Renting a Car without credit card in hand
June 12, 2016 8:34 PM   Subscribe

I am going to be renting a car in a few days. I have a credit card account, but I lost the actual card and will not be getting the replacement before I am renting the car. How does this work?

Rental agencies always want to have a credit card on file so they can get paid if you, say, drive into a ditch and set their car on fire. What info do I tell them since I won't have the card in hand?
posted by 3urypteris to Travel & Transportation (8 answers total)
If you name the specific rental agency, maybe someone who actually works there will show up and give you an answer. Better to call the rental agency, explain the exact situation and get their answer. You need to be sure you're right on this kind of thing.
posted by nanojath at 8:39 PM on June 12, 2016 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: I'll be renting from Thrifty.
posted by 3urypteris at 8:41 PM on June 12, 2016

Sometimes they will let you rent with a debit card if you put down a deposit, or let them put a large hold on your bank account. Sometimes you are "shit outa luck". You have to call and ask.
posted by bleep at 8:49 PM on June 12, 2016

Did you try calling the credit card company and asking to expedite the replacement card? Most of the time, they would offer to do ship it to you overnight for free. If they ask for a shipping fee, you may want to explain the situation that you would like to use the card for this upcoming big travel purchase (and that you may put the purchase on a different card instead), then they might be more willing to help.

Another point -- the physical card requirement may vary between car rental companies. For example, if you rent with Avis, and if you sign up for their online preferred account (even the basic free account without any elite status) where you can input your credit card, then they don't ask for the card at pick up or drop off. The charge is automatically posted to your card after drop off.
posted by thewildgreen at 9:55 PM on June 12, 2016 [3 favorites]

I've rented a car pte-paid thru Priceline. With a little luck and preplanning, it all comes out even and no one asks for the card. It be tricky to get the rental company of choice, though. There are other ways to do the rental prepaid from your computer.

You would need a way to pay the balance,though. And a way to pay for gas.
posted by SemiSalt at 4:36 AM on June 13, 2016

How long are we talking about? Do you need the card today? Tomorrow? If the former, you need to talk to the rental agency and see if you can work out another form of payment. If the latter, you may be able to get your card expedited.

Another possibility: my local credit union makes their cards onsite, maybe one of your local banks or credit unions does this too. If so, and if you have good credit, you could potentially open a new account today and have the card in hand today. Might be worth investigating.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 5:21 AM on June 13, 2016

Not a solution to your current issue, but in addition to Avis as already mentioned, Hertz Gold allows you to have the credit card linked to your account. They don't even ask for the card at rental time, and when returning the car, they merely ask if I'd like to keep the charge on the default card, or pay some other way.
posted by jgreco at 5:35 AM on June 13, 2016

Seconding thewildgreen - when I've had replacement cards sent, they usually arrive very fast, and the company might be willing to overnight it. When I've lost my wallet in the past, of all the cards I've needed to get replacements for, the credit card companies have been the easiest to deal with--probably because they're very motivated to get you up & spending money with your new card ASAP.
posted by needs more cowbell at 7:46 AM on June 13, 2016

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