Banking in Istanbul and Turkey

Whilst Ankara is the capital city of Turkey, Istanbul is the financial and business capital of the country. Most export and import businesses operate out of Istanbul. Therefore, there are many banks, domestic and international in Istanbul. Fifty-three to be exact.

Due to the 2016 military coup and other terrorist attacks, Turkey lost its place as a top tourist destination. Consequently, the economy is still suffering. The Turkish lira is at an all-time low and times are tough for the average Turk. Still, there are many banks in Istanbul and many ATMs scattered around the city.

Banks are open between 9:00 and 17:00 every weekday. They are closed on the weekends and religious and national holidays.

As an ex-pat in Istanbul, you will need a local bank account for various reasons. It is the easiest way to pay bills and have your local wages deposited directly into your account.

How to open a Turkish bank account

The basic requirements to open a Turkish bank account are:

  • Your passport

  • Your Turkish tax identification number

  • Proof of address such as a lease or utility bill from the last three months.

How to obtain a Turkish Tax Identification number

To obtain this number you have to apply at your nearest tax office with your passport.

Turkish banks that have English websites

  • Yapi Kredi is Turkey’s fourth-largest bank with 908 branches around Turkey. Their website can be accessed in English which makes its a favorite with ex-pats.

  • İşbank is a popular bank for foreigners and has all communications possible in English.

  • HSBC is an international bank however the Turkish account is not connected to a UK account. HSBC does have a website in English and has English-speaking staff at all their branches.

  • Denizbank is another excellent choice for ex-pats as it has a website in English, English speaking staff at all branches and offers competitive interest rates for investors.

  • Akbank associated with Western Union has an English website for foreigners.

Other large banks in Turkey are Ziraat, Finansbank, Vakifbank, Halkbank, Garanti Bank. For a list of all Turkish banks and their websites, click here.

Transferring money overseas and vice versa

This operation is getting simpler and faster as more facilities are now available. Our site offers a link to a great and competitive foreign exchange service.

Are Turkish banks safe for expatriates?

In these days of uncertainty and the economic downfall due to Covid-19, no bank’s security is sure. Turkish banks are as secure as most places in the world at this time. Your bank offers protection in the event of a financial crash. Your savings are guaranteed by your bank up to 100,000 TL. Expats should be careful about placing all their eggs in one basket.