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

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How to Hire a Car or Campervan in New Zealand with a Debit Card or Cash

Let’s be honest. Not everyone wants or needs a credit card nowadays. However, one snag of not owning a credit card is when it comes to renting a car or campervan. 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 guide!

The majority of car hire companies across the world insist that you have a credit card when hiring a vehicle. Unfortunately, it’s the same for many companies in New Zealand too. Not only does it provide the company with 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 alternative 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.

What is a “Bond” for Hiring a Car?

When hiring a car or a campervan in New Zealand, you will be required to pay a “bond” or a “security deposit”. This is a refundable sum of money that can be accessed by the car rental company should you, the renter, inflict any damage on the vehicle or break any of the other agreements of the rental, such as returning the vehicle without a full tank of fuel, for example.

The bond amount is usually determined by the insurance option you choose with the car rental. Basic insurance is included with every car rental in New Zealand (see New Zealand Rental Car Insurance: Explained), which means you pay the highest amount of security bond. The bond amount is often the same as the insurance “excess” amount, which can be anywhere between NZ$750 for a car rental to NZ$5,000 for a campervan rental.

Car and campervan rental companies give the option to reduce the amount of excess, and therefore bond, by offering multiple “excess reducer” options for a daily fee. Bonds and excess can be reduced this way to around NZ$250 or even NZ$0 for fees of around NZ$20-$30 per day. You’ll find that a way that some car rental companies allow renters to rent without a credit card is to make it mandatory for them to buy an insurance excess reducer instead.

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Hiring a Car in New Zealand 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. This is also known as a “pre-authorisation” of your debit card.

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, it 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$20-$30 per day for a car rental and NZ$25-$45 per day for a campervan rental.

New Zealand Car Rental Companies Offering Rental via Debit Card

Learn more about some of these car rental companies in The Best Car Rental Companies in New Zealand.

New Zealand Campervan Rental Companies Offering Rental via Debit Card

For more information about some of these campervan rental companies, check out The Best Motorhome & Campervan Rentals in New Zealand.

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Hiring a Car in New Zealand 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$20-$30 per day on top of your base car rental rate.

New Zealand Car Rental Companies Offering Rental via Cash

Learn more about some of these car rental companies in The Best Car Rental Companies in New Zealand.

New Zealand Campervan Rental Companies Offering Rental via Cash

  • Escape Campervans

For more information about this campervan rental company, check out The Cheapest Motorhome & Campervan Rentals in New Zealand.

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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$20-$30 per day for car rentals. Bonds are refundable after the vehicle is returned undamaged.

New Zealand Car Rental Companies Offering Rental via Prepaid Travel Card

  • Omega

Learn more about this car rental company in The Best Car Rental Companies in New Zealand.

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Tips on Finding Which Car Rental Companies Offer Car Hire 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. 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 our nifty guide for more costs to expect when renting a car or campervan in How Much Does it Cost to Rent a Car or Campervan in New Zealand?

How to Hire a Car in New Zealand Without a Credit Card© NZPocketGuide.com

Checklist: What Else Do You Need to Hire a Car in New Zealand?

Aside from an acceptable “security bond” payment method,as discussed, here are some other things you need to rent a car in New Zealand:

For more details, head to The Guide to Renting a Car in New Zealand.

More About Hiring a Car or Campervan Without a Credit Card in New Zealand

That’s it for our guide on how to hire a car or campervan in New Zealand without a credit card. Now that you know which car rentals in New Zealand accept debit cards and cash, get more advice on your car rental with these guides:

Finally, if there’s anything that we’ve missed, you’re likely to find it in Travel By Car in New Zealand: The Ultimate Guide.

Author

Robin C.

This article was reviewed and published by Robin, the co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. He has lived, worked and travelled across 16 different countries before calling New Zealand home. He has now spent over a decade in the New Zealand tourism industry, clocking in more than 600 activities across the country. He is passionate about sharing those experiences and advice on NZ Pocket Guide and its YouTube channel. Robin is also the co-founder of several other South Pacific travel guides.

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