Almost one in five car hirers told credit card not working

Almost one in five car hirers told credit card not working forcing them to purchase expensive rental company excess waiver policies

Nearly a fifth (18%) of car hirers have been told by a rental company at the pick-up point that their credit card would not authorise the deposit amount, forcing them to purchase the rental companies excess waiver policy before they could take the car, according to a new Opinium survey.

If a hire car is stolen or damaged the hirer is liable for the first part of any claim i.e., the excess amount which can be as much as £2,000 in Europe.  Excess waiver insurance is available to protect drivers from this risk but a rental company policy costs on average £180* a week this summer.  Car hirers do not have to purchase this from the rental company, but if they do not, they usually have to leave a deposit which is normally held on a credit card.

A growing number of people choose to purchase their excess insurance from an independent insurance company like, as policies start from only £2.99 a day, or £39.99 for an annual policy, but a deposit still needs to be left.

The research, commissioned by, a leading provider of car hire excess insurance, also found that car hirers feel the rental companies use the threat of holding the excess on their credit card as a strong factor in persuading them to buy their excess waiver policies (77%), with nearly a third (29%) stating they have been scared into buying expensive extra insurance at the rental desk.

Ernesto Suarez, founder and CEO of, said: “I urge everyone hiring a car this summer to ensure they have enough available funds on their credit cards for rental desk deposits. It is also a good idea to take more than one card with you, in the driver’s name, just in case one is declined. This should ensure that if you don’t want to buy the rental company’s excess insurance, you’re not forced into it simply because you can’t leave a deposit.”