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 all of our suppliers accept Visa/Mastercard debit cards. The only difference is the deposit they will require when using a debit card. 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.
Which car hire companies accept debit cards?
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. If paying by credit/debit card a 'security hold' of $200 for standard vehicles ($400 for commercial vehicles) in addition to the 'Estimated Total' value of the rental will be placed on the card account provided. The card holder will not have access to these funds until billing is finalised at the completion of the rental.
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.
East Coast Car Rentals accepts debit cards or American Express. Take note that the use of an American Express Card will incur a 2.20% surcharge for rentals in Australia.