Paying for Your Rental Vehicle: Know Your Options

Wednesday, July 10, 2013@ 7:28 AM
Author: Steve Parquet

There are so many different ways to pay for something nowadays. Whether you’re sticking to cash, utilizing a credit or debit card, or opting for something like a gift card, it’s always important to know how these different methods are processed by the service you’ll be using. Rental vehicle services, especially in heavily traveled areas like Hawaii, generally accept a number of different payment methods. This post will shine some light on these various approaches and what you should know if you’re planning on using one.

  1. Credit/Debit Cards: As one of the most popular payment methods, there’s a good chance that the car rental service you’re using will accept these. However, be sure that the credit provider (Visa, Mastercard, Discover, etc…) is accepted by the service you’re using. Keep in mind that some rental services may also put a hold on your account until you pay the final bill. While not all companies will do this – it’s a good thing to inquire about in order to avoid any unexpected surprises. These holds will tie up funds, and could result in an overdraw of funds.
  2. Cash: While cash will typically be accepted as a final payment option, the rental car company will need a valid credit card and driver’s license in order to release a vehicle. This ensures that should a problem occur, they have payment information on file for you. If you’re planning on paying in cash – be sure that you also bring a credit/debit card along with you to ensure a smooth transaction.
  3. Pre-Paid Gift Cards: As a popular form of payment for travelers, these pre-paid gift cards often work very similarly to debit cards. You load them with a pre-determined amount of cash and use them like a debit card. As long as the provider of the card is Mastercard or Visa (or another trusted and accepted brand), you can use these in the same way you would a credit or debit card.

Keep in mind that every rental service has different rules and requirements when it comes to making a payment and driving a vehicle off the lot. If you’re planning on paying in a unique way or you’re concerned about finalizing payment, it’s a good idea to give the rental service you’re planning on using a call ahead of time. By learning their individual policies, you can be sure that you’re not hit with any unexpected surprises at the time of pick-up or drop-off.

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