Renting Cars With a Debit Card Is Made Easier at Dollar and Thrifty

Dollar is also lowering the age restriction on debit card rentals, to 20 from 25, to match the requirement in place for renting with a credit card.

Some debit card restrictions remain, however. The company will still require proof of return travel plans and two forms of identification for rentals booked with a debit card less than 24 hours in advance, and for rentals of luxury automobiles.

Dollar’s parent company, Hertz, isn’t planning to adopt the new rules, a spokeswoman said. Hertz’s customer base includes many business travelers paying with corporate credit cards rather than debit cards.

It’s unclear whether other big-name companies will follow suit. Avis didn’t respond to a request for comment. Enterprise emailed a copy of its debit card policy, which includes restrictions that vary depending on whether the car is rented at an airport or off site.

Here are some questions and answers about using debit cards to rent cars:

Will all Dollar and Thrifty locations accept debit cards?

All corporately owned locations will, but franchise locations, which are independently owned, may not. Most airport locations are corporate owned, the company said, and it planned to provide a list of noncorporate locations on its website “in the next few days.” To verify a location’s policy, customers can call the location or the company’s customer care line.

Are there advantages to using a credit card to rent a car?

Yes. Some people avoid credit cards because of the temptation to run up debt. But credit cards often come with useful perks, Mr. Rossman said, like allowing customers to accrue points or rewards and offering auto insurance coverage.

Credit cards also offer users the right to withhold payment while disputing charges and provide stronger protections against fraudulent charges, said Christopher L. Peterson, director of financial services at the Consumer Federation of America. So while credit cards must be used cautiously, they can often be a smart choice.