When renting a vehicle from a car rental agency for a vacation or business trip, there are some requirements you must meet as a driver in order for them to let you take that rental car off the lot. Obviously, you need to have a valid drivers’ license, but if you did not know that, then you probably should get a bicycle instead or considering walking.

So, when wondering about the requirements that rental car agencies have, people often ask, “Do I need a credit card to rent a car?” The short answer is yes. You do need a credit card. Many of us use our debit cards like credit cards for online purchases, or to buy groceries, or other similar purchases, but renting a car is not quite the same thing at all. When you rent a car, you are driving away with it, and unlike the gallon of milk you bought using your debit card, the rental car company needs you to bring the car back.

Most of the major car rental agencies require a credit card to initiate the rental process, even if you plan to use a debit card to pay the actual bill when you return the vehicle – and if you want to use a debit card to pay the remained when you bring the car back, most of those same agencies are going to require a co-branded debit card. Co-branded refers to debit cards with the Visa, MasterCard or Discover logo printed on them. Many debit cards are co-branded, but not all, so check yours first.

Some agencies will let you rent a car with only a debit card, but it will likely need to be a co-branded card, and there are also likely going to be additional restrictions and requirements, such as proof of your round-trip airline ticket and location restrictions. Also be aware that if you rent a car using that debit card, the car company is going to automatically and immediately put a hold on some of your funds, usually ranging from $300 to $500, regardless of how little the actual bill might end up being. They want to make sure they get the car back, and if you do not return the car, they want to make sure they have a way to get their money from you anyway, and a credit card is the easiest method of payment when renting a vehicle so that everyone stays happy.