Renting a Car in Hawaii Using Your Debit Card

Traditionally, all rental agencies in Hawaii have required a major credit card to secure a vehicle.  They have a system in place based on credit card use that is safe for them while being fast and efficient for the customer.  

However, according to a report published in December of 2007 by the Federal Reserve Board, the debit card has become the most common form of electronic payment.  Between the years of 2003 and 2006, debit card transactions occurred 25.3 billion times while credit card transactions came in at 21.7 billion.  

As the debit card has become the mainstay for electronic transactions, the rental agencies have been forced to address this.  You can now use your debit card to rent a car in Hawaii through all major rental agencies, you just need to be prepared that it will take more preparation, time and possibly even deal with some restrictions.

The policies may vary some by company; however, in general they are as follows:


  • The renter must present a round trip airline ticket or proof of same.

  • If no round trip ticket can be presented, the debit card will only be accepted upon return of the vehicle.

  • The renter will be subject to a credit inquiry.

  • If the debit card is a company sponsored debit card, it must have the renter’s name or signature on the card.

  • Some rental agencies will not rent “specialty” cars (such as convertibles or SUV’s) with a debit card.

  • Some rental agencies will place a minimum hold of $500 and a maximum hold of the estimated rental charges against your account.

It’s a good idea to understand the credit check policy. The rental agency will contract with an outside agency such as Equifax Credit Information Services, Inc. to perform the credit check. They then have the credit bureau accept or decline the debit application. Unfortunately, the bottom line at which a card may be declined is not published nor stated. The final decision is not made by the rental agency. The credit inquiry will be posted on the customer’s credit report and may have an effect on the customer’s credit evaluation as a result.

If you have a concern as to whether or not the outcome of your credit check will be negative, it is suggested you opt to use your major credit card instead.