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🇹🇷Money exchange or ATM in Turkey? 💰 Euro or TL?

Just curious if ATMs are preferred or money exchange counters to get money once arriving in Turkey.

💳Card 1st of possible, but should I ask for TL or Euro if ATM is recommended? Thank you.

I will be traveling to Greece so it’s ok it I have Euros - but if TL is a wiser choice please let me know. Thanks. Many companies I’m booking with want cash upon arrival. So I’m assuming Euro for them.

🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻

Posted by
2791 posts

You do not get money at an exchange counter, you purchase the ,local currency -and at a mark-up of up to 10%. You withdraw money from your bank account from an ATM at the market rate, plus possibly up to whatever percent fee your bank charges. there are numerous banks that do not charge a fee.

If you are going to use cash, then you get the local currency. Anyone in Turkey will gladly accept Euros rather than TL, but they will do it at a mark-up since they will have to pay fees to deposit it themselves. Prices are often quoted in Euro there so that foreigners who use Euro will understand the cost, but transactions and actual cost are in TL. Cost will be marked up for Euros. If you think this is not so, convert the TL and the Euro price to USD, and the TL will surely be less.

Posted by
2016 posts

Definitely get Lira at an ATM. Yes, many hotels etc will quote in Euros but I always paid cash in Lira. As another poster has said, usually the Lira price will be a bit cheaper than the Euro conversion.

Posted by
159 posts

🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻I’ve always used the ATMs in Europe per RS suggestion but I wasn’t sure about Turkey. Greece is Euro so that’s fine but the Turkey videos showed going to the counter in the bazaar.

Thanks for your tips!!! I’ll use the atm. The other concern I had is when I have to tip my driver from the airport. I’m pretty much forced to use airport ATM bc I won’t have an opportunity to use a bank atm before dropping off at hotel 😢

That’s what happened in other countries in Europe 😢

Posted by
1 posts

We’ll be on a cruise ship excursion in Kusdasi - probably no opportunity to access secure ATM. Since this is the only stop where they don’t use the euro, I’m a little confused what to do.

Posted by
159 posts

Thanks Selznick…
😂I think I’ve read that from RS a dozen times. But i read it again. His tips are great and all…but I was just wondering if anyone ever had the same problem I do when I land in a country. Getting stuck having to use the airport atm. I just didn’t know if someone had a tip or some wise comment to add.

One year I got preordered money and it was nice, I didn’t have to scramble for an atm. But I know that preordering isn’t the best route for savings.

Also I did this post because I haven’t been to Turkey so I just didnt know what the layout on atms were there. And if fellow travelers used atms there as a 1st recommendation.

Posted by
46 posts

I didn't have any TL upon arrival at Istanbul airport and only $100 in cash. I wanted to avoid the airport exchange counters so didn't exchange any money there (wasn't sure what was an ATM and what was a for-profit exchange counter!). I took the Acra Hotel shuttle, and upon arrival, paid for the shuttle with my credit card at the Acra Hotel desk. It was early enough in the day to walk the short distance (about quarter of a mile) to the main square (with the Hagia Sophia etc), where there many bank ATMs in a row, seemed like nearly a dozen of them! I picked a random one and put in my debit card, and got out something like $300 worth of TL. During the rest of the tour, there was ample free time to get more money out of ATMs, which were all over the city where we went.

Posted by
159 posts

Eileen you’re the best🙏🏻…thank you I just confirmed with my hotel that I too can pay for my transfer at the 🏨hotel.

What a relief, it’s such a stress to use the airport ATM just to 💰pay the Driver 😂. Now I have to get my bearings & find the bank ATMs🏧 leisurely.

🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻

Posted by
4926 posts

I'll add that we also arrived in Istanbul without any Turkish Lira and paid the driver through our hotel, rather than directly. I didn't have a good solution for a tip for the driver. Perhaps we could have added a small tip to our bill as well, but I hadn't asked.

If I were to go again, I would get a small amount of money from one of the landside ATMs at Istanbul airport, such as Halkbank or Yapi Kredi or Denizbank or Ziraat Bank, all of which appear (from my limited website research) to be branch banks in Turkey, so that I could tip the driver directly. These are many of the same ATMs that you will see throughout Turkey.

Posted by
4926 posts

We’ll be on a cruise ship excursion in Kusdasi - probably no opportunity to access secure ATM

There are ATMs on the main road near where the cruise ships disembark in Kuşadası, so you could easily get Turkish Lira. though it may not be necessary, except perhaps for very small purchases where you wouldn't want to use a credit card.

Since this is the only stop where they don’t use the euro,

Many of the shops we visited near the cruise port in Kuşadası quoted prices in both euros and dollars and would accept either for payment, presumably with terms in their favor. Some shops were surprised when we requested pricing and asked to pay in Turkish Lira, since so many of their customers are from the cruise ships. Most of the restaurants in Kuşadası accept credit cards, though for a small amount, they would certainly prefer cash. The further you get from the cruise ship port, the more likely you might need to pay by card or in local currency.

Posted by
159 posts

Route785NB,

Not sure who talked to you from Bank of America, but I was told several times that there are fees in Turkey.

I was also told in Croatia & Slovenia that I wouldn’t have fees & I still encountered them. 😡And yes, I am one of their long time members so I’m on a high status tier that’s suppose to offer addition perks.

So I’m through using them when I travel. I’m gonna give Schwab a chance for my ATM needs. I’ll give a report after my Turkey/Greece trip.

Thanks for the link. I’ll take a peek though…you have my curiosity stirred.

Posted by
82 posts

In my opinion, the best checking account to have for travel is through schwab. All ATM fees (including foreign) are reimbursed in addition to having no foreign transaction fees. You can go to any random ATM and not worry about what fee they attach to using it. https://www.schwab.com/checking

I will add though that the one time I went to Turkey 15 years ago, the atm at the airport did not give me money, but I later saw that it did withdrew the money from the bank. I eventually got reimbursed and all other atms in turkey worked great but was annoying for sure.

Posted by
4926 posts

The ATMs I used in Turkey to withdraw Turkish lira did not have a fixed transaction fee.

They showed two withdrawal options: use their Dynamic Currency Conversion which wrapped the fee into the amount withdrawn, or decline DCC and pay a separate fixed % fee for the transaction as a variable transaction fee. When making the choice, the ATM clearly showed each option, including how much cash I would receive in Lira, and the % rate I would pay as a fee if I didn't use DCC.

I was using my Schwab ATM card, knowing that they reimburse ATM fees worldwide.

Each time, I declined the DCC model - on my understanding that the conversion rate would be less favorable. I could see on the screen that I would get more Lira with this choice.

And also in the hope that Schwab would see the %-fee-in-lieu of DCC as an ATM charge and reimburse it. They did.

At the end of May (my first month traveling and using ATMs in Turkey) Schwab reimbursed me for the % of transaction ATM charges.

Had I chosen the fee being built into the transaction through their DCC calculation, I believe that Schwab would not have seen it as an ATM fee and would not have reimbursed anything. I don't know this for certain because I never used the DCC option.

Posted by
4926 posts

I just checked my Schwab account. I withdrew Turkish lira in May from ATMs in Istanbul for the equivalent of $191.72, always using the non-DCC option that charged a separate ATM fee. The fees that Schwab reimbursed amounted to $10.52, roughly 5.5%.

That is a blended rate, as I noted different percentages at different ATMs. One of my AK Bank ATM slips notes a 6.99% transaction fee. Schwab reimbursed a single amount at the end of the month, so I can't see the fee for each ATM transaction.

I used AK Bank ATMs, except when they were unavailable.

ETA:
All of my AK Bank ATM slips show a 6.99% transaction fee when not using their DCC.
None of my Halkbank ATM slips show the transaction fee and I did not make a note of the rate.

Posted by
82 posts

@CWSocial - according to my googling, Halkbank charges 1.25% of the transaction plus 1.25 TL

Also, I kept the receipts on my first trip using Schwab (argentina in 2018), which I specifically got because the service fee in Argentina is like $10 equivalent no matter what you take out. After I saw that Schwab refunded those exorbitant fees, I've never bothered double-checking them. They even refunded a private atm at a bar in Italy that charged something like $20 equivalent.

And, no, they wouldn't refund any DCC fees built-in to those conversion charges. Another reason to pay close attention and make sure you are always operating in the local currency.

Posted by
4926 posts

toddling, thanks for that research. Clearly for anyone whose bank doesn't reimburse ATM fees, choosing among ATMs could save money, albeit less than $10.52 for me, in May.

Interestingly, in Turkey, the ATMs were often clustered in a long block. So choosing among them was not a matter of location. Even some of the rest stops on our Best of Turkey tour had a block of 5 or 6 ATMs.

At the block of ATMs in the busy tourist area near the Galata Bridge, I regularly saw uniformed (may have been armed, I don't recall clearly) security guards.

Posted by
4926 posts

Halkbank charges 1.25% of the transaction plus 1.25 TL

toddling, I found the reference to fees you mention on the Halkbank site under the heading of "Shared ATM Platform" wherein they describe that, starting in 2009, customers can use any ATM to withdraw funds, not just their own bank, in this case Halkbank. However, if they use another bank's ATM:

"A fee of 25 Kr will be charged for “Balance Display” transactions conducted with Halkbank bank cards on other banks’ ATMs while the 1.25% of the withdrawn amount and 1.25 TL [about $0.07] fixed service fee will be reflected “Cash Withdrawal” transactions."

The same page goes on to say:

"Halkbank do not charge any fee or commissions while carrying out transactions on Bank24s with other banks’ cards."

That would seem to apply to customers using cards from US banks, and might explain why my Halkbank transaction slips do not show a transaction fee.

Posted by
82 posts

@CWSocial Ah! Goes to show that one should double check things random dudes say on the internet :) . And that one should keep reading to the end of the page

Posted by
4926 posts

Well, toddling, I had the advantage of a Halkbank slip that didn't show any fees, which made me wonder why not. I thought maybe your page could explain it.

So Halkbank seems preferable to AK Bank for fees charged to non customers.

Posted by
159 posts

CWsocial & Toddling…🙏🏻🏆 wow your in depth talking about atm experiences get me so excited. 😂.
I’m not gonna lie…CWsocial, when you started talking about the ATM & the options I got a bit flustered. But you came to the rescue & explained visually what I need to do. 😂

When I was in Croatia I thought I was pushing all the right buttons, but looking back 🤔I’m not sure if I did.

Thanks again for the 101 on foreign ATMs. I’m looking forward to my new Schwab acct.

Posted by
1 posts

Banks with no international ATM fees
Aspiration.
Betterment.
Charles Schwab.
Capital One.
Alliant Credit Union.
First Republic Bank.
Fidelity.
USAA.