When you are planning a trip to South Africa, it is always a good idea to book a rental car.
It allows you complete freedom of movement and a safe way to travel the country. Without a car, you are unable to visit our stunning wine farms or other attractions, like seeing Table Mountain or exploring the foodie spots in the inner city.
But, one of the most common issues with rental cars is understanding the payment processes.
We are here to explain these processes and give you all the help you need before renting a car in South Africa.
Can I Rent A Car Without A Credit Card?
Unfortunately, all car rentals must be paid using a credit card.
This is due to a high incidence of fraud, and means many car rental companies cannot accept cash, EFT (electronic fund transfer) Payments, or debit cards.
It also ensures the financial security of the car rental company and that all payments are secure for the person paying.
The credit card will need to be in the name of the main driver, because they will be held legally responsible for the car throughout the rental period.
Why Was A Refundable Amount Blocked On My Card?
It can be alarming to see a refundable amount blocked on your card, but there is a good reason behind it.
Your quotation will specify both the total rental amount that is payable and the total refundable deposit amount that is payable.
This is to ensure that you have sufficient funds. There is no debit on your statement, the bank is simply holding the money, and once you return the car, the money will be released by the bank.
When Are My Deposits Cleared Or Refunded?
As soon as the car has been checked and fuelled, the invoice will be finalised and any balance of the deposit will be automatically refunded. This is provided that no charges have been incurred.
For overseas visitors, the refund will usually reflect on your statement within seven days. If, after seven days, the amount does not reflect, please contact your car rental company for advice or help.
Who Can Pay For The Rental?
The issue of who pays for the rental has strict rules. The driver of the rental car must be the holder of the credit card used to pay for the rental.
Another person may pay for the car rental if you are unable to do so, but the contract must be in their name, and they must be present to collect the car.
This person will need to provide their credit card (that is in their name) as well as a valid driver’s license. International visitors will need to provide a valid passport.
If someone else will be paying for your rental car, they can add you as an additional driver at the standard fee.
Is There A Cancellation Fee If I Can No Longer Make The Trip?
In terms of a cancellation fee if you can no longer make your trip, this depends on several aspects.
For standard vehicles, if the vehicle has been cancelled at least 24 hours before your arrival, there will be no cancellation fee payable.
If you have hired a luxury vehicle, a cancellation fee will be charged for cancelling less than seven days before your arrival.
For three or more vehicles, the cancellation fee will apply if you have cancelled less than 18 days until your arrival.
How Can I Extend Car Rental?
If you would like to extend your car rental period, you can contact the Star Car Rental office and let us know your new return date and time.
We will check our schedule and let you know if this can be done. Do not assume automatically that your car will be available to extend, especially during peak season.
Please be aware there might be an additional authorisation reserved on your credit card for the additional costs.
How Do I Compare Prices Of Car Rental Companies?
When you are comparing prices of car rental companies there are certain aspects you can look at to find the best value:
- How old are the vehicles on offer?
- What is the limitation on the kilometers offered?
- Are the airport surcharges included if the car is being collected from an airport?
- Is there a countrywide backup for long-distance travel?
- What does the insurance cover, and what will your personal liability be?
- Does the coverage include windscreen and tyre and rim cover?
- What excess amount will you be liable for?
Knowing all of these aspects will help you to choose the best possible car rental company.
When Do I Pay for My Rental Car?
When paying for your rental car, some direct booking sites require you to make a payment upfront.
It is strongly advised not to do so, as you will be paying for a service you have not yet received. Star Car Rental deals with only the most reputable brands and upfront payment is not an option.
Credit card details are only required at least 24 hours before if the car is being delivered.
If the car is being collected at the airport or an authorised depot then credit card payments are only made on taking delivery. We do not require card details in advance for collections.
If you are booking a car during peak season, generally 15th December to 1st Jan, some suppliers will insist on being paid upfront to confirm a booking because of the demand.
This is performed using a secure link, but if you are unhappy with this, we will quote a different supplier who does not have that as a requirement.
Knowing how you can pay, when you should pay, and learning more about refundable amounts will enable you to make the best car rental decision.
You will also be more prepared for any unexpected expenses, like insurance charges and extension costs.
Ready to start planning your next journey? Speak to Star Car Rental about what cars we have available for you.