Car hire company want a £1 deposit from my debit or credit card - should I?

I was run into by a car this evening whose owner declared outright that it was their fault. I contacted my own Insurer and as fully comp. was told a local car hire company would contact me to provide the free car my insurers said I was entitled to during repairs. A car hire company did contact me, and asked for all of my driver’s licence details, booked a car, but added that when I picked up the car (in two days time unfortunately) I would be required to make a £1 deposit with my debit or credit card. I phoned my insurer back to ask about this and was told that I wasn’t supposed to pay anything myself but couldn’t answer whether the car hire company was right or wrong to ask this of me. My concern is obviously not the whole pound sterling I’d pay, but that with access to all my driver’s licence details, would I be open to fraud if I also gave away my bank access information? Also why do they need this (they phoned me so had clearly been informed by my insurer)? Also what if I didn;t have a credit or debit card? The other driver’s Insurer contacted me later to assure me that the other driver was accepting liability, but wanting me to only proceed with them, I wouldn’t give them permission to proceed, and they’re phoning me again tomorrow to ask me to change my mind. I’ve decided to only proceed with my own insurer. That’s by the bye unless anyone here can advise me differently, but my main concern is this £1 deposit via debit or credit to the car hire company linked to my own insurer. 

Comments

  • Aretnap
    Aretnap Posts: 5,140
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    edited 7 December 2023 at 7:59AM
    They'll want your card details so that they can charge you if you don't return the car at the agreed time, or if you damage it. (There'll be an excess on the hire agreement - hopefully the same as your excess on your car insurance policy, but check what it is).

    The normal way to do it would be to charge the card that you used to pay for the car hire; as you're not paying for the hire they ask for a token £1 payment so your details will be on their secure system. (It's a lot more secure than asking the bloke who drops the car off to write down your credit card details on a scrap of paper). You should find that they refund the £1 when you return the car (if you can be bothered to check).

    It's no more insecure than hiring a car normally and paying for it yourself, which lots of people do every day with no problems.

    Ultimately whether you do it is up to you, but if you don't want to let them have your card details, don't be surprised if you find that you can't find anyone willing to supply you with a hire car (this would also be the case if you didn't have a credit or debit card).
  • 400ixl
    400ixl Posts: 2,642
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    What excesses for things like windscreen damage are the rental company asking you to accept? This is likely what the card hold will be for. Read it carefully, have seen excesses of £1k for as little as replacement windscreens before.

    Is it being supplied by the insurer directly or have they passed you to an accident management company?
  • chrisw
    chrisw Posts: 3,369
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    edited 7 December 2023 at 9:42AM
    I was in the same situation and was offered an Enterprise hire car. I paid the £1 using a credit card as I thought it might provide extra protection in the event if any dispute but it all worked out fine. Although I am wondering now if I did ever get the £1 back...
  • DullGreyGuy
    DullGreyGuy Posts: 9,170
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    chrisw said:
    I was in the same situation and was offered an Enterprise hire car. I paid the £1 using a credit card as I thought it might provide extra protection in the event if any dispute but it all worked out fine. Although I am wondering now if I did ever get the £1 back...
    Did they actually take the £1? Normally it's just an authorisation which will drop off after a period of time (can be up to 28 days) so the money is ring fenced but not actually taken. 
  • Topher
    Topher Posts: 639
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    Thanks for the answers, I did pay the deposit, and someone from the hire company explained in a clear straightforward way what it was about and that I should get it returned. It is about security for the should any problem arise between us meaning they do have access to my finances but would have to go through a set legal route to get any extra payments. If not, the deposit will be returned to me via my insurer. 
  • chrisw
    chrisw Posts: 3,369
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    edited 9 December 2023 at 10:58PM
    chrisw said:
    I was in the same situation and was offered an Enterprise hire car. I paid the £1 using a credit card as I thought it might provide extra protection in the event if any dispute but it all worked out fine. Although I am wondering now if I did ever get the £1 back...
    Did they actually take the £1? Normally it's just an authorisation which will drop off after a period of time (can be up to 28 days) so the money is ring fenced but not actually taken. 
    Just had a look back, £1 taken in March, £1 refunded in April after the car was returned. It was full tank to full tank which made it a lot easier as they will charge your card quite a bit for topping up. No issues at all and pretty painless, you should be fine.

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