Payless Car Rental is a subsidiary of Avis Budget Group, Inc. The company was founded in 1971 in Spokane Washington. Currently, Payless Car Rental operates approximately 120 corporately-owned and franchise rental locations in the United States, Canada, Europe and South America for casual and business travelers on a budget.
- Available in 39 states
- Instant return options
- Roadside Assistance
Payless is located in 39 states. This is not the absolute highest, but it is on the higher end compared to other companies that are much more limited to an average of 23 states. More locations mean more availability in your city or airport destination.
Economy Price Range
Economy prices low across the industry. This is not including all the additional taxes and fees plus other add-ons like GPS.
Payless has a plethora of airport locations-everywhere from JFK Airport to small airports like Myrtle Beach. To add to the company's widespread presence, Payless has rental counters at most major airports throughout North America
You can return your car fast and without waiting in line-and leave the keys after hours, since after hours returns are permitted by Payless in most instances. Otherwise, you have to wait in line to turn your keys in at the counter during business hours.
Payless offers a Roadside Service Plan (RSP) for $4.99 ($3.99 for Florida) per rental day with benefits including:
- Emergency road service towing
- Jump start
- Flat tire change
- Lockout service
- Emergency fuel delivery
The price for this is on par with the industry standard for roadside assistance. It is on the lower side of the spectrum compared to other companies offering between $5-$7 per day.
- Strict cancellation policy
- No toll prepay options
Cancel notification must be received one hour prior to the scheduled arrival time unless otherwise specified on your reservation conformation. Customers can be charged a $50 fee for cancelling. This is inferior to some of their competition who either charge no cancellation fees (regardless of when they cancel) and even when compared with companies that do charge a standard cancellation fee (typically $25) whatever state you're in.
Toll Prepay Option
Payless offers e-toll for electronically traveling though tolls without cash. They direct you to their website to find out the terms and conditions. It seems that e-toll is a third party site and not offered through Payless as an add-on feature for an extra cost during the online reservation process-the way other companies offer on their websites. Since Payless doesn't offer prepay options directly through their site, you'll have to ask about it in person and/or over the phone.
On-Site Fuel Discount
There is no discount for fuel issued on-site to fill the tank when you return it. What you get is one of two fueling options:
- Option #1: You may purchase a full tank of fuel at the time of rental; bring the vehicle back with fuel at any level. There will be no credit issued for unused fuel.
- Option #2: You may bring the vehicle back full to avoid a charge or Payless will refuel your vehicle based on the miles driven or level of the tank. A refueling service fee will apply per gallon.
Without the advantage of a fuel discount (which a few rental companies may offer), it makes option #2 more worthwhile. Due to time constraints, or running late for your flight or other convenience issues, refueling the tank yourself can be very inconvenient.
Although you can check in your car online, you have to go to the rental counter to fully check in. A few companies let you check your car from the website with only your signature required in person.
The Bottom Line
Payless' prices are competitive in the car rental industry. They don't offer luxury cars or certain basic features that other companies offer. Payless does, however, have locations in almost every major city, airport and state, making them both available and convenient to use. If customers want to feel secure that their issues will be addressed in the case something goes wrong, they may want to look elsewhere for car rentals.