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I want to rent a car in Europe and one of the requirement is to have credit card where they will block some deposit. It's higlighted that it should be credit card not debit.

I have only debit card and I have enough money to make deposit on my debit card.

So my question is, what is the difference between credit and debit card? Why can't I make deposit with my debit card when I have enough money to do it?

PS: I have my name on my debit card, and they are in convex letter - visually there is no diff from credit card except name "debit".

2 Answers 2

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Usually rental companies have special rules for customers paying with a debit card, you should check. It is unlikely (although not impossible) that your rental company doesn't allow debit cards at all.

The difference is that preauthorization (what you call "deposit") is meaningless for debit cards. If by the time you return (or not...) the car your account doesn't have the money to cover the costs and damage - the rental company can't charge you. So those companies that do allow debit cards wouldn't just make a preauthorization, they'll take an actual deposit (i.e.: withdraw money from your account). Often for pretty large amounts (to cover the whole cost of rental + potential incidentals like an insurance deductible). You may also be charged higher rate (for example, forcing you to buy insurance you'd otherwise wouldn't need).

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  • Akshtually :-)... most debit cards nowadays do support pre-authorization (or something similar - they may effectively block some of the money in your bank account). See e.g. this document for VISA Debit. So rental companies will usually accept debit cards - at least in Europe, most do. Still, best to check in advance.
    – sleske
    Jan 10 at 11:54
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litteladv's answer already explains the difference between debit and credit cards.

To address your question:

I want to rent a car in Europe and one of the requirement is to have credit card where they will block some deposit. It's higlighted that it should be credit card not debit.

If that is an explicit requirement, then you will need a credit card - or you will have to ask the rental company for an exception (in advance!).

However, as of 2024 most rental companies now accept debit cards. The situation depends on country and company, but at least in Germany debit cards are usually accepted, because many customers do not have a credit card.


For example, Hertz says:

Wir begrüßen die Verwendung von Debitkarten an allen Vermietstationen. [...] Anmietungen mit Debitkarten sind an Hertz-Vermietstationen in Belgien, der Tschechischen Republik, Frankreich, Deutschland, Italien, Luxemburg, den Niederlanden, der Slowakei, dem spanischen Festland und Großbritannien möglich.

English:

We welcome the use of debit cards at all our rental stations. [...] Rental with a debit card is possible at Hertz stations in Belgium, the Czech republic, France, Germany, Italy, Luxemburg, the Netherlands, Slovakia, Spanish mainland and Great Britain.

Hertz - Her(t)zlich willkommen Debitkarte

Sixt (Zahlungsmittel) and Europcar (Welche Zahlungsmethoden stehen mir als Privatkunde für die Miete zur Verfügung?) have similar rules.

Still, it's best to check conditions for your rental company. Also note that some have stricter conditions for more expensive or "special" vehicles, such as luxury cars or lorries.

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