Car Rental in the USA

I know you cannot use a Debit or Pre-Paid card to rent a car in the USA, as they require a Credit Card to pre-authorise the entire (likely) cost of the hire and also hold the information for any potential extra charges etc.

I also noticed that it is possible to pay the rental charges (when you return the vehicle) using a Debit card …but not a Pre-Paid card.

So, my question is: Is Revolut considered as a “Debit” or “Pre-Paid” card in the USA?

I am assuming “Debit” but as I and my family are taking a two-week break in Florida this year (no, not Disney), I need to be sure before heading off.

I have already booked and paid for a rental car online, using a Credit Card that I will be taking with me but may well want to use the Revolut card for additional expenses.

Last (but by no means least), has anyone had any issues using Revolut at petrol (gas) stations?

As part of our trip we’ll be driving down to Key West and will most definitely need a few “fill-ups” on the way (of both car and people)!


Last time I checked it was considered a pre-paid card.

There was a discussion about this a while ago and some internal discussions as to whether it should become a debit card - it probably will because all around the world there are places that do not accept pre-paid cards. Have a back-up with you but try using Revolut nevertheless.

Revolut has moved to IBAN accounts so really the question is if the piece of plastic is important or the back-end. If the back-end rules the card’s status it should actually work as a debit card now. But be safe with a back-up and let us know your findings after the trip!

Many thanks for the info, I’ll be taking a CC with me as well.

I’ll let you know how it goes. :slight_smile:

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And also some high-level, general remarks about the rental in the US. It’s not as scary as it seems- especially when you use the 3rd party vouchers from resellers, like or so.

I did give provide my MC Debit card (not Revolut one though) on many occasions and they never had issues placing a deposit / charges on it.
And of course, rumor has it that it’s not really a credit card per se that is required, but just an embossed card.

Revolut should be fine. Worst case scenario, you can always ask for and they will be OK with placing a deposit on the credit card but making actual charges from the Revolut card.
Will just require some extra time post-rental, to go to the customer service and sort it out.

For Revolut card- FAQ states this is a debit card. I tried to find out from the forum support here, but no response so far. Revolut customer service as usual :wink:

My experience is that you sometimes can use a prepaid card like Revolut’s card that does not obviously look like one as long as the rental company is able to block the asked sum. Depending on the car and the contract details (insurance), this sum might be quite high. And these deposits are blocked for a long time, often weeks after the car is returned.

Having said that, I would use a different credit card for the security deposit (bad conversion rates don’t matter here because the deposit will most likely be refunded) but I would pay the bill with the Revolut card. The rental company should be fine with this arrangement.

Hi @revofan, technically it is a prepaid debit card. Google for a BIN checking tool and test your Revolut card :slight_smile:

Card type: Debit
Card level: Prepaid

Many thanks for all the info, it has been very helpful.
Based on what’s been said, I thought it best to book and pre-pay for the rental online, which is what I’ve done (and got a better rate for doing so).
I’ll still take a CC to cover any other required deposits etc. but thought that would be the simplest way to do it.
Thanks again.

@Frank Thank you!!! Yeah, I was aware of the BIN checking tool, but I never said I actually hold a Revolut card :wink: So far- just a fan :wink:

And to be more serious- I just recently started using Revolut to get EUR for the FX rate.
For the card- we do have a lot better currency card options here in Poland.
Free ATMs with no withdrawal limits, free cards, standard debit vs. prepaid Debit.

Revolut will need to get a lot better to really become a competition for stuff like Alior Kantor and many others.

Hi @nigel_s, yes, that should work for you. Car rentals are used to it that people might want to use a different card for the deposit. But be careful, sometimes they state in the T&C that a specific card must be used for the payment and that you have to present this card when you collect the car.

(I remember an unfortunate situation where my friend booked a car with a German credit card but his driver’s license was a US one. They would not let him rent the car without a German drivers license for that price. He eventually had to cancel the booking and paid a much higher “local” price for owners of a US driver’s license. I am not sure if that was even legal.)

Hi @revofan, well, I agree, some “local” products are better in some circumstances. There are other challenger banks in the UK that are a better replacement for current accounts, but they are limited to UK residents. There are other credit cards from banks in local markets that might be better for the withdrawals of large sums abroad, but do they come with Revolut’s option to also transfer money peer to peer or to a lot of different currencies worldwide or are they “just” good travel cards? And then there are these different regulations. It is notoriously expensive for Swiss customers to use basic banking services in the EEA, where everyone, even non-EUR-members, are used to services that are free. And Revolut’s free and instant option for top-ups via debit card is pretty neat.

I think the whole package is pretty competitive for a service that is available for all EEA residents, for the same prices, and as a mainly free product for most customers that don’t exceed the limits. Some things might change. I’ve read somewhere that Revolut is going to issue “real” debit cards once they issue their own cards. But you will find always slightly better products if you have more specific needs or if you live in a certain country where the market is different. Banking markets in the EEA are highly divergent.

Yep, I checked the T&C and I have to present the card that I used to pay for the booking and the name on it must match my Driving Licence… they can’t make it too easy, can they? :wink:

Shame it can’t be more like Turkey… agree a price up front, meet you at the airport, take a note of any card that has a recognised logo on it along with your driving licence number, give them a handful of cash and meet you back at the airport when you leave. :smile:


Yup, agreed- Revolut is awesome and I do hope to see it grow and improve the service and the offer in a way that’d be truly competitive! The fact it’s available to everyone in EEA is huge.

I personally don’t need to use international money transfers at all; having said that, SEPA wire-transfers tend to be really cheap pretty much everywhere nowadays, so Revolut it not that revolutionary after all.

For the currency card options- they’re provided by banks and bank-run exchange offices mostly. They offer MC exchange rates with no commission either converted straight to PLN or to USD- but you can get USD for almost the FX price.

So you don’t have any Revolut marketing stories like “illiqud” or “weekend markup”, fortunately.
That makes a difference, if you’re looking for a perfect, hardline solution. Often, the same bank / exchange office will offer at least one free ATM withdrawal of any amount, with subsequent withdrawals charged with a flat, small rate.
Finally, you get “normal” Debit cards, as opposed to pre-paid. Oh and did I mention Android Pay, which is getting common here too.

Sooo… not getting the card for now- I see no added value.

What I absolutely LOVE about Revolut is the mobile app itself;
Polish banks, even being one of the most IT-advanced banks in the world (no kidding here, that’s the reaiity!) don’t offer mobile app that intuitive, friendly and responsive. Also, we have a real-time FX platform after all, and just that is super-exciting by itself.

OK- back to the topic.
@nigel_s Please let us know when you’re back from your trip and tell us how the rental was. Something that’s particularly important to me is how reliable the Revolut card is.

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My experience is that the Revolut card (plus all my UK Cards) will not work at “pay at the pump” as the machine asks the zip code for the card but it needs a US zip code. I have tried the various alternative fix codes but none have ever worked.

I use the the Revolut card to prepay the cashier for the fuel as an normal POS transaction.

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Someone recently posted here that a fix for New York’s public transport ticket machines was not to enter a ZIP code at all. (I know, gas stations are not ticket machines, but I thought it might be a helpful information.)

Simple question:
How does Revolut handle USA gas station pre-payment at the cashier and then settling the final amount?

Do you see the initial pre-payment reversed and then an additional charge? Just curious.

Oh and…has anyone had any issues with pre-payment at the desk? Does it work OK?

I’m perfectly aware of the international card limitations and so I’m not expecting pay at the pump functionaliy.


I used my card Florida last year as my prime payment method and had no problems with it at all - once I had realised to select “Credit”, not “Debit Card”.

As for pre-payment, no problem there either as they get authorisation for the full amount but only the actual amount is charged. Again, I had no issues with this.

I used the card just about everywhere, including McDonald’s, Macey’s, supermarkets, shops and hotels. I even used it to hire water craft and to pay for an airboat ride at “Captain Jack’s” - all without a hitch.

I would still advise that a second card is taken, just in case but based on my experience, the Revolut card is fine.

Just one last thing, I wan’t asked for a Zip code on any occasion.


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Oh absolutely- I don’t expect any trouble in general. Was just wondering about gas stations and how they’re handled speficically. Great to know you had no unusual trouble with it.

Also- I’m quite aware I do need a backup card, as I always do. From my experience so far though, Revolut is more capable and reliable than I’d initially expected. :slight_smile:

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Ok so I actually just had an issue with the fuel (aka gas) payment!

I made the prepayment for 30 dollars, filled up 28.8. Two days later and here I am with the completed transaction for… 30 dollars.

What do I do next? Unfortunately I didn’t get the final receipt. I do have the prepayment one. Will support be trained enough to understand this situation and help?

Edit: so actually it’s quite late here and I haven’t noticed that the PLN amount is actually correct and corresponding to the final USD charge!
A pity though the USD amount listed is the pre-authorization amount as opposed to the final one. We don’t get to see it.

So long story short. Pre payment worked fine but Revolut won’t show the final amount in transaction details.
That’s probably still fine, but it’d be awesome to be able to see it.