Sally is a key member of the MoneyMaxim editorial team. She is a frequent hire-car user and often goes on holiday with her family. With an interest in getting great value for money, Sally shares her hints and tips for travelling and insurance.
For many travellers to this stunning country car hire in Portugal is the ideal way to explore all the many beautiful beaches and wonderful sights. It is also how a huge number of visitors get from the airport to their accommodation. But do you know whether your journey with your Portugal car rental includes toll roads?
If you are driving on any of the major routes you are unlikely to avoid the toll roads and one of the simplest solutions to making sure you can use them without incurring a fine is by using a transponder
The transponder is a handy device which is normally fitted to the windscreen and records your use of the roads. With a transponder fitter, you do not need to stop at any booths. They can be used for both the Via Verde lanes and the Electronic Toll Roads.
Most car hire companies offer the opportunity to rent a transponder from them with your car hire. The transponder is usually already installed in the car (check behind your rear view mirror!) but will be activated by the rental company. There is a fee for this service but the charge for it is not always clear when searching for car hire with a transponder in Portugal.
Through our sister site Clarify Car Hire, you can easily compare car hire prices in Portugal which include the cost of the transponder. Choose 'Transponder Toll Service Included' from filters on the left hand side after you have run a quote for car hire in Portugal. Your results will show car hire including a transponder. This can often alter which car hire company is the cheapest. The cost of the transponder is shown in the breakdown of the cost of your car hire when you go to the booking page.
Although you may have included the hire of the transponder in your car rental, the charges for your use of the toll roads are worked out separately and are taken from your credit card at the end of your hire. Don't be too alarmed if you see toll charges applied to your credit card after you have returned. It takes 48 hours for toll road charges to be applied so, if you used the road at the end of your holiday. they may not come through until after you have returned.
A transponder is not the only way to pay for toll roads. If you decide not to hire a transponder with your rental car you can still use the electronic toll roads (one which does not have the option to pay at a booth). You can pay the charges from 48 hours afterwards at a CTT store, post office or Payshop agent in Portugal before you leave. You will need the licence plate number to do this. Without a transponder you cannot use the Via Verde lanes. If you do you will incur a fine and your hire car company may add on an administration fee for handling it!