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Zipcar is a car sharing company that offers on-demand car reservation and driving services. Zipcars are available in over 500 dedicated locations in cities and universities around the US and Canada. Zipcar members may unlock the car with a personal card called Zipcard or through Zipcar's mobile app.

After Your Membership Is Approved, You’ll Receive A Zipcard. Let’s Look At The Zipcar Card And How To Use Zipcar Without It:

  1. Get Your Zipcard
  2. Activate And Use Your Zipcard
  3. Download And Use Zipcar’s Mobile App
  4. Report A Lost Or Stolen Zipcard
  5. Use Zipcar’s Mobile App To Unlock Your Zipcar

1. Get Your Zipcard

Your Zipcard smart card is sent to the address you provided on the application within seven business days. When renting a Zipcar, you do not receive a key but use your Zipcard or the company’s mobile app to unlock the car you have booked, which starts your rental period. After it is activated, your Zipcard works for every rental you make.

Your Zipcard works just like any hotel keycard; it enables you to access the car you have rented by unlocking the doors of your Zipcard. Inside the car, you will find the actual car keys and the car's gas card. Your Zipcard links your details, including your driver’s license, residential address, booking details, and rental history, to the vehicle’s usage profile, like mileage, location, and gas consumption.

Each on-demand Zipcar automatically has features linked to each member's account once they unlock and access the vehicle using a Zipcard or mobile app. Features include free gas for all the trips and 180 miles per 24 hours (additional mileage is charged separately.) Zipcar provides members with basic insurance coverage, including free parking and vehicle maintenance.

2. Activate And Use Your Zipcard

Once you have received your Zipcard, you must activate it online before using it. You do this by signing into your Zipcar account, using the email address you provided when you applied for a Zipcar membership, and your selected password. If you cannot remember your password, select “Forgot password?” on the login page, enter your email address and receive instructions on resetting your password.

Once you have logged in, find and click on the My Account link and select account Setting, followed by your Plan, and opt to Activate your membership. You can pick a car and reserve it online, via a desktop browser, the company's mobile app, or even telephonically at 1-866-4ZIPCAR. Note that the agent fee applies for telephonic reservations.

Once booked, your reservation will be confirmed, and the address of the parking lot where your Zipcar is parked will be mailed to you. Get to your car sometime before your allotted rental start time. Ensure that the Zipcar's number is the same as your reservation's. Next, find the card reader in the corner of the vehicle’s windshield.

To unlock the Zipcar, hold your Zipcard against the card reader for a few seconds. You will hear the car unlocking. If your car remains locked, contact the Zipcar hotline. Next, do a thorough damage check around and inside the car. If you find any damage or dirt, take a photo of each case, and contact the Zipcar hotline immediately. Your report will remain accessible online.

3. Download and Use Zipcar’s Mobile App

Zipcar has a free mobile on-demand app that allows members to book a round trip anytime and everywhere. Once booked, the app offers a picture of the vehicle's location and allows you to access and change your reservation. As you go through the initial car check, you can use the app to report dirt and damages and ensure your report is saved and available for scrutiny later, if necessary.

Your first step is finding a Zipcar nearby. Use the app to locate a parking lot and pick a car in one of four categories: compacts, cargo vans, luxury cars, and hybrids, for those who seek an environmentally friendly vehicle. The app enables you to access available cars and choose the car that suits your needs, budget, and specific requirement, such as whether the car is available during the period you wish to have it.

The app may also extend your rental if it isn't booked to another member. If the car is available, you can rent it without returning it to the location first. If it has been booked already, use the app to book another car and return the one you now have to the location to avoid late fees.

Zipcar’s “End trip” facility on the app is another useful feature: you are expected to return the car to the same spot where you got it. If you are unsure where the exact spot is, tap the “End trip” tab to be guided to the correct spot. The app is useful when wrapping up your rental. Use it to confirm that your trip has ended. The app will remind you of things you need to do, such as leaving at least a quarter tank of gas.

4. Report A Lost Or Stolen Zipcard

After having carried your Zipcard in your wallet, together with the other cards you use, you discover that the card is gone. Did you drop or leave it somewhere by mistake, or was it stolen from your wallet? Your worries are justified, but you can take a few quick actions to reduce and even eliminate the damage emanating from your lost card.

Firstly, contact the Zipcar hotline and repost the card stolen. This will enable the company to block the card from being used again while tracking potential uses of the card on Zipcars anywhere. Having the card blocked immediately prevents someone from renting a Zipcar with your card, and the second benefit is protecting your data from being used fraudulently.

Once you have notified Zipcar that your card is lost, damaged, or stolen, and the company put a block on the card, you can ask them to send you a replacement card, which is done through USPS First Class mail. As a part of your membership, you may apply for one free Zipcard replacement annually. Any subsequent replacement costs $15.

5. Use Zipcar’s Mobile App To Unlock Your Zipcar

In addition to using your Zipcar application to find a car, manage reservations, report damage to the vehicle, or neglectful usage of it, you may also use the app to unlock the car, just like a Zipcard does. This means that if you cannot use your Zipcard after it has been activated for whatever reason, Zipcar's mobile app will do that for you easily.

To unlock your car with Zipcar mobile app, log into your account, find your reservation, and click on “Unlock.” The car doors will click open like they did when you used your Zipcard, just as they do when you use your Zipcard. Is it pointless to seek a replacement card instead of the lost one? It is better to keep both Zipcard and app ready if your phone experiences a bad signal or a flat battery.