Magazine article American Banker

Visa Guarantees Car Rentals at Peak Times

Magazine article American Banker

Visa Guarantees Car Rentals at Peak Times

Article excerpt

At the behest of major car rental companies, Visa U.S.A. has introduced a guaranteed reservation service for peak travel times.

Visa said the service was available beginning Monday at participating renters, including Hertz, Avis, National, and Budget. Cardholders who give their account numbers at the time of their reservation can be assured that a car will be awaiting them.

To attack a growing "no show" problem, the rental companies will offer guarantees when demand is high, mainly around holiday periods and special events. The service will be similar to the hotel late- arrival guarantees that customers can secure with credit card numbers.

Visa, the first of the major card groups to introduce the car- rental convenience, said users will no longer have to book cars at a number of agencies to make sure they get one. By reducing the number of no-shows, the rental companies should be able to manage their fleets better.

As a byproduct of the guarantees, renters would penalize no- shows. Visa no-shows would have to pay as much as a one-day rental fee if they do not cancel reservations at least eight hours before the scheduled pickup.

American Express Travel Related Services Co. is developing a similar service, which a spokesman said could be available in the first quarter. A no-show penalty of up to two days would kick in if a reservation was not canceled 48 hours in advance.

MasterCard International does not have a rental guarantee in the works, a spokesman for that association said, because "we haven't seen a great deal of interest in something like this. …

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