Is Prepaying for Your Car Rental a Good Idea?


You are planning your holiday, but you are having second thoughts when it comes to booking and prepaying for a car rental. If you are one of the people who prefer to pay at the desk when it comes to car rentals, here is why you should reconsider your choice.

The no-show rate

There are numerous websites, such as, which allow you to make a reservation for your car without making any payment. Unfortunately, due to the high no-show rate many car rental companies choose to accept more reservations for the same car. This means that when you show up to pick up your car you might have the unpleasant surprise to be told that there are no cars available in the class you wanted although you have made a reservation.

Companies tend to do this because a simple reservation, with no payment made, gives them no security that you will show up. The prepayment offers a financial incentive for you not to cancel your reservation and the security that the car you want will be waiting in the parking lot.

Car Rental Websites

Searching online for car rental websites gives you the possibility to compare prices and various packages offered by companies. Some of them have the Pay Later and Pay Now policy. For the Pay Now (prepaid option) you can save between 5% and 15% compared to the standard rate. By paying the partial or total amount for your car rental you increase the likelihood that you will show up to pick up the car, therefore, the companies are willing to offer a small discount to reduce the risk factor.

But when you choose the Pay Now option you have to be sure you will not cancel your reservation, if you do that more than 24 hours before the pickup time you will pay a cancellation fee of $25 and $50 if you cancel within 24 hours. If you do not show up, or cancel your reservation before, the entire amount you have paid will be forfeited.

Prepaying for your car rental is a good idea if you want to benefit from a discount and make sure that you will have the car you want, but if you are not sure that you will show up for the rental, then stick to the desk payment to avoid any cancellation fees.

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