Your Handy Guide to Using Money in Turkey
For first time visitors, using money in Turkey may seem like a daunting task. The unfamiliarity of notes, coins, prices and money transactions that are foreign to us, often has even the hard-core travellers worried.
However, take a deep breath and relax because it isn’t as complicated as it seems. The good news is the days when money in Turkey had six noughts after it are long gone, and nobody uses those millionaire notes anymore.
Currency converter apps quickly help us to see exactly how much we are paying and after a couple of days, familiarity means you’ll be using ATMs swiftly and spotting bargains like a Turk.
Common Questions About Using Money in Turkey
What Currency is Used in Turkey?
Turkey’s national currency is the Turkish lira, of which the sign is ₺, and the abbreviation is TRY. For Turks, YTL refers to the new Turkish lira and TRL is the old Turkish lira which was replaced in 2005. You may also see some shops using TL.
What are the Denominations of Turkish Lira Notes and Coins?
Note denominations include 200, 100, 50, 20, 10 and 5 lira. Coins, called Kurus come in the form of 1, 5, 10, 25 and 50. Lastly, there is the 1 Turkish lira that is also a coin.
Can you use English Money in Turkey?
Yes, you can. In all touristic holiday destinations, bars, restaurants and shops will take most foreign currencies including the euro and dollar. (The one exception to this rule is Scottish notes which are rarely accepted in Turkey.) Bear in mind though, the exchange rate won’t work in your favour, so it is better to change money into Turkish lira at the beginning of your holiday.
Using ATM Machines in Turkey
You can use foreign debit and credit cards in most ATM machines throughout Turkey. Before you leave your home country, notify your bank that you are visiting Turkey, and this will stop them flagging any ATM transactions as security concerns.
Also, check with them as to how much they will charge for each withdrawal. Unless your bank has an already existing agreement, there is likely to be a small charge to pay. Most ATMs give out Turkish lira only, but designated banks like HSBC also have machines where you can withdraw GBP.
What Credit Cards Are Accepted in Turkey?
You can use most major credit cards in Turkey including Visa and Mastercard. If an establishment doesn’t accept them, it is purely their own business policy but most bars, restaurants and shops in big cities and touristic holiday resorts take them. They will swipe your card into the machine, but before entering your pin number, check the currency and amount is correct.
Where to get the Best Turkish Lira Exchange Rate?
If you withdraw money from the ATM in Turkey, you will get the exchange rate used by your bank at that time. However, if you are carrying cash, only exchange a small amount in your home country to get you through the first few days. The reason is that you will get a better exchange rate using Turkish banks or commission shops in Turkey. (You need to present identification such as your passport.) Never change money at the airport or in hotels because they rarely offer good deals.
How Much Money Can You Bring into Turkey?
The Turkish Ministry of Customs and Trades says you can bring unlimited amounts of money into Turkey. However the limit for taking it out is the equivalent of 5000 USD, and it must be declared. (Please note, for our clients who are buying property in Turkey, we can advise you of a much safer method with ideal exchange rates and low transfer fees.)
Tips for Using Money in Turkey
So, after a few days, you’ll become familiar with Turkish lira, but that doesn’t mean you should be complacent because that leads to opportunist scams. If eating out at a restaurant or bar, always check the itemised bill and never accept drinks from strangers.
When using a taxi, insist they use their meters and also carry small notes so that they can’t claim they don’t have any change. Always check change when it is given to you and like anyway in the world, Turkey does have pickpockets so keep bags and wallets securely hidden and close to you at all times.
More Information for First Time Visitors to Turkey
- Perfecting the art of souvenir shopping in Turkey. Includes tips on how to haggle, spot fakes, buying antiques and what to buy.
- Our list of apps for travelling around Turkey will help you to save money, find your way about, translate signs and know where the best restaurants and local attractions are.