How does paying a deposit for car rental work?

When you book a rental car from Sunny Cars, you know that everything is taken care of down to the last detail. You pay your rental car in advance and there are no surprises when you pick up the car. But what do you still have to pay on the spot? The deposit. The amount of the deposit can differ per rental car, local car park provider or destination. A credit card in the name of the (main) driver is usually required.

Why do you have to pay the deposit when picking up the rental car?

You pay the rental car in advance and you pay any extra services or accessories at the local car rental company. They will also ask for a mandatory deposit: after all, you are handed an object that represents a considerable value. The deposit is a guarantee in case of damage, theft, fraud or negligence. How high the deposit is depends on the local fleet provider. The amount is always clearly stated in the rental conditions. In order to pay de deposit a valid credit card in the name of the main driver is required.

The deposit is a guarantee for the rental car you will receive. The deposit is usually as high as the amount of your excess. However, they are two different matters. At Sunny Cars, we offer rental cars with refund of excess. This saves you a lot of money in case of damage to the rental car. In case of damage we refund the excess.

How high is the deposit for the rental car?

The amount of the deposit varies per category of rental car and local fleet provider. The rental conditions are not the same everywhere because we work with various local partners. Of course, you always rent all-inclusive at Sunny Cars, but the deposit can vary per rental car. We stand for clarity and transparency, so you can always see the amount of the deposit. This is immediately visible online, so keep an eye out for it.

Check the rental conditions when you’re booking to make sure your credit card limit is high enough. When booking online, you can also filter on various options like low deposit, cash deposit or no deposit. This way you can select the option of your choice.

What to do if don't have a credit card but a fellow traveler does? Make sure that your travelling companion becomes the main driver. The main driver always needs a credit card in his/her name. Are you both unable to pay a deposit? Then book the No Deposit service. With this service you can still rent a car without a credit card. Very convenient!

How do you pay the deposit?

A valid credit card in the name of the main driver is essential. We can't stress it enough. Without a valid credit card with a PIN number, you can't leave a deposit and the local car park operator will not let you take a rental car with you. Sounds strict, but it makes sense: the local fleet provider wants some sort of security before giving you such a valuable product that you can take anywhere. The rental agreement is personal to you and therefore the credit card must be in your name (and not in the name of your parents or a friend, but really in the name of the person who signs the rental agreement as the main driver).

For everyone's safety, you are usually not allowed to pay the security deposit in cash. That way you don't travel with large sums of money in your pocket and the local partner doesn't have to deal with piles of cash attracting muggers. A credit card payment is the fastest, which is good because it means you can go to your rental car in sixth gear. Using a debit card is also not allowed, because on a debit card you cannot be refunded the money and therefore the local car rental company wouldn't be able to transfer the deposit to you at the end of the rental period.

Tip: there is a good chance that you’ll want to pay your hotel stays, meals, trips and other fun activities with your credit card while on holiday. Take into account the amount of the deposit and the fact that you will temporarily have less credit available to spend. Would you like to keep your credit card spending limit free? In that case the No Deposit service is ideal. With this service you can rent a car without a credit card and you don't have to worry about spending money. Now that's carefree car rental!

When do you pay the deposit?

You pay the deposit when you pick up the rental car. The amount will be reserved on your credit card or it will be debited. To pay the deposit, you need a credit card in the name of the main driver. Do you want to borrow your neighbour's credit card? No, that is not possible. The name on the credit card must match the name on the main driver's driving licence.

The deposit is a guarantee in case of damage, theft or negligence. But did you know that costs can also be deducted from the deposit if, for example, you decide to rent a child's seat or GPS at the pick-up desk? You don't have to pay these separately, but the costs for these extras are deducted from the deposit that you get back at the end of the rental period.

When will the deposit be returned?

If the rental period has passed without any problems, the deposit will be released or refunded. Has the deposit been cashed in? Then it will be transferred again within 10 days. If the amount is reserved, it can take up to 30 days before it is released. Your credit card company still has to process it and the refunded or released amount is not always immediately visible. If you have not received it back after this period, it is wise to contact your credit card company and ask whether the amount has been released by the local fleet provider. Is this unclear? Then you can contact our customer care department. We can then look into the reason why the deposit has not yet been returned.

Have you not received the full deposit back?

There is a chance that you do not receive the full deposit back from the local fleet provider. This can happen, for example, when there are costs for a damage. Your excess is then deducted. But don't worry, because you can claim your excess from us after the rental period. It could also be costs that have been settled for extras or accessories. Check your final bill to see what you have been charged for.

Costs for damage deducted from the deposit

If you have any damage: don't panic, it will be alright. The local fleet provider will not refund the full deposit in this case, as the damage will be deducted from it. There is a limit to this, though: the maximum amount that may be deducted for damage is the same as the amount of the excess. So you always know where you stand. In case of damage, we refund the excess when you declare it to us, provided the conditions are met of course. This way, your car rental is all-in and carefree!

Costs for extras or accessories charged to your credit card

Have you added a child seat to your booking? Or are you going to make a one way trip? You will have to pay these costs to the local car rental company when you pick up the car. You will know in advance exactly what this costs, because we communicate it clearly! You'll find it on your voucher, but also when you book your rental car. In some cases you don't have to pay separately, but the costs for these extras are deducted from the deposit which you get back at the end of the rental period. The costs of the booked extras or accessories will then be deducted from the deposit.

Cost of filling up with fuel charged to credit card

Was there fuel missing in the rental car when you returned it? Then the local car rental company will charge you for the missing fuel plus service costs. They will deduct this from the deposit. Of course, you want to avoid these costs. Thanks to our fair fuel arrangement, you always return the car with the same amount of fuel as when you picked it up, thus avoiding extra costs. Tip: When picking up and returning your rental car, take a picture of the tank level on your dashboard. In case you are wrongly charged, you have proof!

The credit card was charged afterwards by the car rental company

There is nothing quite as annoying as suddenly finding out your credit card has been charged after the rental period. If this happens the local car rental company probably has a good reason for it. For example, you may have been charged for a fine, you may have been charged for tolls, or damage may have been discovered afterwards.

A fine has been charged to your credit card

Oops, got a fine on the spot? For every fine, the local car rental company will charge you an administration fee. You will find the amount of these costs in the rental conditions. The administration fee will be charged first, but you will receive the actual fine later. How does this work exactly? Read our page about fines with a rental car.

Your credit card has been charged for toll roads

At some destinations there is a so-called toll box in the rental car. You do not have to pay the toll on the spot, you can just drive on. Very convenient! However, these toll costs still need to be paid. These will be charged on your credit card after the rental period.

Your credit card is charged afterwards for damages

It's quite annoying, but sometimes your credit card can still be charged for damage. It is of course possible that you have not noticed the damage at all. Therefore, when you return home, always save all important documents, such as your local rental contract and final bill. Then we can help you as quickly as possible.

Tip: take photos of the rental car before returning it. If you are wrongly charged, you have proof!

Still unclear about a credit card charge?

Is it still not clear why you have been charged? Or do you have the feeling that you have been charged incorrectly or that the wrong amount has been charged? Then contact our customer care department! Send an email to and they will sort it out for you.