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Almost all car hire companies insist on a credit card - where they don't they are likely to ask for a large cash deposit. They don't like debit cards, as getting pre-authorisation can be more problematical, although some in a few circumstances will take them, but this could result in the debit card being blocked for usage by the customer.
Do ask what size of pre-authorisation is being taken - it can be thousands of pounds to cover any potential excess on the car - you need to know as this figure is no longer available to you to be spent until you have returned the rental car and the pre-authorisation cancelled. If at all possible take a credit card you don't normally use so that the pre-authorisation has no impact on you at all! Pre-authorisations also occur when checking into hotels, so that the hotel knows you can pay the bill on check out.
If your credit card does not have sufficient flexibility in its limit to support a large pre-authorisation this can sometimes be reduced by taking the car hire companies own excess insurance- which almost certainly will be expensive. Alternatively ask your credit card company for a temporary increase in your limit.
Do not use a prepaid Mastercard such as the Caxtonfx - this will result in the amount of the pre-authorisation being 'deducted' from your card balance until you return the car.
If you have any queries do call a member of the MoneyMaxim car hire insurance team.
This content was last reviewed on 24/10/2014