Few experiences let you feel like you’re driving off the beaten path on a road trip. Nothing can compare to the freedom you get from driving on the open roads of the country. You might have to put the brakes on your trip if you plan to rent a car without a credit card. Nothing will ruin a great vacation quite like a really expensive rental car. Even if you think about finding cheap flights and hotels, renting a car as a last-minute decision can cause you to spend more money than you would have if you did all the work beforehand.
There are a few tricks that frugal travelers can use to save money on a rental car. You may already have some tools that you can use, even if you’re not aware of them. It will take some effort and research to secure a low-cost rental car, but the savings will be well worth the effort.
Some rental car agencies are reluctant to rent to people who can’t or won’t use a credit card, but there are plenty of great ways to rent a car without a credit card. There are some companies that allow you to rent a car without a credit card, but the terms of those rentals are generally very restrictive. Car rental agencies have different policies depending on the type of car you want to rent and where you are traveling, so always check ahead to find out what their policies are.
Can You Rent a Car With Cash Only?
Cash payments are generally accepted when you return your rental car. Few rental companies will allow you to pay in cash when you reserve a car, and it comes with some very strict requirements.
For starters, you can’t rent a car that costs a lot of money, and you won’t be able to choose a car that is spacious and has a lot of features. Many companies require you to provide extensive paperwork in order to prove that you are who you say you are. This can include a recent pay stub or a recent utility bill from the same address that is on your driver’s license.
You should be able to pay the whole amount of the rental up front, plus a large deposit. Some car rental agencies require that you complete a criminal background check at least 30 days before renting a car. This may include paying a hefty application fee. Companies also often restrict drivers who are 25 or younger from renting a car without having a credit card.
What are the Benefits of Renting a Car in Cash?
Car rental companies are pretty set on renting cars with credit cards because it’s convenient and safe for them. So why exactly should we consider finding an option to rent a car with cash?
When renting a car with a credit card, one of the main reasons is because you’re avoiding paying interest on that money when you pay it back. It may be easier for companies to talk you into a pricier deal when you swipe your credit card at the rental counter than when you hand over actual cash. This is not only true for car rental companies, but it is very common for people to want to pay cash when they rent a car.
Also, you may not be able to get a good credit card in the first place, whether it’s because you have bad credit or because you have simply decided not to get a credit card.
If you are looking to rent a car with cash, you can be sure that you’ll get the best deal by spending only the money that you have. It’s true that it’s probably more of a fuss compared to swiping a credit card to rent a car, but from a financial perspective, it’s probably safer than using a credit card for everything.
How Do You Cut Back on the Costs of Renting Cars?
There are many different factors that affect how much you pay for your rental car, including how you book it and who you speak to at the rental car office. There are several ways you can save money while you rent a car.
If you need a cheap vehicle for your trip, an economy car is likely to be your best choice. This may not be possible if you want to bring a whole family and all their stuff, but try renting the smallest car possible.
Usually, car rental agencies will try to get you to upgrade, but doing this can save you a lot of money. It may seem like an inexpensive car rental to you, but it can quickly add up if you rent it for several days. If you think you can fit all the luggage you have to this smaller-sized car, it may not be worth paying for a larger vehicle.
Furthermore, lots of rental car agencies charge very high fees for returning your rental car with empty fuel tanks. To avoid this extra fee, refill your gas tank on your own before you return the vehicle to the rental car agency. Avoid gas stations near airports or rest areas, since they may charge more for gas.
Moreover, comparing prices can help you get a better deal from the rental car company that is closest to your destination. If you want to rent a car through one company but find that another offers a more reasonable price, you can show the agent from the first place and ask them if they can match or beat that price. It’s not guaranteed that this will work, but it’s worth a try.
Finally, rental car agents often earn a commission from getting clients to upgrade their vehicles or add on services that are not necessary, such as rental insurance and roadside assistance. Most auto insurance policies will cover you, and many credit cards offer additional insurance when you pay for your rental using your credit card, so do some research before you decide to pay with your credit card.
Max AnthonyMax is a gizmo-savvy guy, who has a tendency to get pulled into the nitty gritty details of technology and cars. He attended UT Austin, where he studied Information Science. He’s married and has three kids, one dog and a GMC truck and a Porsche 911. With a large family, he still finds time to share tips and tricks on cars, trucks and more.
US News:10 Best Lease Deals Under $300 for July 2021
That way, you'll know exactly what deals are available where you live. Here are your 10 best lease deals under $300 for July 2021 according to US News rankings.