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The Best Way to Exchange Currency in Turkey

The Best Way to Exchange Currency in Turkey
Key Points

● Don’t exchange your currency at the airports in Turkey because they have bad exchange rates and high fees.
● Don’t exchange your currency at the banks in Turkey because they have the lowest possible rates and high fees. Only exchange your currency at the ATMs that your bank in your own country has an agreement with.
● Use pre-paid debit cards you have acquired in your own country, which is much more feasible.
● Try to find currency exchange offices in downtown or tourist areas because the exchange rates are much more competitive.

Overview: Exchange Currency in Turkey

Do you want to know where you can get the best currency exchange rate in Turkey? You’ve come to the right spot to find out! We will provide you with information on where you can exchange currency when you arrive in Turkey. When you arrive in Turkey, there are several options to exchange your currency, be it dollars, euros, or pounds. When you exchange currency in Turkey, you must pay attention to the fees and exchange rates.

Turkish Currency and Currency Exchange in Turkey

The Turkish lira (TL or ₺) is the country’s currency, which is the local currency in Turkey. When you arrive in Turkey, you may exchange your currency at one of the airport’s currency exchange booths. However, because you may receive better rates at more central and touristic areas, you might wish to save most of your cash and just exchange as much as you need at the moment. Banks and gold jewelers are two other places in Turkey where you may convert foreign currency. Exchange boots and gold jewelers in more central and touristic locations give you the best exchange rates.

You may also use your credit or debit card at most establishments that accept EFTPOS payments. Using ATMs is another safer and more convenient way to withdraw money across the country. However, be sure to notify your bank that you will be traveling so that your account is not suspended due to suspicious activity, which may cause you inconvenience. Another item to consider is the commission fees that your bank may charge you for utilizing a foreign ATM. For information on fees for withdrawing money from ATMs in other countries, contact your bank.

Airport Currency Exchange

Try to avoid exchanging money at airports as much as possible. Although it seems pretty simple (arrive, exchange, then you get the money), you would rarely get a good deal from it. They have a high exchange rate. Many of them will set a service charge anywhere from 5% to 10%. Even if you found the currency exchanger in an airport with a 0% commission offer, it doesn’t mean they’re not making any money out of the transaction.

Maybe you want to eat right away and get some refreshment after you have just arrived at the airport, or you want to go straight to the hotel and need a couple of bucks for the transportation cost and a tip for the courier. In this case, you can exchange a little bit of the money at the airport. And then find the best exchange rate later downtown.

Don’t Exchange Your Money at the Airport: Airport bureaus consistently provide the poorest foreign exchange rates. Be prepared to accept up to an 11% commission/whack! If you bring £1000 in cash to one of the bureaux, you’ll only be exchanging £890 once the charge is deducted. That’s £110 you might have spent on drinks, day excursions, or dinners out.[1]

ATM Currency Exchange

This is way better. ATMs use the current bank rate, typically offering competitive exchange rates and lower fees (depending on the bank and destination). Although banks sometimes give low exchange rates due to the country’s economic reasons.

Exchange Turkish Lira in your bank’s ATM network is more advisable because they allow you to withdraw cash only with 1% to 3% fees. Avoid the out-of-network ATMs so you won’t get foreign transaction fees, where you end up paying fees to your bank and the ATM owner, either.

However, it’s inevitable to pay fees when you are exchanging money overseas. But we can do something to minimize the fees. That is, by taking out larger sums of money at once in the ATM. It will cut down how much initially you should pay. Usually, ATMs are making a row in the airport. So you can go there after you arrive. You can also search it while you are strolling around in the city later.

Don’t Use Your Debit Card: This is, without a doubt, the most practical option. After all, your debit card is already in your pocket. However, using your UK debit card may be quite costly. Take, for example, a Halifax debit card. Each point-of-sale transaction would cost £1.50, and each ATM withdrawal would cost £1.50. In addition, a conversion cost of 2.75 percent is paid each time. Expensive.[1]

Grand Bazaar in Istanbul

This is known as one of the most visited landmarks in Istanbul. Behind the million people who visit this bazaar annually, there are many currency exchanger kiosks all around the Grand Bazaar. Because of the many kiosks there, please compare the rates before deciding on choosing one. Usually, money exchangers in the gold dealer’s section offer the best rates. They are near the Mahmutpasa entrance.

Post Office (PTT in Turkish)

Most post offices in Turkey will convert currency for US dollars or euros, and larger post offices may also exchange other significant currencies like the British pound sterling, etc.

Bank Currency Exchange

Although a few specialist branches may be ready to convert currencies other than the US dollar, euro, pound, and yen, these offer the worst rates, commissions, and processes.

Prepaid Currency Cards

You could, of course, complete the exchange once you get to your destination. However, spending the first day of your vacation scouring the internet and the streets for the most excellent bargain does not sound like a lot of fun. It’s far more enjoyable to have a glass of wine by the pool. On the other hand, prepaid currency cards are cards that you fill with money and use overseas, much like a debit card. That is, by withdrawing cash from an ATM or making purchases using the card over the counter. It’s similar to a pay-as-you-go phone in that you load it up with credit, keep track of your spending, and “top-up” at any time using a smartphone app.[1]

Do I Bring Turkish Liras, Dollars, or Euros?

We’re sure you’ve concluded that carrying cash on you in Turkey is a must. But what kind of currency could it be? Hotels may request (or desire) that you pay in USD or EUR. However, all other expenditures are best paid in Turkish Liras or are mandated to be paid in Turkish Liras.[2]

So, if your accommodation offers a significant discount if you pay cash in a strong currency, carry that amount with you and pay for your stay when you arrive. This way, you won’t have to carry a large quantity of cash about with you when touring the city. After then, it’s a personal choice. Some visitors carry additional cash and swap it for Turkish Liras when they run short, while others use the ubiquitous ATMs to withdraw Turkish Liras.[2]

Turkish Language

Turkish is the official language of Turkey; however, you will also hear two other languages throughout your journey. Turkish is the most common language spoken; however, you’ll also hear Kurdish and Arabic spoken in select regions. Don’t let this influence your mind about being able to converse since, to tourism, many individuals are proficient in many languages, including; English, French, Spanish, and others.[3]

Essential phrases to know include:

  • Hello – Merhaba! (MARE-HA-BA),
  • Good-bye – Hoşçakal! (HOSH-CHA-KAL),
  • How are you? – Nasılsın? (NA-SEL-SIN),
  • I am fine, and you? – İyiyim, sen nasılsın? (EE-em, SEN  NA-SEL-SIN),
  • Thank you – Teşekkür ederim (TE-SH-QU-ERR ED-ERR-IM),
  • You’re welcome – Birşey değil (BEER-SHEY DEY-EEL),
  • Please – Lütfen (LUT-FEN),
  • Do you speak English? – İngilizce konuşur musunuz? / İngilizce biliyor musunuz? (ENG-LISH BILIYOR?),
  • I don’t speak Turkish – Türkçe bilmiyorum (TURK-JEH BILL-MI-YOR-UM),
  • I don’t understand – Sizi anlamıyorum (SI-ZI ANN-LA-MA-YOR-UM),
  • How much does it cost? – Ne kadar? (NAY KAD-AR),
  • Excuse me – Afedersiniz (AFF-ED-DAR-SAN-IZ),
  • Yes – Evet (EV-ET),
  • No – Hayır (HI-EAR).

References
  1. N. (2017b, March 7). How to Avoid Getting Stung on Your Holiday Money. Turkish Travel Blog. From: <https://turkishtravelblog.com/money-turkey-holiday-travel-exchange-rate/>
  2. E. (2019, March 7). Istanbul Money Strategy: Cash Or Credit Card? Istanbul Insider. From: <https://theistanbulinsider.com/istanbul-money-strategy-cash-or-credit-card/>
  3. Travel Tips Turkey | Istanbul Airport. (n.d.). Istanbul Airport | Travel to the Future. Retrieved November 25, 2021, from: <https://www.istanbulsairport.com/en/travel-tips-turkey>

This article was published on 31.12.2020 and last edited on 25.06.2021.

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