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How to Hire a Car in New Zealand Without a Credit Card


Hiring a vehicle without a credit card.

Let’s be honest. Not everyone wants or needs a credit card nowadays, especially if travelling New Zealand on a budget. However, one snag of not owning a credit card is when it comes to renting a car. There are still a lot of car rental companies in New Zealand that require a credit card presented on pick-up in order for you to hire a vehicle. Nevertheless, there are ways to hire a car in New Zealand without a credit card and we’ll go through them in this article!

The majority of car hire companies across the world insist that you have a credit card when hiring a vehicle. It’s the same for many companies in New Zealand too! Not only does it provide the company a bit of security, as people who have a credit card tend to have had some form of identity check when applying for a card, but it also means that if any damage is done to the vehicle, the money can also be taken from the card’s available credit. With the realisation that credit cards are getting harder to obtain and that many people opt for other payment methods, some car rental companies in New Zealand are changing their strict rules to allow more people to hire a car without a credit card.

Checklist of what you will need to hire a car in New Zealand.

Aside from an acceptable “security bond” payment method, which we’ll go through in this article, here are some other things to have with you when picking up your car rental in New Zealand.

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Hiring a car with a Visa or Mastercard debit card

More and more New Zealand rental companies are accepting debit cards as a payment method and as a “security bond”. Debit cards are only usually accepted if they have the MasterCard or Visa logos on them. Plus, the owner of the debit card needs to be present at the time of picking up the rental car and even sometimes needs to be the main driver for the rental.

How Does it Work?

Some car rental companies will accept a MasterCard or Visa debit card the same way that they would accept a credit card. This usually works with a number of funds “held” on your card as security for the duration of your rental and then released back to you upon return of the vehicle providing there is no damage.

Alternatively, some car rental companies may request that you pay the bond with a debit card, which will be refunded to you on or soon after drop-off providing there is no damage to the car. On top of that, you may also be a mandatory requirement to purchase an insurance add-on which otherwise would not be necessary with a credit card. Insurance add-ons can be anywhere between NZ$15-$30 per day.

New Zealand Car Rental Companies offering rental via debit card


Hiring a car with cash

Some car rental companies have options for renting vehicles with cash, usually providing that you purchase one of their insurance package add-ons.

How does it work?

As with paying with a debit card, hiring a car with cash usually means there are a few more steps to your car rental process and possibly some add-ons would have become mandatory that would have been optional with a credit card. For example,  you will need to pay a bond upon picking up your car, which will be refunded to you after a stated period after drop-off providing that there is no damage to the vehicle. On top of that, it’s likely that you will need to purchase an insurance add-on, costing an extra NZ$15-$30 per day on top of your base car rental rate.

New Zealand Car Rental Companies Offering Rental via Cash
  • Bargain Rental Cars
  • Snap Rentals
  • USAVE Car Rentals
  • Rental Cars New Zealand


Hiring a car with a Prepaid travel card

As a last resort, you can also pay for a very limited number of car rentals with a prepaid travel card.

How does it work?

Like paying with cash, you will need to pay a bond and it’s likely that you’ll need to purchase an insurance add-on too. Insurance add-ons are usually NZ$15-$30 per day. Bonds are refundable after the vehicle is returned undamaged.

New Zealand Car Rental Companies Offering Rental via Prepaid Travel Card
  • Omega


Tips on finding out what car rental companies can you hire from without a credit card

When doing your car rental comparison, the first thing you need to do is go directly onto your chosen car rental company’s website and read their “FAQ” page. Here, it should clearly state whether you need to present a credit card upon pick-up.

If you do not need a credit card, make sure you find out what are the restrictions of using a debit card or cash – that should be in the FAQ section too. If not, check their “Terms & Conditions”. Alternatively, call the car rental company directly for more information, which will provide more accurate information than what you might find on car rental comparison websites. Sometimes, bond payments made by cash or debit card can be as high as NZ$3,000 so you’ll need to make sure you have the money available.

Finally, see this nifty guide for more costs to expect when renting a car in New Zealand.

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