Banking in Turkey

by Barclays Wealth International on June 2, 2010

Moving to Turkey?

Expatriate banking services in Turkey

Turkey is located in South-eastern Europe and South-western Asia. Turkey is a predominantly Muslim country, with a population consisting of approximately 75% Turkish Nationals, with a further 20% of the population being of Kurdish origin. The official language is Turkish, with Kurdish being the second language.

Turkey has a robust banking system, and has emerged from its own banking reforms in 2001, internal political turmoil in 2007/8, along with the recent global financial crisis unscathed.

The currency in circulation is the New Turkish Lira (TRY). As of April 2010, the exchange rate was approximately 2.30 TRY to £1 GBP (pound sterling).

Banks in Turkey

Central bank

Türkiye Cumhuriyet Merkez Bankasi AS – www.tcmb.gov.tr

Commercial banks in Turkey

  • Ziraat Bankası
  • Bankası
  • Garanti
  • Akbank TAS
  • Alternatif Bank
  • DenizBank
  • Finansbank
  • Oyak Bank
  • Sekerbank
  • Turkiye Is Bankasi AS (Isbank)

Bank opening times in Turkey

Banks in Turkey are generally open from 8.30am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. Many banks provide internet banking services that are accessible 24 hours per day, and also operate telephone banking services that offer extended opening hours, through to a full 24 hour service.

Banking services in Turkey

The major banks in Turkey offer a comprehensive range of retail banking services, catering for residents and non-residents, with many of the larger banks offering business and corporate banking services.

Retail banking services offered include investment products and services, deposit and savings accounts, personal loans and mortgages, checking accounts and money transfer services. The major banks offer internet banking and telephone banking, in addition to ATM banking services, with many of these services provided in English.

The main types of bank account in Turkey

Retail banking customers in Turkey are able to choose from a comprehensive selection of current, savings and deposit accounts, with a range of options for interest payments. Core accounts include:

  • Current accounts are typically used for day-to-day banking, and provide easy access to available funds. Many of the banks provide options for the accounts to be held in Turkish Lira or foreign currencies. Current account facilities include cheque facilities, ATM cards, phone banking and internet banking, giving customers the ability to get detailed account information, make payments and carry out other banking transactions. Interest paid on current accounts is typically low
  • Savings accounts offer more competitive interest rates than current accounts, but may include some restrictions regarding account withdrawals and access to funds. Many of the accounts on offer provide flexible regular savings options, lump-sum options, and the ability to select from a range of funds in which to invest a portion of your savings. In addition, there are monthly income savings accounts, which provide interest payments on a monthly basis to account holders
  • Deposit accounts – offer higher rates of interest, but typically offer more limited access to funds held on deposit. As with the savings accounts, there are flexible account options, depending on your personal preferences and attitude to risk

Opening a bank account when you arrive in Turkey

To open a bank account in Turkey, you will generally be asked by the bank to provide the following documentation when you visit a branch;

  • Original passport (the bank will make a photocopy of this)
  • Republic of Turkey Tax Identification Number (if you do not have an ID number, most banks will help you obtain one)
  • Completed proof of signature form
  • Proof of address (such as a recent utility bill)

Accounts can be approved on the same day, and access to your telephone banking and online banking can be activated shortly afterwards.

Opening a bank account before you arrive in Turkey

In addition to visiting a branch of a Turkish bank located internationally, many of the major banks offer online and telephone application services which can be completed from your home country. If you open an account remotely, you may be required to visit the bank when you arrive in Turkey, in order to complete the application process.

A flexible alternative to a local bank account in Turkey is to open an international account, which can be opened before you move to Turkey. International accounts can be used by clients living or working in Turkey, and also when travelling between international locations.

An account with Barclays Wealth International will give you access to a wide range of international banking services, including tax efficient offshore account options, online banking and a debit card in a choice of major currencies.

ATM services in Turkey

Turkey has a network of over 1400 Nakit 24/ Nakit 24 Ekstra ATMs, which allow you to withdraw money, make account balance enquiries, pay bills and make transfers. In addition, most ATM cards can be used at all Ziraat Bankası and Common Point ATMs. The shared ATM network for all banks in Turkey is the Tel Nokta ATM network, which is similar to the Link Network in the UK.

It is advisable to check which ATM services are free to use with your account, as fees can be charged for a range of ATM services, including balance enquiries and cash withdrawals. Using a credit card for a cash withdrawal from an ATM will also incur a charge, typically around 3% of the amount being withdrawn plus a fixed fee.

Credit cards

Many of the Turkish banks offer customers their own branded Visa and MasterCard credit cards. These can be applied for when your main bank account has been opened, with all credit cards being subject to approval and meeting the minimum requirements.

Major credit cards such as Visa and MasterCard are accepted throughout Turkey for making transactions and payments, but may be subject to a surcharge. In addition, credit cards can be used for cash withdrawals at ATM machines, but expect to incur a charge for this service.

Money transfers to and from Turkey

In addition to the range of money transfer services provided by Turkish banks and International banks, there is a wide selection of specialist money transfer businesses in operation in Turkey. The fees and charges applied to these services can vary considerably, so it is advisable to research the market prior to making any transfers.

Currently, there is no upper limit on the value of foreign currency that can be brought into Turkey, but an upper limit of $5,000 US dollars worth of Turkish currency may be brought into or taken out of the country. It is advisable to check with the Central Bank or Turkish Customs prior to travelling, to get the latest updates.

Bank charges

Bank charges in Turkey are levied on a range of services and products, but vary from bank to bank and across products and accounts. It is advisable to get a complete fee structure from the bank that you either hold your account with (or are considering opening an account with), to enable you to choose the most cost-effective account and service selection.

Banking in Turkey – other information

How numbers are written in Turkey

When writing large numbers in Turkey, full stops are used to separate groups of thousands, and decimal points are shown as commas.

  • One million will be shown as 1.000.000 rather than 1,000,000
  • 8.3% APR will be shown as 8,3% APR

Online help

Turkish Ombudsman

If you have any complaints or issues with a bank in Turkey, contact the Banking Ombudsman. Details are at http://www.bddk.org.tr

More information on banking with Barclays Wealth International

For further information about the benefits of opening an International Account before you move to Turkey, you can speak to a specialist adviser at Barclays Wealth International by calling +44 (0) 141 352 3902.

Alternatively, find out more about the overseas banking services and expat banking that are available from Barclays Wealth International.


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

zw88121 June 4, 2010 at 12:34 pm

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kraljevski rad October 1, 2011 at 7:44 pm

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