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Will Car Rental Companies in Australia Accept Debit Cards?

paying with a debit card at the rental counter

If you are travelling to Australia and want to use your debit card to book and pay for your rental car, keep in mind that some hire car agencies will accept debit cards and others won't. Rental car companies indicate their reason for not accepting a debit card is that they might not know if renters have sufficient funds to cover the cost of repairs in case the vehicle has been damaged. It's highly recommended to check with your car rental company before you show up at the rental desk. 

In general, the debit card will need to display the Visa/Mastercard logo, and be issued from the driver's bank in their name. The owner of the card needs to be present when picking up the rental vehicle. 

Paying With a Debit Card

Most major rental car companies in Australia including Hertz, Avis, Budget, Europcar and Thrifty allow customers to book a car using only a debit card. However, each company has different criteria. Find out below.

  • Hertz permits debit cards provided they have a Visa or Master debit card that works the same as a credit card. This will appear as a debit online, as debit cards do not have the ability to show frozen amounts. 
  • Avis and Budget allow renters when paying by Visa or Mastercard debit card. Take note though that at the start of your rental, a hold will be put on your card for total rental charges plus an additional authorisation of $400 that must be available at time of pick up. Say for example, if your one day total rental cost is $150, a hold of $550 will be placed on your card. Generally, charges will be processed after completion of the rental and if applicable, the unused portion of the authorisation will be released. Avis and Budget will then send an electronic message to your bank on the day you return your car hire requesting the release of any holding amounts. Depending on your bank, this usually takes up to 10 working days to process.
  • Europcar only permits payment by debit card in limited circumstances. Note that payment by any of these means needs a bond to be paid at the beginning of rental. As of 1st July 2010, debit cards can only be accepted on passenger vehicles, with the exception for their minivan segments. 
  • Thrifty accepts it only if they have the Visa/MasterCard emblem/logo on them. However, debit cards are only accepted at selected Thrifty locations, so make sure to check and verify it with their counter staff.