay up-front with a cash deposit if you have obtained a Cash Deposit Identification Card.
- Other requirements: You must be at least 20 years old to rent at most Dollar locations. There is also a Young Renter Fee for drivers under 25.
- Book online
4. Alamo Rent a Car
- Payment types accepted besides credit cards: Debit cards bearing the Visa, Mastercard, American Express, or Discover logo are accepted with proof of return or outbound trip.
- Other requirements: When paying with a debit card, you may not add additional drivers to your rental other than your spouse or domestic partner.
- Book online
You may also want to see our list of car rental companies that accept debit cards, or compare your rental options using our car rental selection tool.
Car Rental Companies That Do Perform Credit Checks
In the course of our research, we found that the following car rental companies require a major credit card or conduct a credit check when you use a debit card or other form of payment. Note that car rental companies may do a soft or hard pull when checking your credit. A hard pull shows up on your credit report and typically drops your score by a few points, while a soft credit pull does not affect your score. It is always best to ask the agent when renting a car if they will conduct a hard or soft pull.
- Avis Rent a Car
- Budget Car Rental
- Hertz (as previously reported)
- Thrifty Car Rental
- Turo (See our related research answering common questions about Turo.)