RentalPort logo

How Does a Car Rental Deposit Work?

When renting a car, there is always a security deposit required. Its amount, calculation, or method of refunding are among the most frequent questions asked by customers when renting vehicles. How does a car rental deposit work? Keep on reading!

What Is a Car Rental Deposit?

Very simply, a car rental deposit is the amount of money that the customer must pay to the car rental company before renting the vehicle. It is a kind of guarantee for the car rental company in case the customer returns the vehicle in poor technical condition, very dirty or loses car documents, etc. If the vehicle is OK when it is handed over, the deposit is fully returned to the customer.

How is The Deposit Calculated?

The deposit is calculated by each car rental company individually, and therefore, in practice, it is possible to find different amounts of the deposit for the same vehicle category. The most common criteria based on which car rental companies determine the amount of the deposit are the category or type of vehicle, the age of the driver, the length of possession of a driving license, the length of the car rental, etc. In principle, the greater the risk for a car rental company, the higher the deposit.

Practical example: If you are 25 years old and you rent a luxury vehicle, the deposit will most likely be much higher than if you were 40 and you booked an economy car. Makes sense, doesn't it?

How Can You Pay The Deposit?

The deposit can be paid in two ways - cash or credit card. Most car rental companies accept both methods of payment. When paying in cash, you simply hand over a specified amount to the car rental staff, which will be refunded to you in the same way when you return the vehicle. In the case of credit card payment, the deposit is paid out in the form of a so-called pre-authorization. In practice, this means that the amount of the deposit will be blocked on your card by the card authorization center of the relevant bank (therefore the money will not be transferred to the car rental company account, the money is only temporarily blocked and remains in your account). If the vehicle is alright when returned to the car rental company, this deposit is released.

When Will You Get Your Money Back?

The deposit blocked on your credit card will be released by the car rental company as soon as the vehicle is handed over. Subsequently, it depends on your bank how quickly it processes the release order. It usually takes up to 10 days.

Is It Possible to Avoid Paying a Deposit?

The answer is clear: NO! Although the amount of the deposit may seem too high, it is not possible to avoid paying it. However, try to look at the situation from the point of view of a car rental company - if you lend someone something valuable, you would definitely want to have a guarantee in case the item does not return to you in good condition.