Best Way to Exchange Money in Turkey
When looking at the best ways to exchange money in Turkey, take delight that there are some fast ways to get the best rate. Gone are the days of tiresome travel cheques to get Turkish lira. These are hardly used anymore, and many places won't take them anymore. The other quicker methods are better by giving the best rates from your home currency into Turkish lira. Let's look at them, where to avoid the worst rates, and tips for managing the Turkish lira.
Best Way to Exchange Money in Turkey
1: Know About the Mid-Market Rate
When exchanging money to get Turkish lira, know about the mid-market rate, the middle point of buying and selling currency prices. This ensures a good deal. Check the mid-market rate using a currency converter like XE or typing into Google your currency versus Turkish lira. For example, "GBP to the Turkish lira." The thing to know is that mid-market rates change all the time. When the market is particularly active, it can go up or down, maybe six to ten times an hour. So, expect anyone changing money to offer a slightly lower rate because they want to profit. This is the broker's rate.
2: About the Turkish Lira
Turkey's national currency is the Turkish lira (₺ - TRY.) YTL is the new Turkish lira, and TRL is the old Turkish lira which is no longer in use. Some shops also use TL. Turkish lira notes include 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 denominations. Coins, called Kurus, come in the form of 5, 10, 25 and 50, and one Turkish lira.
3: Money Exchange Shops in Turkey
In Turkey, use Doviz Borosu shops. Spot these exchange shops by looking for large signs displaying current exchange rates for money currencies, including pounds, Euros, and dollars. Take along your passport and remember that these rates change according to the market, and the exchange shop will either take a small commission or offer a slightly lower rate than the market rate to make money. Generally, if a place advertises 0% commission on Turkish lira money, the rate is somewhat lower than other places that don't. This is just a marketing gimmick.
4: Use the Monzo Card in Turkey
UK customers should investigate the Monzo card, which says….
"You don't need to tell us if you go away. We won't block your card in different countries. Instead, we'll tell you the local exchange rate when you arrive and send a spending summary of your trip when you get home. We don't charge fees for paying by card when abroad. We also don't mark the exchange rate, so you always get the best possible deal." Many ex-pats in Turkey have a Monzo card that can verify the excellent exchange rates.
5: Turkish Bank Machines
Thankfully, many cash points in Turkey like Garanti and HSBC also display instructions in English. Although they don't charge for withdrawing money, check with your bank if they have a partnership and, if not, how much the withdrawal fee is. If there is a charge, make fewer and larger withdrawals to save money on costs. Some card machines ask if you want foreign currency, but always pick Turkish lira for the best rates and to avoid going elsewhere to change the money.
6: Using Visa and Mastercard in Turkey
Most places in Turkey accept Visa and Mastercard, which take the hassle out of withdrawing cash. Before leaving, don't forget to tell your card provider you will go abroad, so they don't raise suspicious activity on your account. Even if you like to pay by card, have a small amount of Turkish lira for small purchases and places where they don't take cards, like the local Turkish buses.
7: Where NOT to Change Money
AIRPORTS: Avoid airports everywhere in the world when changing money. There are often money exchange desks in your home country, but these offer the worst rates possible. In airports, some foreign ATMs aren't connected to any bank. When withdrawing Turkish lira, they will ask if you want charges in your home currency instead. Always say no. This is a common tactic, but they use the worst possible rates leaving tourists out of pocket.
ABOUT TURKISH HOTELS: Previously, tourists could exchange money at their hotel reception. Although hotels in Turkey didn't offer a reasonable rate, the practice was convenient for tourists, who needed hard cash when they arrived. However, in May of 2022, the Turkish government banned this practice. Only licensed exchange shops in Turkey can change money for customers. While many people say the reasons for the hotel bans are unclear, others say the Turkish government is attempting to control fluctuating exchange rates by channelling foreign currency through official channels.
TRAVEL AGENTS: When booking package holidays to Turkey, most travel agents also try to sell foreign currency. In addition, they will often ask you to repurchase the Turkish lira money when you return if you have any left. Once again, travel agents offer horrendous rates. Avoid at all costs.
TURKISH BANKS: You head to a Turkish bank with your passport, take a ticket, and wait for ages to be seen. You take your Turkish lira and realise the money is nowhere near the mid-market rate. Yes. Despite expectations, Turkish banks also offer alarming rates, so avoid them.
8: How to Save Money in Turkey
WHERE TO EAT: Stay away from tourist restaurants lining beachfront promenades in Turkey. These establishments offer top-notch food made by excellent chefs passionate about their jobs, but their location means they pay higher rents; hence menu prices are higher. Inside seek out traditional Turkish lokantas. They are full of Turks and feature basic furnishings instead of trendy and modern décor and design.
SOUVENIR SHOPPING: Haggling over prices makes some tourists nervous, but it is a time-honoured Turkish tradition. Generally, as a rule, don’t haggle when prices are displayed. This includes brand-name shops, excursion agents, restaurants, and bars. However, haggle in souvenir shops because vendors have already put their prices up because they expect it. Don't haggle over cheap items. Only negotiate on items of specific value, like leather, clothing, and pricy souvenirs. First, ask the vendor for his price. Counter this offer with a 50% discount. Each party then continues with suggested prices until one accepts. Be aware that a handshake confirms the sale, and expect much banter.
MUSEUM CARDS: Various options are available, but all offer discounted prices to museums across Turkey. In addition, the Istanbul e-pass gives discounted access to major attractions, options to beat queues, internet access, and airport transfers in Istanbul. So, travellers who visit many attractions will save money.
Also, About Travel in Turkey
Travel Apps: Travelling around Turkey is more manageable with mobile phone apps. Gone are the days of confusing paper maps; language mishaps and terrible restaurants are a thing of the past. Apps make a trip around Turkey smooth and easy-going, turning it into an exceptional memory. However, with thousands of travel apps available, this article looks at the best to use in Turkey.
About Us: Founded by Tolga Ertukel, who has more than 20 years of experience selling Turkish property, Turkey Homes has a head office in London and branches in many places in Turkey, including Istanbul, Fethiye, Antalya, and Bodrum. We have helped many overseas buyers find their dream holiday home by offering comprehensive property buying services. We hope this article on the best way to exchange money in Turkey has helped. Also, See more of our blog about travelling and living in Turkey.