Like other major car rental companies, National will put a hold on your credit card or debit card when you rent a car. This will include the cost of the reservation, as well as an additional security deposit to cover situations such as late returns or additional fuel charges.
When you book a car, the two questions to ask are: How much will National hold on my card? And when will I get my deposit back? The answers depend largely on the type of car your rent, where you pick up the car, and how you pay for your rental.
When placing a reservation, customers can find this information in the fine print of the "renter requirements" tab during the check-out process.
How Much Does National Hold as a Security Deposit?
National's deposit depends heavily on where you're renting the vehicle, so it's good to do your homework to shop around to see different locations' policies. These fees can be anywhere between 20 percent of the rental reservation to the full cost. Since the hold is the cost of the rental plus the 20 percent deposit, the full amount of the hold will typically be 120 percent of the rental.
You can check out these fees by navigating to the list of rental locations on National's website, and reading the fine print about that specific location's rental policy under the "renter requirements" tab.
For example, renting a car from New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport carries a rental deposit that matches the cost of your rental. So depending on how long you are renting, it might make sense to look at some other nearby locations. Comparatively, National's Jersey City location adds a flat security deposit of $250.
It is important to remember that these funds on hold will not be available during the entire time you are renting the vehicle. So, be sure to plan your budget around the deposit ahead of time.
NOTE: For customers who pick up rental vehicles at airport locations and who are not able to produce a return airline ticket, National will hold an additional $200. So that means your credit card would be charged 120 percent of the rental charge plus $200. When you return the vehicle, you'll get back the 20 percent hold plus that extra $200.
When Does National Return Your Deposit?
Once you return the vehicle, National will refund your security deposit in full, provided the car is in good shape, returned on time and has the appropriate amount of fuel. How fast you get your security deposit back depends on how you paid.
If you rent with a credit card
National puts a hold on your account for the full cost of the rental plus the security deposit. When you return the vehicle, National charges the full amount of the rental and will release the hold on the deposit within 24 hours.
Let's say you rent a car that costs $300 and the security deposit is $60. When you pick up the car, National would put a hold of $360 on your credit card. When you return the car, your credit card would be billed $300 and you would receive the $60 back within a day.
If you rent with a debit card
On the day of pickup, National will put a hold on your bank account tied to your debit card for the full cost of the rental plus the security deposit. 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.
Renting with a debit card is similar to renting with a credit card in most ways. You will need to have enough available funds in your bank account to cover the rental and additional deposit outlined in the renter requirements. The deposit is typically returned within 24 hours. But be aware that, depending on your bank, it can take five to 10 days for those funds to become available in your bank account.
If renting from an airport, you will need to show proof of an outbound flight from the same airport. If not, you will not be able to use a debit card to secure the car—only when you return the vehicle.
If you rent with cash
It's possible, though more difficult, to rent a car with cash at National. It is possible to pay for the reservation with cash, but National does not accept cash as a form of deposit. Furthermore, many of its locations do not handle cash at all for security reasons. Consider paying with a money order, or call in advance to ensure that cash is accepted at the specific rental location.
Regardless of how you paid for your rental car, if you don't get your security deposit back from National within the expected time frame, call 844-393-9989.
3 Tips for Monitoring Your Rental Car Transaction
To avoid cash flow issues when renting a car, follow these tips:
- Before locking in the reservation, find out in advance how much the hold will be, which is the cost of the rental car plus the security deposit.
- 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 National 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.
- Why It's Easier to Rent a Car with a Credit Card Than a Debit Card
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