It's standard practice for car rental companies to insist on payment by credit card. This is seen as a hedge against the loss of a vehicle or payment for the rental. The ability to pay by credit card is seen as a sign of fiscal and personal responsibility on the part of the customer. Some companies understand, however, that not everyone uses credit, and are willing to accept cash or debit card payments with stringent requirements.
Deposits and Prepayment
While deposits averaging $200--not including the actual rental costs--are always required before car keys are turned over, the amount is higher when cash payment is arranged. In addition, a credit check is likely and a hold may be placed on bank accounts until return of the vehicle. Cash payments also are sometimes accepted if the entire rental is prepaid, along with a cash deposit in the range of $500.
Cash and Vouchers
Cash payments for car rentals also may be arranged through a travel agent who will issue a voucher in exchange for cash. The voucher covers all costs, including deposit, rental, insurance and sales tax. The voucher may be sold as part of an all-inclusive travel package, which may end up being more expensive if additional charges are racked up by the end of the trip.
Companies That Accept Cash
Among the car rental agencies that accept cash payments at select locations are A-1, Budget, Thrifty and Rent-A-Wreck. Each has its own stipulations for accepting cash or debit payments, which are treated similarly since they are not tied to a line of credit.