While a credit card comes in handy for renting a car, some Budget car-rental locations will accept a debit card instead. Even locations that do not allow use of a debit card at the time you pick up a vehicle may accept a debit card to pay the bill when you return it.
Ask the Local Budget Representative
Budget typically requires a credit card before releasing a rented car to a driver, but some locations will allow a debit card to be used instead. To determine whether the Budget location in mind allows debit cards to be used at the time of rental, visit the "Find a location" page on Budget's website, and then enter the location information in the search box. Select the desired Budget location, then click "Additional information" for the detailed terms specific to that location. Otherwise, call the desired budget location and ask the representative if a debit card can be used when picking up a vehicle.
The Downside of Using a Debit Card
While a debit card is a handy alternative to a credit card when renting a car, there is a downside. Budget will place a hold on the card as a form of security deposit. This means some of the funds in your account will be unavailable during the time of the rental; potentially even a few days longer. The amount of the hold varies, depending on the length of rental period and the total rental price, plus the discretion of the Budget location. Budget's rental terms state that the hold at a corporate-owned Budget location could cost more than a similar hold on a credit card. When you use a credit card, for instance, the hold amount is the total estimated rental fee, plus the greater of 25 percent or $200. For a debit card, the hold ranges from a minimum of $100 to a minimum of $500, depending upon the Budget location and type of rental. In any case, this could mean a hefty, but temporary, drain of funds available in the account linked to the debit card.
Age and Credit Restrictions
Even if the Budget location you've selected allows use of a debit card to rent a vehicle, this option isn't available to all drivers. Budget only allows those age 25 and older to use a debit card to reserve a vehicle. Budget also performs a credit check whenever a driver attempts to reserve a vehicle with a debit card to ensure credit-worthiness.