Auto Europe Travel Blog - Advice to Travel With

On Credit Cards

All cards are created equal, but some cards are more equal than others. When making a payment on our website, you will notice that it is possible to use some specific debit cards to pay for a reservation. It is also possible to use a credit card in the name of someone other than the person named on the voucher. This can sometimes lead to misunderstandings regarding the use of credit cards locally.

So here is the gist of it.

Regardless of how you paid for the reservation online – credit card, debit card, your prize cow, EVE online ISK [Disclaimer: we don’t actually accept livestock or virtual currency of the non-real world variety…] – you NEED a credit card to pick up the vehicle. Not only that, you need that credit card to be in the name of the main driver as indicated on the voucher. This doesn’t need to be the same card you used to make you booking, but once again it needs to:

a) be a Credit Card;
and b) be in the name of the Main Driver.

The reason why you need a credit card is that when you pick up the car, the local supplier blocks a set amount on the card, which acts as a security deposit. This deposit is not actually charged to the card, simply blocked, and the amount is released after the car is returned, provided the car is returned in the same condition.

In order for the deposit to be blocked on the card, you need to have enough credit on the card to accommodate that amount. This amount usually takes the form of the Excess + Fuel + VAT, but can sometimes be lower or higher than this. If the exact amount of the deposit is not indicated on your voucher and you want to know what to expect, give us a call and one of our agents (nice guys and gals, awesome American accent ;)) will check it out for you.

Terms and Conditions

Exceptions: sometimes, for some car categories, you need two credit cards. This usually applies to luxury or sports cars. Rule of thumb: the Terms, Conditions and Local Fees section on our booking mask includes credit card requirements for a specific vehicle.

What happens if I don’t have a credit card with me when I pick up the car?
A paradox will be created, unravelling the very fabric of the space-time continuum and destroying the entire universe. [Disclaimer: there will probably be no paradox, the space-time continuum will go on as before, and the universe is quite safe].

The most likely scenario is that the supplier will request (politely but quite firmly) that you take on additional insurance to reduce the excess amount, thus foregoing the need for a deposit. Normally the insurance offered locally is OPTIONAL, but in this case you would be required to accept it.

There is also the possibility that the supplier would simply refuse the car without a credit card in which to block the deposit. This is never pleasant and it’s a hassle both for us and our clients, but Auto Europe does not control the specific policies of individual suppliers, so the only thing we can do is try our best to keep our clients well-informed about local requirements.

If you don’t have a credit card and would like to hire a car regardless, give us a call. Our lovely phone agents (did I mention the accent?…) can best advise you on how to go about hiring a car with a supplier that will make allowances for your specific situation and what the requirements are in such a case.

I hope you find this article informative. As always, you are welcome to leave your comments or questions in the comments section below, or come pay us a visit on Facebook or Twitter 😉

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21 Responses to On Credit Cards

  1. michael wood says:

    How long after the car has been returned is the block on the card lifted and the money is returned?

  2. Kate says:

    Hi Michael,
    Usually, a deposit is unblocked the same day you return your car hire. However, it may take up to 10-15 working days, depending on your credit company, to observe the deposit amount back on your account. It is always best to ask directly at the rental desk or call your bank. If you need any further assistance, you can contact our customer service at:
    Auto Europe

  3. Compare Prepaid says:

    Nice shared information on Credit Cards.

  4. Buğra says:

    I have a credit card but my cards limit is so low i can pay the amount of the car but I can’t afford the blockage on my card. What can I do in this position ? Are they accept cash for blockage or are they have any options for situations like this ?

  5. Kate says:

    Dear Buğra,

    Thank you for your comment.

    If you do not have enough credit for the security deposit, some suppliers offer instead daily insurance, paid locally. Please call our toll-free line 0800 358 1229 for exact details. Rental companies have different pick-up procedures and it is best to check these for the exact rental company you choose to book with. I am sure we will be able to help you find something suitable!

    Kind regards,
    Auto Europe

  6. Vladislav says:

    I made an order through auto europe a couple days before, made my payment by using debit card. In Auto Europe Terms&Conditions it is said that debit cards may not be accepted, also I already used debit card for car rentals twice with local car rental companies in Greece.
    But when I came with my voucher to Hertz company they simply declined to give me a car. I do not have any credit card but I had enough money at my debit card. However, this did not help.
    Guys, it is just AWFUL that you can not make a refund in this case. I paid for a car, but was declined to get it. I had to use public transport to get to my final destination(about 1000km in one direction).

    Auto Europe should not accept payments by debit cards, this may be realy a disaster for you clients when they come to rental desk and they are declined to get a car!

  7. Tyyne says:

    Dear Vladislav,

    I am sorry to hear that you encountered these problems during your travels.

    As you noted, we do inform customers of the necessity of a credit card in our Terms and Conditions. When making a booking on our website, these Terms and Conditions must be read and accepted before the booking can be completed. A credit card is required in every case, regardless of whether the customer was able to pay with a debit card on our website.

    I am very sorry about the inconvenience this caused.

    Kind regards,
    Auto Europe

  8. Taras says:

    That was really useful! Thanks for explaining how all this stuff with deposit works.

  9. Barry says:

    Been looking everywhere for this information. Thank you

    I suppose the main advice is to contact the company you rent off and ask them what the procedures are beforehand.

    Had an absolute nightmare in Dublin with Hertz the other day and will never use again.

  10. Simon says:

    I don’t understand the difference between a credit card and a debit card. I use Visa Debit, the same rules apply, an amount can still be blocked out against the card as with a credit card.

  11. Tyyne says:

    Dear Simon,

    As we are a broker, we must abide by the rules set by the suppliers we work with, who insist, in the vast majority of cases, on a deposit being blocked on a credit card.

    Kind regards,
    Auto Europe

  12. christine says:

    Tyne, you should make people aware at the point of sale that their debit card will not be accepted. Especially if they paid YOU by debit card to hire the vehicle. By not doing so you take the money knowing full well it will not be accepted. Refusal to refund is against trade descriptions act. You have not supplied goods but allowed a customer to purchase regardless.

  13. Sophie says:

    Hi Christine,
    On the car rental voucher as well as on the website during and prior to booking you can see that credit cards are necessary to pick up the car. Please take a look at the screenshot:
    booking process screen shot

    Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any further questions.

  14. Rob Atron says:

    Yes Sophie, however the term “credit card” is often used synonymously with “debit card”. This is actually nicely demonstrated in your own screenshot above. Under your yellow highlighting, it says “Credit Card Information”. This is presumably where Christine paid by inserting her *debit card* details.

    This little misunderstanding would probably be helped by using the same line here as is used in the email: “A debit card won’t work”.

  15. Sophie says:

    Hi Rob,

    Thank you for your feedback. We have added a sentence to help clarify the matter even more. I hope this helps.

    a comment

  16. steve says:

    Hi there,
    Can i pay for the vehicle hire using my debit card but then provide my credit card when collecting a car?

  17. Sophie says:


    Many thanks for your question.

    Yes, it is possible. A credit card is necessary for the pick-up no matter what the online payment has been made with.

    Kind regards,

    Auto Europe Team

  18. Hazel says:

    Please can you help me with the following:-
    Is £1,000 on a credit card enough? (for a 4wd in Iceland for 8 days?)
    My husband will be driving but does not have a credit card, so will I have to book it in my name and then have him as a named driver?
    Thank you in advance

  19. Kate says:

    Hi Hazel,

    thank you for your comment!

    The required credit card limit depends on a chosen car. Please call our toll-free line 0800 358 1229 to check with our agents how much limit would you need for the car you would like to hire in Iceland. You may pay for the online booking with your credit card and put your name as the main driver. At the rental desk, you will be able to add your husband as an additional driver for a local fee which you can also verify with our agents on the phone.

    Kind regards,
    Auto Europe Team

  20. Chris Thompson says:

    I have made a reservation, but used my wife’s joint account debit card to pay for it. I am the main driver however.

    Is it still OK for me to turn up and use a Credit Card in my name to the pre-authorisation?

  21. Kate says:

    Hi Chris,
    thank you for leaving us a comment. If you are the main driver, you are required to have your own credit card for the security deposit. Therefore, it is more than OK for you to turn up and use a credit card in your name 🙂
    Auto Europe Europe

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