Undoubtedly, the preferred and worldwide accepted method of payment by car rental agencies is credit cards. This method is the safest one as regards payment probability for the agency and, in turn, as a certificate of the client’s identity. Credit cards allow companies like these to have the certainty that the client will pay and he will not run away with the car. The problem is that this method of payment has been extended in such a way that many agencies do not accept any other mode, and those without credit cards do not have the possibility to rent there. Certain firms ?usually the biggest ones? do not take other methods of payment and are not flexible about this, even though most accept other methods as long as it is the delivery payment. That is to say that many agencies accept other methods of payment but only for the moment the client returns the car and not when he picks it up. In most car rental agencies, the first payment, which is made when you pick up the car, must be done by credit card; otherwise you will not be able to rent it.
On the other hand, it is said that credit cards cover the insurance of the car your client rents. This is true; however, it should be pointed out that this insurance is a basic one, which covers few things and it is merely legal formalities. The insurance these cards give you freely is not comparable to the insurance your own car insurance company can offer when you transfer the coverage to the car you rent. However, if you are sure of your driving skills and you do not consider it appropriate to pay for a better one (the one offered by the agencies) or do the right paperwork to transfer the coverage from one car to the other, the one offered by the credit cards companies will be very useful. Nonetheless, bear in mind that not all credit cards provide this kind of coverage. For example, American Express, Visa and MasterCard only offer it with the Gold line.
Another payment mode to rent a car is by debit card. These cards are not as accepted as the mentioned above; however, they have been widely accepted. It is important to remember the difference between these two types because when you make the reservation you should inform the telephone operator which one you choose, and if you make a mistake on this, you will have problems when picking up the car. If you are not sure whether your card is a credit or a debit card, you’d better call the card company to clarify your doubts.
The most complicated way to pay for a car is cash. Few companies accept this method of payment, and those which do are the small ones, the local ones. Due to this reason you should find out if the agencies working nearby your destination zone are prone to use this method of payment. It is true that many big companies take this payment mode, but only when you return the car and not when you pick it up. Cash causes problems since there is no way of showing the identity of the client nor it warranties the return of the car. If the agency where you rent the car accepts this method of payment, for sure they will carry out certain investigations about yourself and they will ask you some personal questions. This paperwork is long and complicated. We recommend that you avoid using cash unless it is totally necessary. Something to bear in mind: if you pay by cash, when picking up or returning the car, this must be stated on the ticket.
As regards discounts, there are many options to get them. We have already mentioned that credit cards can save the insurance fee, but there are many ways to get discounts on the final price. A very convenient option is to associate with Premium clubs of car rental agencies. These clubs require an annual payment of about $50 and frequently the first year is for free to attract more members. With them you will have important reductions in the car price, improve the equipment without any cost, a better positioning on the list of clients ranked to get a car in a very busy time of the year when there is a lot of people in the tourist places and you will be able to get those models that non-members cannot get. Besides memberships to certain groups will give you great benefits and important discounts. Another way to obtain discounts is to travel by certain airlines, which have commercial agreements with car rental agencies. Showing you have traveled by an airline with which the car rental agency has this kind of agreement, you will have interesting discounts and certain benefits. These discounts due to the commercial agreements are also valid and very frequent for company employees and hotel guests related to certain car rental agencies.
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