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Article overview

Why do you pay a deposit?

A car is often worth a lot of money. So it's no surprise that rental companies require a measure of certainty from you before giving you the keys to their rental car. The deposit amount serves as a guarantee for the rental company. It provides certainty for payment of any costs of theft or damage etc., as well as any traffic fines.

Why do you pay a deposit?

The deposit amount

The amount you pay depends on various factors. These include the type of car you rent – after all, a Fiat Panda is worth less than an Audi A6. In addition, the deposit amount depends on:

- The rental company where you rent the car
- The country or countries where you will drive
- The fuel policy
- The deductible
- Any extras, such as GPS or child car seats

You can see the exact deposit amount in the terms and conditions for your booking. This avoids unpleasant surprises later on.

Paying the deposit at the rental location

When you pick up the rental car, you also pay the deposit. This means the amount will be reserved on your credit card. In addition, you can only pay the deposit with a credit card in your own name. Please note: nowadays, almost all credit cards have a PIN. You will often need this to pay the deposit, so make sure you have it with you, or that you have it memorized of course.

Reimbursement of the deposit

Once you return the rental car, it will be checked for any damage or other defects. If everything is in order, the amount reserved on your credit card will be released. It may take up to 20 working days before you see this on your credit card statement, depending on your credit card provider.

Credit card

Please note: rental companies don't accept all credit cards. Visa and Mastercard, the most common credit cards, are generally accepted, but cards such as Amex and Diners are not always accepted. Prepaid and debit cards are also often not accepted. You can read which credit cards your rental company accepts in the general terms and conditions of your booking.
Please note: credit cards have a limit. The required deposit amount may be higher than your credit card limit. If this is the case, contact your credit card provider in advance to increase the limit. With most credit cards, it's also possible to transfer money to the account. This increases the amount you can spend without increasing the limit.

What if there is damage?

Accidents happen, and you may have to return the car with some damage. This may be a small scratch, or a flat tire, or the car may even have been stolen. What will happen with the deposit in these cases depends on the insurance policies you have taken out, and how the deductible is arranged. You can read more about insurance and deductibles on this page. All about insurance & deductibles

Rental terms and conditions: the holy grail

Does the deposit sound complicated? It's actually quite simple. Everything you need to know is always stated in the rental terms and conditions that you receive by email when you make a booking. This states the exact deposit amount, and the deductible. Therefore, always take a copy of the rental terms and conditions with you when you pick up the car. This will avoid confusion and unnecessary discussions with the rental company.