Like every major car rental company, Avis puts a hold on your credit card or debit card when you rent a car. The hold will be equal to the cost of the rental plus a security deposit to guard against scenarios like late returns or additional fuel charges.
When you book a car, the two questions to ask are: How much will Avis hold on my card? And when will I get my deposit back?
How Much Does Avis Hold as a Security Deposit?
If you're renting from Avis, factor in that you'll pay a deposit upfront.
The total amount of the security deposit depends on several factors, including the type of card you're using and the pick-up location.
In general, if you pay with a credit or debit card, Avis will place a hold equal to $200 plus the estimated rental charges. These funds will not be available to you during the rental period. Upon returning the vehicle, Avis will process a reversal of any unused portion of the hold, which can take up to two weeks to be posted to your account by your bank.
Be aware that Avis does not accept debit cards in some city locations, including in the Metropolitan NY Tri-State area, Hartford (CT), Philadelphia area and New Orleans area. Avis will, however, accept debit cards at some airport locations in these areas if the renters arrive by air and are able to present a round-trip ticket. At these airport locations, the debit card hold will be the estimated rental charges plus $350. Debit cards are not accepted at any location in Canada.
When Does Avis Return Your Deposit?
Once you return the vehicle, Avis will refund your security deposit in full, provided that there were no additional charges for fuel replacement, late return or other incidentals. How fast you get your security deposit back depends on how you paid.
If you rent with a credit card
Avis puts a hold on your account for the full cost of the rental plus the security deposit. When you return the vehicle, Avis releases the hold and only charges the amount of the rental. In effect, the security deposit portion of the hold disappears immediately.
If you rent with a debit card
On the day of pickup, Avis will put a hold on your bank account tied to your debit card for the full cost of the rental plus the security deposit, which is typically $200. Your signed agreement gives the rental car company the right to withdraw the amount of the security deposit from your bank account to cover late fees or damage repair.
When you return the vehicle undamaged and on time, your debit card is charged for the rental and the hold on the security deposit is lifted. But be aware that, depending on your bank, it can take 10-14 days for those funds to become available in your bank account.
If you rent with cash
It's possible, though more difficult, to rent a car with cash but note that even if you are allowed to pay for the rental with cash when you return the car, Avis will still require a credit or debit card upfront and will place a hold for a security deposit on that card.
Regardless of how you paid for your rental car, if you don't get your security deposit back from Avis within 10-14 days, call (800) 352-7900.
3 Tips for Monitoring Your Rental Car Transaction
To avoid cash flow issues when renting a car, follow these tips:
- Before picking up the rental car, always be sure to check the available credit on your credit card. You can do this by calling the phone number on the back of your card. If you are close to your limit, you may want to make a quick payment so that you have enough available credit to cover the cost of the rental car plus the security deposit. Give yourself a cushion to be safe. If you are very close to your available credit limit and unable to make a payment before your trip, consider using a different credit card.
- After you return the car, always look over your receipt to see if Avis added any additional charges that might be taken out of the security deposit. Keep an eye on your credit or debit card account to make sure you get your deposit back in full and in a timely manner.