CAR RENTALS WITHOUT A CREDIT CARD?

Old Feb 10th, 2006, 04:06 AM
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CAR RENTALS WITHOUT A CREDIT CARD?

Our friends are going to Germany in June and asked us if we knew any companies that rented cars without a credit card so I came here to ask the fodor's people if they knew any? I always rent from SIXT and they require
one, does anyone know if they can rent without a credit card?
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Old Feb 10th, 2006, 04:59 AM
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It's not impossible.

Some companies do accept cash deposits. Both Holiday Autos and Autoeurope claim to have partners in their system (not necessarily in Germany) who accept non-credit card customers, and you should contact their customer services depts and ask direct. Typically, you then pay the intermediary in cash or cheque upfront and get a voucher. Credit card usage in Germany remains relatively low by rich-country standards.

At various times of acute financial crisis, Mrs F and I have found that ringing round each local car hire company always reveals companies with this enlightened policy, even when the multinational majors were being difficult about it - but it helps to make the call to a real person, locally.
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Old Feb 10th, 2006, 06:37 AM
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It's my understanding that some other countries (maybe Germany?)strictly limit how much credit debt you are allowed. In some places as little as $1200 so many people don't have cards or must get secured cards.
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Old Feb 10th, 2006, 08:40 AM
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Suggest you log on to www.gemut.com and contact them about your friend's problem. They provide discounted AutoEurope rates and are known to be very helpful to their customers.
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Old Feb 10th, 2006, 09:40 AM
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jeffwill4you, it's an interesting question. I checked another major car rental supplier (hertz.de) and it seems that not only can one not book without a credit card, but one can settle the bill in cash only if one is a German resident. Even that is a little ambiguous - there are various cash equivalents accepted under certain conditions, including MCOs (miscellaneous charge orders) but as far as I can tell, these are only accepted from certain known registered firms (e.g. airlines.)Then there's something called a 'Full Credit Voucher' (FCV) and a One Trip Travel Order (OTTO) and I've no idea what these are, perhaps you could call hertz and ask. Again, it doesn't sound like any of these would be accepted as security, only as payment upon return of the car.

If your friends have had trouble securing a credit card, perhaps they could check with their bank and explain the problem. Perhaps the bank could set up a special limited line of credit (say to the value of the car) and a letter attesting to same - but this would still have to be cleared with the rental car company as being acceptable. Good luck.
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Old Feb 10th, 2006, 10:17 AM
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I'm not an expert on German rental car policies - but every time we have rented a car in europe - including Germany - we have been required to use a credit card. And in some cases - for luxury cars- they would take only an American Express card (due to the no limit policy).

I know that in some places in the US you can rent without a credit card - but the place is usually of the rent-a-wreck variety - and requires a sizeable cash deposit.

Recently was in Hertz in New York and some Irish tourists tried to rent a car (SUV since there were 5 of them) and they were denied since their combined credit cards didn;t have enough credit (either they had been maxed out - or had limits put on hold by hotels etc). They all had to go to ATMs and pull out cash to leave a $1,000 cash - as well as buy maximum insurance to cover any damages - deposit before they were allowed to rent the car.
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Old Feb 10th, 2006, 03:28 PM
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Hi J,

couldn't your friends get a credit card solely for the purpose of renting a car?

They don't have to max it out.

Also, it is hard to get credit when you neeed it (buying a house) if you don't have a credit record.

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Old Feb 10th, 2006, 03:35 PM
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Hmmm...

You'll get a lot of follow-up replies telling you that they will be unable to rent a car because of their age. I know better, and I have posted details on companies that will rent a car to drivers over age 21 (over 19 in some cases) here on this forum. You can find that here by searching. I'm sure that I am not the only who can help find such information.

My views on building a credit history may be similar to those expressed by ira. We oversaw the acquisition of credit cards for all three of our daughters - - five, seven and nine years ago when they turned sixteen. We also saw that they got appropriate education about spending and saving. I don't equate getting a credit card with getting "over their heads in debt". In fact, I don't think that any of them has any month-to-month credit card debt.

But our oldest daughter and her husband do have a mortgage.
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Old Feb 10th, 2006, 03:51 PM
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One thing about traveling and credit cards. Many hotels require a credit card to "hold" your reservation even if you pay for the room in cash when you check out. Also, it's always good to have a credit card for emergencies.
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Old Feb 10th, 2006, 04:07 PM
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The following information might be very useful to your friends if they do decide to rent a car in Europe

http://www.rudymaxa.com/article.php?ArticleID=99

If they decide they cannot rent have they considered alternate forms of (public) transport. realistically, they may have to do so.
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Old Feb 10th, 2006, 04:50 PM
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As an aside - I have cut up my credit cards and never, ever wish to have another one. My bank debit card has a Visa facility which can be used in circumstances like this, but it means that the funds are in my bank account and not taken as "credit".
As for US bashing, there are different attitudes to credit from both sides of the pond. Having travelled extensively in the US, I know that to admit to not having a CC is akin to having two heads (at least the looks I get suggest so). In the UK it would be seen these days as being prudent not to own one as many of the money gurus (such as Alvin Hall) lecture you not to own one. Credit ratings in the UK is a little different from the US as it is not something that is built up over many years. Most people in the UK have a mortgage and buy cars on credit very easily - I was able to get my first CC at 19 years old without any previous credit history. Having no history is better than a bad history.
There has been much talk here recently about a teen magazine offering a credit card-like facility where the parents top the card up with funds. The criticism is that it is just getting youngsters to see credit as a right - indeed if you admitted here to giving your 16 year olds a credit card you would be seen as a completely reckless parent (no matter how much supervision is taken). It is just a matter of different cultures.
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Old Feb 10th, 2006, 08:55 PM
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I have a question about a no credit card car rental. In Europe, if you have no credit card to secure the contract, will the renting agency demand and/or force the renter to take collision insurance?

Liability is built into the rates, but my understanding is that the collision damage protection, if you are at fault, is always extra. Last year, I took the Auto Europe offer because for one fee I could get collision coverage as well as liability coverage.

Yes, there are stories that you can collect on your credit card. But, I was not in the market for a trip marring experience when I could buy local protection for what seemed to me to be a reasonable price.

One reason for using my credit card is convenience. That way I don't need a big roll of money in my possession.

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Old Feb 10th, 2006, 09:29 PM
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The short answer is that you'd be mighty foolish not to take the insurance out anyway but I'm not sure of the legality of such an arrangement. Like Rex said, the rental company are allowing you to drive off with thousands of pounds/dollars/euros worth of car and they need some kind of assurance that you'll come back (mind you, it's a bit of a stupid argument because if you only have a credit limit of, say, $2000 then a fat lot of good that'll do the rental company if you never come back - so that argument holds no water).
More realistically, the rental company wants a source of your money that it can tap into when you've given the car back and they invoke their small-print and the penalties involved for something as petty as bringing back a dirty car. Been there, seen it, cried at the statement and spent days arguing with the rental company trying to prove I was no longer in their country when the car was involved in an accident the day after I handed it back!
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Old Feb 11th, 2006, 03:02 AM
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Again, thank you for your advice I have passed it on to my friends. Also, to those of you who said something about the car company giving a $20,000 vehicle to just drive away with! I didn't ask if they could rent a car on their good looks and a smile, I asked if they could rent without a credit card! I was thinking maybe one of you had an experience with or heard of a company that would let you leave your return plane tickets,cash,debit card,etc. as a form of id to rent, that's all I was asking.
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Old Feb 11th, 2006, 03:06 AM
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Hi Bob,

>if you have no credit card to secure the contract, will the renting agency demand and/or force the renter to take collision insurance?<

Almost always.

They are also likely to ask for a cash deposit to cover the deductible.


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Old Feb 11th, 2006, 06:23 AM
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jeffwill4you: W/ the double whammy of no credit card and their ages - If I were you I'd really try to steer them to trains. Even after they find a rental agency, they then will have the problem that some will not rent to under-25's at all, and some will only with extra fees and much larger deposits.

Either problem can be got around - but having both to deal with makes it even harder.
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Old Feb 11th, 2006, 10:54 AM
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Don;t want to start another argumnet but it seems to me massively foolhardy to travel anywhere without at least one credit card - never mind to live without one.

And no one says you have to get into debt. It's no different from cash - just don;t spend more than you can pay for.

Credit cards are gneraly required for car rentals, hotel reservations - and can be a sure source of additional cash in the case of emergency.

Also - when shopping - anything you put on a credit card is protected - if you pay cash and there is a problem you have no recourse - the seller wins and you are stuck. (Have used AmEx several times to resolve problems with purchases - always resolved in my favor.)

Obviously you need to use credit wisely - but as others have said - without a credit card history you have very little chance of ever getting a mortgage/owning a house - at least in the US.
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Old Feb 17th, 2006, 10:23 AM
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Credit card companies are not the most honorable group of companies and there is such a thing as principles.

While it might be "fool-hardy" to travel without at least one card, it might also be fool-hardy (over time and thinking globally) to support a business that relies on people's debt and has all the power of the contract and none of the responsibility. There was a great show on Frontline (PBS)recently that illustrates what I've been saying for years. And it's gotten worse with the new bankruptcy laws, etc...

When I get an pre-approved application in the mail, I send a denial letter stating the message in the last paragraph. If more people would do this, they would have to adjust their legalized usury. And while traveling is important to me, a just world is more important.

Some of us simply opt out of a bad system. I would encourage everyone do that. A debit card works just as well most of the time and does not have the contractual inequity of a credit card. I've had no trouble making reservations, paying hotel bills, or renting cars with either a debit card or up-front payment. And I feel less supportive of a sketchy enterprise.
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Old Feb 17th, 2006, 10:50 AM
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We LOVE our credit cards.

We charge everything we can--no matter how small or large the charge amount. Some mortgage companies now let you charge your mortgage--I wrote ours suggesting they provide this option.

We pay our bills in full every month so we've never paid a penny in interest, and we don't have any annual fee cards. Plus we get from 1%-5% back on every purchase we make depending on what we're buying.

We LOVE our credit cards.
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Old Feb 17th, 2006, 10:53 AM
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I have looked at most of the rental companies who rent cars in Europe and I believe they all said you most have a credit card in your name to pick the car up? What company did you use when you rented without a credit card dlhillster?
 
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