For some of us who don’t have credit cards – either because you haven’t got a good credit rating yet, or you just don’t believe in paying outrageous fees and staggering interest rates – hiring a car has been a bit of a nightmare recently. Most car hire companies demand a credit card these days – even if you offer a holding deposit, plus proof of car hire and travel insurance.
Well, good news folks, Hertz, Dollar and Thrifty have just announced customers can now rent a car using a valid debit card in a host of countries across Europe. The new payment option gives customers with a Mastercard debit card, and other recognised debit cards, access to standard car and van rentals at key European locations, opening up the rental market for new users just as we start the summer holiday season. The updated policy applies to Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Slovakia, mainland Spain and the United Kingdom.
Tracy Gehlan, Senior Vice President, Hertz Europe, commented: "A significant number of people do not have access to a credit card or simply prefer to use their debit card for certain transactions. The new 'pay your own way' option is all about offering customers greater flexibility, convenience and choice in how they rent from us, putting them in the driving seat."
Mauro Fiorentino, Vice President of Merchant Partnerships at Mastercard commented: "We know people's choice of how to pay differs, so it's essential we work together with partners like Hertz to broaden acceptance and give customers that choice in how to pay. Enabling Debit Mastercard acceptance at Hertz, Dollar and Thrifty is a major step forward and it will improve the overall customer experience for our cardholders across Europe."
Customers using a debit card will undergo the same ID and driver licence checks before renting a car or van. A pre-authorised deposit for the vehicle will be held on the customer's account, so make sure you have the cash available on top of the money you need for your trip. Once the vehicle has been returned, the reserved amount/deposit is released – less any owed charges for fuel, unpaid road tolls or fines you might have incurred on the road.
Typically, it can take four to seven days for the customer's deposit to appear back in their account, depending on the card issuer. Hertz advises customers to check with their card issuer for further details. Lonely Planet advises you read about some of their staffers best European road trips and get road trip planning.