Malta - car rental without a credit card, no deposit
Everyone who enters a guide entry wants to get answers to their questions and wants to get them quickly. So let's start from the end, i.e. with a short answer to the questions:
Is it possible to rent a car in Malta without a credit card?
Yes you can. It's quite simple, and there are some good deals available online. Below, I will provide specific examples of such offers.
How much does it cost to rent a car in Malta without a credit card?
In the low tourist season, expect a cost of around EUR 25 or more for one day. In the high tourist season, a minimum cost of EUR 50 for one day or more should be assumed.
You will pay the most when booking a car in the summer season without advance notice, just before departure. If you book at the last minute, expect it to cost you dearly (even 100 EUR per day is not impossible). It all depends on the demand.
Is it possible to rent a car in Malta without a deposit?
It will be very difficult to get such a service. A rental with a small deposit (around 100-150 EUR), which is not a problem, is readily available from many rental companies. Such rentals often do not require a credit card and make deposits on a regular payment card - debit. Examples of such offers can be found later in the text.
We are renting a car
This will probably be the most condensed car rental guide I've ever written. I'm going to use some major simplifications here, and I want to be clear. However, I will keep the logic of the whole process so as not to unnecessarily obscure the message with unnecessary details, and yet let you understand what this complicated rental process is all about.
However, in order for this to happen, to clearly describe the rental process in a few sentences, let's reverse the situation and imagine that someone comes to you and wants to borrow your car.
So someone comes from the street, you don't know the person, he just arrived from another country, you see him for the first time and he says to you: lend me a car for a few days.
You are handing over an item of considerable value to a stranger, so you are looking for a way to protect yourself against the loss or destruction of this item. So you answer OK, but:
I need to make sure the car comes back to me
– if there is a breakage, I need insurance to cover the repair
– if it turns out that something is wrong after the return (e.g. there is not enough fuel in the tank, the interior of the car is dirty and requires thorough cleaning, there is a cigarette burn in the upholstery, etc.), I want to be able to compensate for these costs.
This is exactly what the rental shop does when you come to it. In practice, all cars are insured in the rental company, so in the event of theft or destruction of the car, the rental company will receive partial compensation. However, the rental company wants 100% compensation, so that after the loss or destruction of the car, it can be replaced with another one. The missing difference between what they will possibly get from the insurance and the actual cost of repairing or buying a new car must be provided by you.
Therefore, the rental company asks you to present your credit card and blocks funds on it, which in speech are most often called: deductible (sometimes the word deposit is used interchangeably). Most often it is between EUR 1000 and EUR 2000 and depends on the value of the car.
There is still the issue of costs that may arise after returning the car. Let's assume that you return the car intact, but you forgot to refuel at the end of the tank. So you picked up a car from the rental company with a full tank and returned it with an empty one. The next customer must receive a car with a full tank. Who is going to pay for it?
In this circumstance, such small costs (often also cleaning the car, providing police data if, for example, a speed camera takes a picture of you, etc.) the rental company charges a deposit. Sometimes the deposit is called a deposit, which is the same as the own contribution, which often generates a lot of misunderstandings. When reading offers, try to distinguish between them. The amount of the deposit is usually in the range of EUR 100 to 200 and most often a simple payment (debit) card is enough.
If you rent a car using a credit card and blocking the excess on it, then the rental company does not assume a deposit. The deposit is included in the own share.
What is a rental without a credit card?
However, we most often want to rent a car without a credit card. First of all, we often do not have enough money to block access to 1000 or even 2000 EURO for the duration of the trip. Second, we don't want to risk losing our excess if something nasty happens on the road.
In order for rental without a credit card to be possible, the responsibility for covering the excess must be transferred to the insurance company. Therefore, the rental company must buy additional insurance from the insurance company, covering 100% of the value of possible costs, and then transfer this additional cost to you. Renting a car without a credit card is therefore more expensive than renting with an excess and blocking the card. The cost of additional insurance to rent a car without a credit card is usually between EUR 20 and 30 per day of rental.
Such insurance is often called full insurance and in the international nomenclature it is marked with the abbreviation: SCDW (short for: Super Collision Damage Waiver).
More details on car rental
This much general information should be enough to start with. We will move on to the specific search for car rental companies and offers in a moment, but before that, I would like to draw your attention to the fact that at the end of the entry there is a much more detailed description of the car rental rules. Probably, when you analyze the offers yourself, not everything will be clear to you. If there is a problem with the interpretation of information in the offers and something is unclear to you, then look for answers to your doubts by reading the second part of this text.
Where to rent a car?
There is no one best rental company that puts all others on the shoulder, has the best prices, the latest cars and only it can be recommended. If someone recommends one, it means they probably haven't checked many others. In addition, setting up for one rental is high risk. It often turns out that there are no free cars left for the period you are interested in, and then what?
Instead of recommending one company, I will show you how to look for the best offers and how to choose the one that will be the best at the moment.
We will use a comparison engine (basically price comparison engines) to search. If you don't have the time or inclination for deep comparisons, you can limit yourself to searching only in the first comparison engine. With high probability, the result obtained from it will be satisfactory. However, if you want to be 100% sure, you can verify your choice in the second of the search engines I have proposed.
You can also not look for a car in advance and look for something small only when you get there. It is worth remembering, however, that small, really small rental companies, which are often not even in comparison websites, have a tiny photo, consisting of only a few cars. Cars are not replaced and are operated for many years until they die of old age. Deciding on this type of rental, you can find just such a car and then I sympathize (I experienced such a horror in Madeira, where I got a car with a burnt clutch and worn brakes). There is no shortage of small rental companies in Malta. However, many people notice the problem and pay attention to the fact of heavy wear and tear of cars issued to customers.
Larger rental companies regularly refresh the photo and carry out the required inspections, keeping the cars in good condition. The risk of getting your hands on a corpse is much lower here.
Where to find a car?
I have done a lot of searching, testing and checking various options, and the final conclusions lead me to limit my search to two comparison websites.
The second of them is a car rental tycoon known to everyone and operating all over the world, i.e Rentalcars. However, I put it in the second position, because about two years ago I came across a quite young then, and now quite well-known comparison website: Discover Cars. This is number one for me right now. Why? I have explained this in the short characterization below.
So, do your main search in Discover Cars. You can search in the second search engine to verify that the offer from Discover Cars is actually the best.
Discover Cars - [click]
Comparison Discover Cars pays great attention to having as many local companies as possible. It's just great in that regard! Besides, it has a huge database of global companies within it. It is a great tool thanks to which you can immediately compare local prices with the prices of the largest market players. Here, sometimes (if you're lucky) you'll come across temporary price promotions that will save you a lot of money. Discover Cars it is a database that must be searched.
Rentalcars - [click]
Rentalcars is the world's largest database of car rental offers. Number 1 in the world for years. However, it focuses mainly on the largest and most extensive car rental networks, so there is often a lack of offers from small, local companies. However, it is always worth checking if some giant has not decided to make a promotion.
Other search engines and comparison engines
On the Internet you will find many other search engines and car price comparison engines. I have been observing them for years (because I have been renting cars in various places for many years). Searching most of them does not add any new quality to the search results, and often produces the same result as the pages suggested above. Why? Because they are only copies of the biggest and best search engines. The largest market players make their databases available to other parties electronically (using the so-called API key) and new pages are created that actually search the same database. It is obvious that you will not get any better and more interesting offers from them. You will get exactly the same result.
Therefore, searching for copies of the same databases does not make sense.
How to find good deals?
At the beginning I assumed that the guide would be very condensed. I will try to reduce the search process to a few simple steps, thanks to which you will be able to quickly filter offers, selecting only the most interesting ones.
When analyzing offers, pay attention to four key parameters:
1. The rental price
It's obvious and you don't need to explain it to anyone. The comparison engine does all the work for us, arranging offers according to the increasing price.
2. Scope of insurance
The best option is a rental with full SCDW insurance, which will reduce our liability to a minimum (and preferably to zero).
Finding an offer with full insurance often eliminates even the need for a credit card.
3. Credit Card Requirements
Always check (if possible) whether you'll need a credit card, even if you don't think you will. It is better to check it twice than to have a problem on the spot when it turns out that the rental company wants to set up a small deposit of symbolic EUR 100.
I had such a case, but fortunately an ordinary payment / debit card was enough, on which the rental company blocked just EUR 100.
On the other hand, experience teaches me that it is always worth having a basic credit card with a small limit, on which it will be possible to make a small deposit, at the level of the proverbial EUR 100. Such a credit card is available in virtually every bank and costs practically nothing.
4. Amount of own contribution
Don't skip this step. Check the excess amount for your own safety. Some offers I reject just because of too high own contribution. Why?
Imagine two offers that look like this:
First offer: car rental cost per week EUR 350, deductible EUR 2
Second offer: car rental cost per week 370 EUR, deductible 300 EUR
Which one will you choose? Because I will choose the latter. I prefer to pay 20 EUR more for the rental than risk a huge excess in the event of a mishap.
Examples and analysis of car rental offers
It's time to start a specific search. I know that a few specific examples can explain more than a hundred pages of description.
So we go to the page DiscoverCars - [click] and enter the direction and date you are interested in in the search field.
As you can see in the picture, I entered Malta Airport, and the date from 15 to 22 January 2023 (this is the date of the winter holidays). We are looking for a car for 7 days.
I press on "Searchand after waiting a while I get the results ordered by ascending price.
Example one - lowest price
Let's start with the analysis of the offer that was displayed to me at the top of the search results, or the one with the lowest price.
First look at the price: EUR 27,63 for 7 days (!!!) rental. Yes! This is not the price for 1 day, this is the price for 7 days. Is it possible? I know that I am looking for a rental in the winter, off-season, but does this justify such a low price?
This is a good time to pay attention to the practice used by some rental companies. They knowingly set the base rental price so low. The low price encourages customers to book a car, but … there must be a catch somewhere! I can blindly say that the catch is hidden in the amount of the deposit. A client who didn't read the rental conditions carefully when booking this shockingly attractive offer arrives at the place and ... it turns out that he can't afford the deposit. What's next?
There is no tragedy. The rental company then says that you need to buy full insurance, which will significantly reduce the deposit amount (e.g. to a symbolic EUR 300) and that's it.
A customer who does not have a credit card then says that even such a deposit is unattainable for him, because he does not have a suitable card. The rental company again says: no problem. You need to buy another insurance that will reduce the deposit to zero and that's it.
Ultimately, you will leave the rental with the keys and the car, but you will probably pay 30% more than if you would immediately load and search for a more expensive, but including the required insurance, offer.
So let's check the amount of the deposit required in this offer. To check it out, you need to click on the link "Loan conditions”, which is indicated by the red arrow number 2.
A new window will appear, in which you click on the section "Bailas indicated by the arrow in the image below.
After expanding the deposit section, you have access to information about the required card and the amount blocked on the deposit card.
In this case, the car rental company only accepts credit cards (this entry is indicated by the arrow no. 2), and the blocked amount is EUR 1 (a little over PLN 500).
You will not be able to move the money blocked on the card and it will become unavailable to you. So you need extra money to pay for all other vacation costs.
Finally, let's check the value of the deductible, which the rental company will be able to charge you in the event of an accident. To do this, click on the "Protection"
After expanding the section "Protection” we see information that the deductible is EUR 1 and it is identical for both a road collision and car theft.
Example two - filtering the results
The Discover Cars search engine has some great filtering tools that are worth using. Filters and search works well on both desktop and phone.
If you are working on a computer, you will find the filters in the panel on the left. On the phone, they are available under the “All filters” link at the top of the screen.
In this example, I will select two filters:
1. In the “Car specification"I will mark"Automatic Transmission". In Malta, you drive on the left. The gear lever is therefore operated with the left hand. Controlling left-hand traffic is hard enough for a driver who has been on the right all his life, so I want to make my life easier and not worry about changing gears.
2. In the “Refundable deposit” I mark the smallest possible value. Currently, the lowest value available is EUR 500. There are (rarely) dates on which there are also offers with a deposit of 0 EUR. No this time, so it's hard. I mark the lowest one.
In this way, I eliminate from the search results offers with a deposit that is too high, exceeding my capabilities.
The cheapest offer now looks like below.
The base price is still very attractive at €101,07 for 7 days. Checking the other parameters: the deposit and the amount of material liability, i.e. the own contribution (the same as in the previous example), I see that:
– the amount of the deposit is: PLN 2, which is approx 470 EUR (credit card required)
– own contribution (material responsibility): 1 500 EUR
I'm still not satisfied with this offer, so I keep looking.
The offer of CarQ rental looks interesting, which was only in seventh place and is presented as in the picture below.
The higher rental amount (EUR 184,36) is compensated by the remaining rental conditions. The rental company does not require a credit card and accepts ordinary payment cards - debit cards (arrow no. 2 in the picture below) to make a deposit. The deposit is low and is only 290 EUR (arrow number 1).
The amount of material liability is also lower and amounts to EUR 650 (you already know how to check it).
Example three - more expensive does not mean worse
Further searches in slightly more expensive offers brought even better results.
Take a look at the Cargini rental offer.
The rental price of EUR 224,93 still looks very good, but check out the other parameters of the offer:
– deposit in the amount of: 150 EUR
- accepted ordinary payment cards - debit cards
– own contribution (material responsibility): 300 EUR
It all sounds really good and I would ultimately choose this offer.
Detailed description of insurance
Below you will find once again a reminder of the most important things related to renting a car, making it easier to understand "how it works".
Before the first rental, it is worth getting acquainted with this material in its entirety. You will quickly appreciate the value of this knowledge.
Before you rent a car - be sure to read it!
Before you dive into the abyss of car rental deals, there are a few things you need to know. First for your own safety and second for the security of your wallet.
It is obvious that when renting a car, you get your hands on a fairly expensive item, and at the same time very exposed to damage or failure. It doesn't even have to be your fault. Just a coincidence, such as a stone, which at any moment may pop out from under the wheels of another car and hit your car, scratch the paint or break the windshield. Or, in a parking lot, a car parked next to you may catch on your exit and leave a thick scratch. You might not even be there. You may not even know it. There are many examples.
A rental company that gives you its car must protect itself somehow. Loan agreements are usually long, multi-page documents, drafted in legal language, most often in a foreign language. When renting, you have maybe one minute to read it and sign the document. Of course, someone will say that you can try to read the contract template in advance, before borrowing. Yes you can. However, I do not know anyone who would be able to read contract templates from several dozen rental companies in advance and finally choose one. It's even a pity to try.
There is no miraculous way to get rid of the responsibility for the property entrusted to you by the rental company (although for an appropriate fee, this responsibility can be passed on to the insurance companybut more on that).
However, there are methods and schemes of conduct that allow for risk reduction and maximum safe car rentalwithout having to go into the content of the contracts. I will describe the entire process as briefly and specifically as possible.
How is the rental company secured?
A rental company, when giving a car to you, basically has to take care of one thing: to secure financing for the repair or purchase of a new car in case the car is damaged or stolen.
Of course, the potential financier is you (and insurance)! It's clear. You take the car, you are responsible for it.
So what does the rental company do? When renting a car, they ask you for a credit card with a sufficiently high limit, which in case of problems will be a source of money for them to finance the repair. The appropriate amount is put on the card deposit, then you sign the contract, get the keys and go.
depositis the first very important detail that you must pay attention to when browsing through the offers.
What is a credit card deposit?
The deposit is the amount that the rental company blocks on your credit card. This amount does not disappear from your card. It is still there, but it is not usable.
Suppose you have a credit card with a limit of EUR 1000. You rent a car from the rental company, and the rental conditions contain information about deposit in height 800 EUR.
You pick up the car. Then the rental company will make a deposit on the card when picking it up: according to the agreement, EUR 800. There is still 1000 EUR on your card but 800 EUR is locked and until the lock is released you cannot use these funds. Available you have 200 EUR left.
If you had a plan to use the same card to pay for a hotel that costs e.g. 400 EUR, you will not succeed. The deposit will be released at the earliest approximately 24 hours after the car is returned, and it often takes longer than a week. It is worth remembering and it is best to have a different (debit) card or a correspondingly higher limit on the credit card to pay for other obligations.
What is the deposit on the credit card for?
In this way, rental companies protect themselves against dishonest customers. If the customer does not fulfill the terms of the contract, the rental costs will be deducted from the deposit. Suppose you are 8 hours late to return your car. The contract provides for an additional fee for this. Regardless of your will, the rental company can collect an appropriate amount from the deposit.
Another example: You picked up a car with a full tank and returned it with an empty one. The rental company charges itself the value of full refueling and additional service costs. It is now more or less as if a liter of fuel costs EUR 2. So e.g. a fuel tank of 50 L * 2 EUR / L = 100 EUR. This is roughly the amount that will disappear from the deposit. Examples can be multiplied (scratch on a car, broken mirror, broken windshield, damaged upholstery, etc.).
The amount of the deposit that rental companies place on the card is usually equal to the amount of the so-called deductible. Own contribution is the next very important issue that you need to know and check before renting.
Deductible and car insurance
In addition to the deposit, which is blocked directly on your credit card, renting a car involves taking on a commitment of the so-called own share.
The deductible applies in the case of:
- destruction or damage to the car
- car theft
Each rental company individually sets the amount of the excess. Separately for destruction and separately for car theft.
The deductible - in short - is the maximum cost that you undertake to pay if one of the above events takes place (i.e. damage or theft).
The assumption is that if the costs resulting from the removal of damage are greater than the excess amount accepted by you in the contract, then you are responsible only up to the amount of the excess, and the remaining costs are covered by the insurance.
Currently, virtually all rental companies include the cost of this insurance in the basic price of the vehicle.
Vehicle damage insurance - CDW
This is the basic, compulsory insurance that covers the vehicle (it is often called Full Insurance on the rental websites, which can be misleading, I am sensitizing, it is a common practice).
The practice of calling the basic insurance full insurance is probably aimed at suggesting to the client that he is purchasing a better insurance package at a similar price. Then the offer seems more attractive, but in reality it is not. So it is worth checking whether the insurance called full is insurance CDW or actually full (SCDW - about which I will write a little below).
I did not find an offer where the insurance would be subject to a surcharge. Everywhere it was at the basic price of the vehicle.
CDW is an abbreviation of the English name Collision Damage Waiver. Having this insurance limits your liability for damage to the amount of your own contribution.
However, in order not to be too colorful, this insurance usually excludes: windows, tires and chassis. There may be more exceptions. This means that if, for example, during a collision, damage has touched elements that are excluded from insurance, you will pay extra for their repair.
If you have been driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, then no insurance coverage works. You pay the full amount of the repair costs.
Theft insurance - TP
It is an insurance which, in the event of theft of a vehicle, limits your financial liability to the amount of your deductible.
The name of the insurance is an abbreviation of the English version of Theft Protection.
The cost of this insurance is included in the basic vehicle rental price.
I did not find an offer where the insurance would be subject to a surcharge. Everywhere it was at the basic price of the vehicle.
Full damage insurance - SCDW
This type of insurance completely or partially removes your liability for damage to the car and this is true full damage insurance.
If you want to throw off the responsibility for possible damage to the car, look for exactly such offers, with full insurance. We care about such offers the most and we are looking for such offers.
The name comes from the English version: Super Collision Damage Waiver.
After purchasing this insurance, your liability is reduced to zero, less often to a symbolic amount of around EUR 100 - 500 (depending on the brand and price of the new vehicle).
The rental companies that the basic insurance wrongly (or intentionally call) call this type of insurance: All Inclusive ..., Super ..., All Protection ... etc.
When booking on comparison websites, you can buy full insurance with each rental SCDW. However, you should be aware that this is an insurance that you buy in the comparison website, not in the target rental company. What does it mean? This means that if there is damage or theft of the car, the car rental company will charge your account up to the amount of your own contribution, and for the reimbursement of this amount under your insurance, you must apply to the comparison site with which you took out the insurance.
The solution that eliminates this problem is to search for an offer in the comparison engine that already includes full insurance SCDW. This is clearly stated on the offer. By choosing an offer in which it is already included SCDW do not take out insurance, which is additionally offered by the comparison website, because you do not need two identical types of insurance.
Travel Insurance - PAI
Often, when renting, insurance for people traveling with a rented car is also offered. It has nothing to do with the car itself, it only applies to people. If you buy insurance for yourself before traveling, you do not need it.
The abbreviation comes from the English name: Personal Accident Insurance.
This insurance is often included in the package with SCDW.
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One comment on “Malta - car rental without a credit card, no deposit"
Good and comprehensive article. With rentals it's like with traveling, you're either lucky or unlucky... Generally, I like small local rentals without a refundable deposit and paid in cash, it's probably the safest. I know a few of them in Crete. The big network ones are a lottery, you can be unlucky.