How to Rent a Car With a Prepaid Visa Card

Rental-car companies usually require payment with a major unsecured credit card.
Rental-car companies usually require payment with a major unsecured credit card. (Image: Luxury Car sportscar from my luxury car series image by alma_sacra from

Travelers who want to rent a car don't always have access to a traditional unsecured credit card, which most rental-car companies require. As an alternative, many people travel with a prepaid Visa card. While this payment method limits the places from which you can rent a car, it is possible with a little creativity and planning.

Things You'll Need

  • Prepaid Visa card
  • Driver's license
  • Copy of your return airline ticket
  • Recent utility bill
  • Major credit card, unsecured

Give the car-rental company your account number on a major unsecured credit card to hold your reservation, then pay for the rental car with a prepaid Visa card when you return the car.

Rent a car from Rent-a-Wreck, a nationwide company that rents previously owned cars. Typically, you can pay Rent-a-Wreck with a prepaid Visa card. Simply present your prepaid Visa card along with your driver's license to the Rent-a-Wreck representative when you pick up your vehicle. You may be asked to sign additional waivers for renting a car without an unsecured major credit card.

Look up "Auto Rentals" in the local phone directory or online. Look for car-rental companies that are not affiliated with the national chains. Be prepared to show additional identifying information such as a recent utility bill, your driver's license and a copy of your return airline ticket. These documents may be necessary to prove you will return the vehicle according to the rental contract. Car-rental companies prefer customers to pay with unsecured major credit cards so they can more easily charge your card for additional days or weeks if you don't return the car on time. Prepaid Visa cards make charging extra fees more difficult because additional funds would have to be added to the card first.

Pay for your rental car with a prepaid Visa card through a third-party vendor. Travel companies like Priceline and Expedia will rent you a car with a prepaid card. However, be sure to read the fine print on these agreements if you don't also have an unsecured major credit card. Make sure when you arrive to pick up your rental car that there are no additional payment requirements and deposits that can be made only with an unsecured card.

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