Updated 9 months ago

Owning a local bank account will significantly facilitate your life as an expat in Turkey. Not only might you need it for bills remittance or to deposit your wage if you are an employee, but it will also allow you to make your daily purchases without constantly paying the fees probably charged by your foreign bank for international transactions.

Opening and retaining a Turkish bank account is all in all a simple process, provided you pay attention to a few basic details.

Requirements to open a Turkish account

First of all, you will need a tax identification number to be able to open a bank account in Turkey. To procure one, just walk in the nearest tax office. You will have to present your passport and provide the names of your father (in Turkish, 'baba') and that of your mother ('anne'). That’s it!

Some banks will also require a valid Turkish identification (like a work or residence permit) in order to open you a checking or a savings accounts. This policy varies across banks, and even across the different branches of a given bank.

So, trying to open an account before receiving your Turkish papers may involve a bit of door-to-door research before you find a branch willing to do without. If you find the prospect tedious, just wait until you obtain your Turkish identity card. The account opening process in itself is done in the twinkling of an eye.

You can choose to open accounts in local and/or foreign currency according to your needs.

 Good to know:

Turkey’s somewhat volatile currency prompts most expats to keep a secondary account in foreign currency to hold possible savings.

Picking a bank

In addition to local institutions (Garanti, Denizbank, Halkbank, Akbank, Isbank, to mention some of the largest), Turkey hosts many international banks (such as HSBC or BNP Paribas under its subsidiary TEB). The best pick for you will depend on your specific needs and expectations and on the geographical presence of banks in your area.

 Good to know:

Turkish banks typically charge additional fees for cash withdrawal from the ATMs of competitors, so you should make sure your chosen bank has enough ATMs in your neighbourhood.

You will find English-speaking bank clerks in some branches, but not all, hence asking other expats for their feedback about a given branch can be of help.

Account management

You will automatically be granted a debit card, but obtaining a credit card is subject to tighter requirements. Conditions differ from bank to bank, but evidence of bankability — a work permit, for example — is definitely a plus.

A good news is that the account management fees charged by banks in Turkey are quite reasonable when compared with European standards, and most expats concur to find the fees policies of Turkish banks surprisingly lenient.

Internet and mobile banking is widespread in Turkey. Your bank will provide you a username to access the e-banking platform, from which you can perform a broad range of transactions. Most Turkish banks provide e-banking services in English for foreigners.

 Useful links:

Finding a tax office: www.gib.gov.tr
Akbank: www.akbank.com
Denizbank: www.denizbank.com
Halk Bank: www.halkbank.com.tr
TEB: www.teb.com.tr
HSBC: www.hsbc.com.tr
Turkish Banks Association: www.tbb.org.tr

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