Turkish Banking for Expats and Foreigners
The Turkish banking system has evolved in the last ten years to accommodate all the needs and wants of expats and foreigners with a connection to the country. With a variety of services offered, many nationalities have opened accounts in various private, Islamic and state-owned banks around Turkey.
The benefits are enormous include bill payments, receiving money from abroad such as pensions, or like most expats, the savings interest rates are too lucrative to ignore. Many expats live in Turkey without touching their capital by putting their money in time deposit accounts of which interest rates roughly start at 10%.
Here at Turkey Homes, the staff in our local branches in Fethiye, Antalya, Didim, Bodrum and Istanbul, will help all our customers to navigate the banking system to open an account smoothly and without hassle, but if you choose to go it alone, the following information will help.
How to Open a Bank Account in Turkey
Documents needed are…
- Passport. The bank will take photocopies for their records.
- Turkish Tax Identification Number
- Proof of address. This can be in the form of a utility bill such as electric or water that has been issued within the last three months.
Note: A few banks only open accounts for foreigners who permanently live in Turkey.
How to Apply for a Turkish Tax Number
Known in Turkish as a Vergi Numerasi, if you have bought property, you will already have a Turkish tax number. Otherwise simply go to your local Tax office (Vergi Dairesi) and present your passport, of which they will take copies and issue you with a number straight away.
Mortgages offered by Turkish Banks
Some Turkish banks offer mortgages to foreigners but upon further investigation, you will find that the amount of tax incurred is enormous and regarding wise financial investments, this is not one of them. By the time, you have finished paying for the mortgages, the tax aspect could have bought you another apartment.
How Safe are Turkish Banks?
Naturally, any foreigner will be asking questions about how safe their money is when deposited into a Turkish bank account. This is when the TMSF regulation comes into effect. The Savings Deposit Insurance Fund, known in Turkish as Tasarruf Mevduatı Sigorta Fonu is the governing body for insurance savings and deposits.
If administrators are called into a bank, each account is covered for 100,000 TL. For this reason, some expats spread their money into accounts held with two or three banks. More information is on the official website here - http://www.tmsf.org.tr/default-en.html
Popular Turkish Banks for Expats and Foreigners
YapiKredi has an individual banking section for foreigners on their website which is also in English. YapiKredi is Turkeys fourth largest private bank with 908 branches all over the country.
Is Bank calls itself the “Turkish bank for foreigners and expats.” Their English website displays a separate “expat banking” section, and their designated expat banking branches, offer a one-to-one service with English speaking representatives.
HSBC is one of the more popular banks among expats, because of its status as an international bank. However, branches are not connected so you cannot go into an office in Turkey, to inquire about your account in England. They also have an English website version, along with English speaking personnel in certain branches.
The private Denizbank is especially popular with foreigners and expats who have deposited money in interest savings account because they offer one of the best rates on the market. An English website, as well as English speaking staff in individual branches, cement their popularity.
The designated expat banking section of Garanti focuses on providing all their services in English including internet, telephone banking, cash points, and English-speaking staff in selected branches like Fethiye, Didim, Alanya and Istanbul. Garanti is also a Western Union affiliate.
Akbank has appointed expat banking branches in Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, Bursa, Antalya, Alanya, Didim, Kusadasi, Bodrum and Marmaris. In addition to standard services, they list benefits as tax advisory services and a designated expat travellers card to earn miles as you travel. Akbank is another service associated with Western Union.
Other choices include the state-owned Ziraat, Halk and Vakiflar banks. Turkey also has a few Islamic banks like Finans.
If you plan to live in Turkey, you may also like to read our article about moving here and applying for residency. Otherwise, contact us today if you would like to sell or buy property in Turkey, and our sales representatives will gladly answer all your questions.