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Which Turkish Bank Should I Use After Landing at Antalya Airport?

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So I have heard that PTT and ING Bank, maybe HSBC, generally provide decent rates and don't play the DCC (Dynamic Currency Conversion) game upon withdrawing money using a foreign (in this case a US) debit card. Is it true?

Also according to Anta's Airport website, https://www.antalya-airport.aero/passengers-visitors/services/service-companies

You can find the ATMs of the following banks at our airport:

  • Akbank
  • Garanti Bankası
  • Türkiye İş Bankası
  • Denizbank
  • Yapı Kredi Bankası
  • Türkiye Ekonomi Bankası
  • Türkiye Halk Bankası
  • T.C. Ziraat Bankası

Neither HSBC, nor PTT or ING are available at the Havalimani. 

So which banks, among these eight, offers a solid, no-frail money withdrawing experience without offering DCC and offers a decent exchange rate when withdrawing using a non TR debit card? I know TEB is probably not in the honor's list, what about others such as Ziraat, Halk, Yapi Kredi, Deniz, Is Bank, Garanti and Ak?

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I used to withdraw money from my US bank account using various ATMs.

At one point I saw the ATMs were offering a choice between this "Dynamic Currency Conversion" option or not using it at all. I tried the option for dynamic currency conversion (one time) and was shocked at how much it cost me to use that option. I never did it again.

I should explain what Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC) is:


Dynamic currency conversion (DCC) is simply one type of currency conversion fee. Most currency conversion fees are levied by the credit card payment processor (usually Visa or MasterCard) or ATM network. DCC fees are levied by the merchant, typically through a service provider.

Never choose dynamic currency conversion at an ATM. You'll pay higher fees, and get nothing for it.

I also learned that when you use a Turkish ATM to withdraw money from an American bank account, they give you an exchange rate which is a lot worse than the going exchange rate.

What I've done since then is open a Turkish bank account. When I have an accumulation of money in my US bank account, I transfer it to my Turkish bank account. As we discussed in another topic, if you open a Turkish bank account and arrange to have your regular monthly bills paid from it automatically, there are no bank account fees. And no ATM fees if you use an ATM which belongs to your bank.

I'm not sure about using other banks' ATMs or what the fees would be for that.

When you get here, exchange maybe $50 USD at the airport. At least to get a taxi to your hotel. The exchange rates are terrible. When you get into town, exchange the rest at a döviz (currency exchange place). Their exchange rates are far better than the airport.

You may have to live on ATM withdrawals for a while. But once you get your residence permit, open a Turkish bank account. Then transfer money to it and use your bank's ATM.

Later, check the exchange rate and fees your bank uses to send money. Also check out Transferwise.com for bank transfers. Banks aren't in the business of international money transfers. So they can charge a lot for it. But international money transfers is all Transferwise does, so they're able to do it cheaper than banks.

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Woah! It is going to be a big pain in the head if most Turkish banks offer forced DCC or give an inferior exchange rate. It is really unethical that they skim the average tourist. 

Since it is a big pain in the butt to open a Turkish bank account without Kimlik, do you know any banks in Antalya that gives non-kimlik holders a green light to open an account?

Have you tried to withdraw TRY using a US Debit Card in the past year? Schwab and Fidelity do not charge for ATM withdrawal, and it has no foreign transaction fees, they both also reimburse any ATM fee incurred by Turkish ATMs. Have you tried it recently and what was the rate like if we decline out the DCC option?

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The DCC isn't forced. It's just offered in the ATMs. You can choose not to use it, and it should never be used. It will just cost you more money. If you choose the option not to use it, you'll get your regular rate and fee (if any) the same as you always do.

Again, I advise everyone here to NOT select the Dynamic Currency Conversion option, ever. There's no advantage to it, you'll just be paying additional fees to whoever owns the ATM, at whatever cost they decide.

Opening a Turkish Bank Account

It's each bank's decision whether or not to open an account to someone without a residence permit. There's no law or rule about it.

The reason banks stopped opening bank accounts for people without residence permits is because in the past, people were opening accounts just to show they had enough money to live in Turkey. Then as soon as they got their residence permit, they would just take all of their money out again. Some were even borrowing money to put a large amount of money into a Turkish account, then taking it all out, and paying the loan back.

However, there is no longer any need to have a Turkish bank account to get a residence permit (I don't think there ever was, really). Now you just need to show the last six months of your account activity, from your home bank.

Whether you can open a bank account doesn't depend so much on the bank as it depends on the person. If you can convince the bank that you're a serious customer, that you're moving to Turkey to stay for a while, and that you're going to use their bank while in Turkey to deposit and withdraw money and pay bills, they'll probably open one for you whether you have a residence permit or not. You just need to convince them that it's worth it for them. Every individual bank can make their own decision about whether or not to open an account for you.

Withdrawing Turkish Lira from an ATM with a US Dollar Bank Account

I used to withdraw Turkish lira using my US credit union debit card. There was only a small fee from my US credit union, like $2.00. I though "great! I can get all of this money from a Turkish ATM with only a $2.00 fee!" Then I did some calculations to determine the exchange rate. While it seemed like I had a good deal, when I saw the exchange rate that was being used I realized it was a bad deal. Instead of a fee, they just give you a bad exchange rate.

So I stopped doing that entirely.

Now I accumulate money in my US credit union account, then transfer a large amount to my Turkish bank account from time to time. My credit union specializes in people who often live overseas, so they charge $30 USD per transfer, no matter how much money is transferred. However I do it, I now just keep the money here. Because I have also set up automatic bill payments (with Yapıkredi Bank), I have no ATM fees as long as I use a Yapıkredi ATM (they're everywhere).

If you want to earn interest on the money, you can open a time deposit account easily online and instantly transfer money into it. And you can choose what happens when it matures, to transfer the principal and interest to your non-interest bearing account, or the principal only, or the interest only, or have it automatically re-deposited. You can do this from time periods of a few days to 90 days.

I said in another post that transfers from a US bank in US dollars to a Turkish account in Turkish lira, using the interbank rate, had no fee. While transferring US dollars to a US dollar bank account did have a fee. You have to check this and do the math. Sometimes the rate the Turkish bank is paying is a lot better than the interbank rate, and you end up with more money after the fees than you would transferring US dollars to a Turkish account with no fee. You should check your bank's website and see what they're buying US dollars for and also the interbank rate for having it automatically exchanged into Turkish lira. Do the math and go with what benefits you most.

Also check TransferWise. They're highly recommended and seem to have about the same fees as my credit union offers. they will also lock in the exchange rate for you, so if it changes, you'll still get the same rate.

I've heard about Charles Schwab having ATM fee reimbursement. I didn't know about Fidelity but it makes sense.

It seems to me that if you're going to live here, the best way to do things is to open a Turkish bank account and get an ATM card, then transfer foreign currency to the Turkish bank and set up your bill payments, then you can use their ATMS with no fees at all.

Exchanging Currency at Antalya Airport

When you land at Antalya Airport, exchange only the minimum amount of money into Turkish Lira. The exchange rate at the airport is terrible. Just get enough to get transportation into town or whatever minimum you need. When you get into town you'll see shops called döviz (currency exchange) that will give you a much better rate than the airport does. They're easy to find because they have big signs displaying the current exchange rates. Exchange the rest of your money there. You can also exchange money at a bank. Sometimes the bank rate is better, sometimes the currency exchange places have rates that are better. But they don't differ by much.

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  • Ken Grubb changed the title to Which Turkish Bank Should I Use After Landing at Antalya Airport?

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