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raminturkey

Is it better to convert US Dollars to Lira in Turkey or in home country?

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Hello everyone,

I am going to Turkey soon. Do you know if the exchange rate is better in Turkey to convert my American dollars to Turkish Lira?  The exchange rate in USA is high; I am loosing a lot of money if I buy Turkish Lira in USA.

Thanks

Ramin

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Exchange rates are definitely better in Turkey. Maybe exchange a little money at the airport after arriving to get you to town, but not much. When you get to town find a Döviz (duh-veez), or currency exchange. They have the best exchange rates, even better than Turkish banks.

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Ken,  where do you get this info please?  I have heard this in different places but have never seen anyone document that a currency exchange does better than a bank.

 

About 18 months ago the Thorntree forum of Lonely Planet had a rather heated discussion about exchange rates. The general consesus there was that, for the average tourist visiting for a few days or weeks and unless you are talking about many, many thousands or millions of currency, the exchange rate using an ATM was the best you would get.  Unless your PIN and your card are stolen, they are also safer than carrying around huge chunks of cash.

 

Lonely Planet was bought out by the BBC and trashed the forum to the extent that all the old links no longer work so I cannot find the original thread. I did save however one quote

"In 99% of cases the cheapest and safest way to get local currency is using ATMs with a debit card issued by your local bank. Period. A credit card is complementary and reduces the amount of cash needed."

 

I cannot verify the accuracy of this statement so please do not quote me on this.

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Ken,  where do you get this info please?  I have heard this in different places but have never seen anyone document that a currency exchange does better than a bank.

 

Hobbit it's a good thing you said that, because I didn't know it from personal experience, and had just heard and read it.

 

To find out for sure, I went to Ziraat Bankası in downtown Antalya (took my number and waited), and asked a bank official if currency exchange office rates were better than bank rates.

 

She said "sometimes yes and sometimes no."

 

She explained that it all depends on how much the bank needs that particular foreign currency at any given moment. It's actually a different currency market, to some extent, from the exchange offices. And the rates change by the minute. So at any given time a bank could have a better rate than an exchange office, and vice versa.

 

I went to a few exchange offices just to check their prices, they all have them prominently displayed in the window. I also went to a few banks but they were quite crowded, and unfortunately they don't display the rates--you have to take a number, wait your turn, then ask the clerk.

 

You're definitely right also about using a debit card. I get an excellent rate every time I withdraw money, no complaints there.  Halkbank, İşbank, and Ziraat Bankası don't charge an ATM fee. When I used to go to Garanti Bank I'd get like this five dollar charge on my account every time I used the ATM.

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The only charges I have EVER incurred are the ones my US bank (HSBC) because it is an overseas transaction. I never pay a ATM fee at a local bank.

 

I messaged HSBE and complained about the absuridity of a fee for using an ATM. I told them I thought their fees were paying for the fine they got for drug, weapons and terrosism money laundering. They did not respond to that comment.

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