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One of the best ways to get around when you don't have a car or public transportation won't suffice is to use Zipcar car sharing. However, many think the application (sign-up) process is tedious, long, and boring. Let's break down how easy it is.

The Zipcar application process consists of three easy steps that will only take a few minutes and will have you verified almost instantly. It includes choosing a plan and registering an account, getting verified by uploading your credentials and booking your Zipcar for a trip.

This article will detail exactly what you need to do to register as a Zipcar member and get approved (verified) within minutes. It will also go over other relevant information like what to do if you are not approved, using your Zipcar app and Zipcard to unlock and lock the car, and more.

The Application Process Defined

Zipcar boasts their application process to be as easy as 1, 2, and 3. Although somewhat simplified, the steps that Zipcar outlines are;

  1. Pick a plan
  2. Verification
  3. Book a trip

Choosing A Zipcar Plan And Signing Up

If you intend to become a Zipcar member, the first thing you will need to decide before signing up is what plan to choose. Zipcar offers three distinct memberships in the U.K. versus a monthly and annual membership for U.S. residents.

Regarding the U.K. plans, you can choose from Basic, Smart, or Plus. The Basic plan has a £10 sign-up fee but no monthly membership fee, with driving rates from £8.50 an hour and £79 a day.

The Smart plan is a £6 monthly membership fee that has driving rates of £6.50 per hour and £59 per day, while the Plus plan is a premium of £15 a month with driving rates that include £5.50 per hour and £55 per day.

For U.S. residents, the monthly subscription fee is $8 per month includes driving rates of $11 per hour and $91.50 per day, while the annual membership will cost you $80 per year (you save $16) with inclusive driving rates of $11 per hour and $91.50 per day.

Take note that U.S. residents have the luxury of these additional benefits;

  • Secondary insurance included for all trips
  • Free gas for all trips
  • 24/7 roadside assistance and maintenance
  • 180 miles per 24 hours and $0.58 per mile afterward

After you have selected the appropriate plan for yourself, you will be taken to another screen, where you will be prompted to input your name, email address, and other relevant information (your phone number). Once that is done, you will fill out your password and create your account.

How To Verify Your Zipcar Account and Membership

Verifying your Zipcar account will require you to have three elements, one of which is a Zipcar membership account you have signed up for.

Once you have chosen one of the membership plans that include Basic, Smart, or Plus (in the U.K.) or monthly or annually (in the USA) and have gone through the account creation process (which you can find here), you will need to log into your account. You will then be prompted to upload these items;

  • A photo of yourself
  • A photocopy of your driver's license

Booking A Trip With Zipcar

Once you have uploaded your documentation and been approved, you can instantly book your ride through the Zipcar app, which can be found for both iPhone and Android. Additionally, you will also be sent a Zipcard, which is a backup way of opening up a Zipcar.

How Long Does It Take For Zipcar To Approve You?

Zipcar will typically approve (verify) you within a couple of minutes, but in some instances, this process can take several days. In these situations, Zipcar will inform you of your application status via your account, which you will need to log into and check.

What if Zipcar does not approve you instantly?

If you are not approved instantly or within a few minutes, you will need to check your account to see if Zipcar requires any additional information. In these instances, there will be a banner located at the top of your account page with one of these explanations;

  • Application In Review
  • Application Incomplete
  • Application Rejected

How Long Does It Take To Get Approved By Zipcar U.K.?

The response to a submitted application for approval (verification) for U.K. residents will typically be within 48 hours. However, the response is usually quicker than that.

Zipcar advises if you are a U.K. resident to open an account well in advance if you plan a desired trip because this process is not instantaneous.

Can You Use Zipcar Before Your Card Arrives?

Up to about 2017, you could not access a Zipcar unless you had the Zipcard, which would take up to 7 business days to arrive in the mail.

However, more recently, Zipcar introduced the unlock and lock feature that you can access via the app. This essentially works the same as the Zipcard. One thing to note is that your smartphone must have data or be connected to WiFi if you intend to use the mobile app to unlock or lock the car.

Can You Activate A Zipcar Without A Card?

Besides not needing a Zipcard to unlock and lock the car because utilizing the Zipcar mobile app can get the job done for you, you will also not need Zipcard to activate the car. Once you have unlocked the car with the app, you will usually find the keys attached to the steering wheel.

It will help if you remember that the Zipcard and app can only be used for locking and unlocking the car and automated startup via the Zipcard or app are not an option.

Can You Get A Zipcar Without A Membership?

There is no possible way for you to use a Zipcar if you do not have a membership. This includes all regions where this service is available (the U.S., U.K., and Canada).

Note that many different membership options are available depending on where you live. Moreover, if a family member or friend already has a membership, there is an option to add you as an associated member.


 We discovered that the application process to become a Zipcar member is very simple. The process only includes three easy steps: choosing a plan and registering, uploading your credentials to get verified, and then booking your Zipcar for a trip.

The verification process is almost instantaneous, while U.K. members will have to wait up to 48 hours. If you find that you are not verified, then simply check your account to see your status.