Opening a Turkish Bank Account
Opening an Account for Your Residence Permit
There's kind of a "catch 22" regarding bank accounts and residence permits, since you may need to deposit money into a bank account to get your residence permit, and some banks will ask you for a residence permit before they can open a bank account. Or they will ask for a utility bill in your name.
You should be able to open a bank account with only your passport and a tax number. If the bank you go to tells you you need a residence permit or utility bill in your name, you can ask them to verify it with a manager, or if that doesn't work, go to another bank. If you have already applied for a residence permit, you can go to the immigration office where you submitted your application, and get a Yabancı Kimlik Numarası (Foreigner Identification Number, or YKN). This will be the same number that will be printed on your residence permit card when you get it. Since this will be your actual identity number as a foreigner in Turkey, the bank should accept it.
Some banks, like GarantiBank, actively seek foreign accounts and have English-speaking staff. For others, you may need to take a Turkish friend along with you to open an account.
You can deposit currency of most any type in a time deposit, or certificate of deposit (CD), for 30, 90, 180 days, or for one year. Interest rates will be a bit higher for the longer time deposits. If you need to withdraw your money before the maturity date, you can do so, but you will need to pay a fee.
A time deposit might be in order if you have a short-term residence permit, which requires you to show that you have enough money to live on when you extend it every year. Instead of depositing money into a Turkish bank account and withdrawing again and again, you can keep the money in a time deposit, and use the account statement as proof of financial means each year.
Exchange Rates, Interest Rates and Fees
If you plan to transfer a large sum of money to a Turkish bank, open one deposit account in Turkish Lira, and another in the currency of your home country. Transfer your money to the deposit account in the same currency type, then exchange it to Turkish Lira in Turkey. The exchange rate in Turkey will likely be a lot better than it is in your home country.
If you want, you can keep an account in the currency of your home country, and even have time deposits in foreign currency to earn interest.
If it's the highest interest rates you're after, check the websites in "External Links" to see what is on offer. Or you can visit or call various banks to check for yourself.
When you inquire, make sure the interest rate they quote is their usual interest rate, and not a promotional one. Some banks offer higher interest rates for a month to get new accounts. After that month, the interest rate will drop back to their normal rate.
In Turkish called a bankamatik, ATM machines in Turkey have an English option.
If you are using a Turkish ATM to withdraw money from a bank account in another country, they will accept foreign debit and credit cards. However, each Turkish bank charges a different fee for ATM transactions in addition to what your bank charges.
Try different ATMs at first to find the ones which charge the lowest fees. We have found that ATMs from IşBank and ZiraatBank to be some of the best ones.
Foreigners from any country can get a mortgage for a property in Turkey. Banks typically ask for proof of income for the previous three months, as well as documentation on any debts you have. These documents must be translated into Turkish by a Turkish-government certified translator.
Money and Banking Forum: Have questions or comments? We have a forum for that.
Time Deposit Interest Rates in Turkey: It's in Turkish, but this page displays the interest rates paid by various banks in Turkey.