Last Updated on May 1, 2024 by Kristin


Like every other car rental company, Thrifty puts a hold on your credit or debit card when you rent a car. This includes the total cost of the reservation plus a security deposit. It covers situations such as late returns or additional fuel charges.

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When you book a car, two questions to ask are: How much will Thrifty hold on my card? And when will I get my deposit back? The answers depend largely on how you pay for your rental and the type of car you rent.

How Much Does Thrifty Hold as a Security Deposit?

Renting with Thrifty authorizes the company to put up to $200 as a hold on your credit or debit card. This is in addition to the estimated charges for your rental reservation. The actual amount can vary depending on the location. Be aware that you will not have these funds available during the time of the rental. Be sure to plan your trip budget accordingly.

When you bring the car back, Thrifty will charge your card for the total amount due. Then your credit card company will release the authorization hold.

When Does Thrifty Return Your Deposit?

Once you return your car in good condition and on time, Thrifty will return the deposit back to your credit or debit card. You can expect this process to take between five and 10 days, depending on your bank or credit card company.

If you rent with a credit card

When you rent with a credit card, Thrifty requires you to have enough credit available to cover the estimated rental reservation and up to $200 beyond that price. When you return the vehicle, the additional hold amount should be released within a few days.

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Let’s say you rent a car that costs $300 and the security deposit is $200. When you pick up the car, Thrifty would put a hold of $500 on your credit card. When you return the car, your credit card would be billed $300 and you would receive the $200 back within a few days.

NOTE: One way to avoid the $200 deposit is by joining Thrifty’s Blue Chip Rewards program and using a Visa-branded card. According to Thrifty’s rental requirements, this hold will not be applied when a cardholder makes his or her first reservation with a Visa card.

If you rent with a debit card

You can also secure your Thrifty rental with a debit card bearing the Visa, MasterCard or Discover logo, and the deposit is generally returned within the same time frame as if you pay with a credit card.

But be aware that securing a rental car with a debit card comes with a few more requirements. For one, you will have to make the reservation more than 24 hours in advance. If you want to make a reservation less than 24 hours in advance or secure a luxury car with a debit card, Thrifty will ask for two forms of ID and proof of your travel plans.

You will need to have enough available funds in your bank account to cover the rental plus an additional deposit of $500. Be aware that, depending on your bank, it can take five to 10 days after your rental is completed 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 at Thrifty. To pay a deposit using cash, you will have to apply for a cash deposit identification card. This process can take up to 30 days, and requires a $15, non-refundable processing fee for a modified credit check. This requires providing several pieces of information, including your previous employers, checking account information, annual income and more.

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Regardless of how you paid for your rental car, if you don’t get your security deposit back from Thrifty within the expected time frame, call 1-800-THRIFTY (800-847-4389).

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 Thrifty 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.