I did a lot between the ages of 20 and 25. I studied overseas. I graduated from college and got a Master’s Degree. I traveled to 15 countries and at least that many states. I interned for President Reagan. And I met the woman who, 10 years later, would become my wife. The one thing I didn’t do: rent a car with a debit card. Of course renting a car is a more difficult/expensive proposition for a 20-25 year old anyway, but until now it’s been virtually impossible for a 20-25 year old with a debit card.
Debit Cards for Car Rentals
And it’s not just 20-25 year olds who have found it difficult to rent a car using a debit card. Anyone using a debit card has traditionally had to show a copy of his/her return ticket and multiple forms of ID, including proof of residence. Plus, there’s been a credit check, and typically a sizable security deposit taken from the account, and then proof of insurance. Each rental location can have its own policies, and require even more paperwork.
While the rental car company is just trying to make sure that it can trust you to return its car in a few days, it’s not a family-friendly process. Travel is stressful enough. By the time you get to the rental counter you’ve already had to wait in check-in and security lines, possibly deal with flight delays, sit in a tight airplane seat, and then wait for your luggage. The rental process should be easy, with a credit card or a debit card, and regardless of your age. And now, Dollar Car Rental concurs.
Dollar Car Rental’s New Debit Card Policy
Dollar understands the stress of family travel, and the historic hassle of using debit cards to rent, and has just overhauled its debit card policy accordingly. Specifically:
- They eliminated credit checks.
- They reduced their proof of return travel and ID requirements. Rentals booked more than 24 hours in advance will only require a debit card and Driver’s License. (Rentals booked for less than 24 hours will require two forms of identification and proof of return travel.)
- They lowered the renter age restriction from 25 to 20 when renting with a debit card.
- They reduced the incidental hold amount from $350 to up to $200 for debit cards to match credit card rentals.
Why A Debit Card?
So why would you want to use a debit card instead of a credit card in the first place? A lot of people prefer debit cards, or are restricted to using a debit card. Maybe you’re still in college and have a debit card tied to your parents’ account. Maybe you have bad credit. Maybe you want to make sure that you don’t overspend. Maybe you’re overseas and a credit card would charge a foreign transaction fee. Whatever the reason, you shouldn’t be penalized for using a debit card to rent a car.
The Importance of Renting Cars
And it’s not like you want to travel without a rental car. We’ve seen amazing places around the world that we couldn’t have gotten to without rentals. We routinely explore the south of France. We rented a villa in Tuscany a few years ago and explored Tuscany and Umbria every day with the kids in our rental car. We’ve driven all around the South Island of New Zealand. And there’s a great, remote restaurant on the Greek island of Naxos that you can only get to in a car.
So what are you waiting for? Book a trip, then head to dollar.com to rent your car and explore with your kids. And don’t stress if you’re renting with a debit card!
Thank you to Dollar for sponsoring this post. All text and photos are mine.