Do I Need a Credit Card to Rent a Campervan or a Motorhome in Iceland?
Updated: Aug 10
This is a very common question that we get basically everyday. When planning your trip, after setting up the dates, the itinerary, flights and so on, there comes a time to wonder what requirements there are to rent a vehicle in Iceland. You will probably wonder if the things look similar as it is in your country or maybe there are some extra requirements that you need to fulfil? It is important to know all that before coming to Iceland so that you have no nasty surprises upon the arrival, right? We will investigate this topic a bit further and will find out if you need a credit card in Iceland or if a debit card is enough.
When can I use a debit card to rent a campervan or a motorhome in Iceland?
You already have your flights booked, you know which model you wish to get, and everything is all set up. Now it is time to make your campervan or motorhome reservation. Most of the local companies let you book online. Only 15-17% of the total payment is required at the time of booking confirmation. This can be paid with a standard debit card, no need for a credit card here.
The remaining balance is to be settled upon your arrival which is a great advantage as you do not need to pay the whole amount at once. Debit card are accepted in the offices. Even cash payments are allowed in some cases, but that should be checked with the company in advance.
Some of the companies allow you to pay off the remaining amount online, using a payment link. This is also a very comfortable option for those who do not want to worry about anything when they arrive in Iceland. Here you can easily use your debit card as well.
When do I need a credit card to rent a vehicle in Iceland?
When you arrive in Iceland and you finally get to the rental office, you will be asked for few things. You will need to present your ID card or passport, driver’s license and finally a valid credit card. The agent from the office will take an imprint of it for the security of the booking. Most of the companies do not block any deposit on your card. However, in some cases you might be asked for a deposit of around 350 000 ISK. This is mainly for the bigger motorhomes and some of the newer campervans. You can check which models require a deposit online in Terms and Conditions, or by simply sending an email using the contact form online.
The reason for this procedure is that there are unfortunately still many irresponsible tourists who drive with no cautious. Due to damages to the vehicles or speeding tickets, unpaid fines, etc. rental companies had to find a way to protect themselves. Do not take it personally though! We do believe that you are a good and experienced driver, but the roads and weather conditions in Iceland are unlike anywhere else!
Remember that the credit card given for the guarantee can belong to any of the travellers, not necessarily to the driver. Note that a credit card belonging to someone else, if they are not present at the pick up, will not be accepted even if you have a written authorisation. The owner must be present.
Do I need a PIN number to use my credit card in Iceland?
The answer is simple, YES. In order to use your credit card in Iceland for different payments, you will need to have a PIN number with you.
As you may already know, Iceland is a country where you basically do not need cash on you. You can make card payments everywhere, from the gasoline stations to restaurants and even at small local shops. Beware though that the salesman will ask you to put the PIN on the machine.
In many countries you can use your credit card without the PIN number and your signature is enough. This is not the case in Iceland. If you do not know your PIN number, contact your bank entity and they will provide you with one. Allow a few weeks as credit card PIN numbers arrive through snail mail.
Do I need a credit card to rent a camper or a motorhome in Iceland?
I hope that we answered your question and there is another thing to tick off from your checklist. Just to summarize it once again: You are more than welcome to use your debit card for the payment of your rental. A valid credit card is only required as a security deposit. All clear now? Let's start your road trip around Iceland!