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This post adequately explains why one needs a credit card for hotel room reservations, car rentals, and similar. But why do I not need a credit card to rent an apartment? Although I do pay a deposit, that deposit is nowhere near the value of the property (unlike, for example, the deposit I might pay for renting a bicycle). What makes that I can rent some things, but not others, without a credit card?

  • Why the downvote? – gerrit Jun 2 '14 at 13:26
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Because you don't rent apartment for a week. That means, the apartment will likely to be empty (you'll pay much higher rate/deposit for furnished ones), and without any utilities (you'll have to order those in your own name). So the damage you can do is rather limited. Soil the carpets and draw on the walls, mostly. Not something that your deposit cannot cover.

For more significant damage, you'll get sued. Also, keep in mind that renters are usually required to have renters' insurance, to cover the more extreme damages and breakages.

Also, in addition to the deposit, lenders look at your "credit history" - references from previous landlords. Being bad once will make it much harder for you to find a place to live for years later, at least in the US.

  • Hm, I did rent a furnished apartment for one month earlier, with no deposit at all (Toronto, Canada). – gerrit Jun 2 '14 at 1:21
  • @gerrit you just came in from the street and said "please give me your apartment with all the stuff in it" and they just went and said "sure, why not, here are the keys"? I mean Canadians, OK, but I'm sure there's more there than just "with no deposit at all". From your other questions, I'm guessing your employer had something to do with that. – littleadv Jun 2 '14 at 1:42
  • I actually paid that rent in advance through paypal, coming from abroad. I think that for that one, the risk (for the owner) was offset by a very high rent. – gerrit Jun 2 '14 at 1:53
  • It's clear you've never seen the movie Pacific Heights. – JTP - Apologise to Monica Jun 2 '14 at 2:05
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    @gerrit well... paying in advance is a kind of a deposit... – littleadv Jun 2 '14 at 4:51

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