Istanbul - CurrencyATMs are available in many parts of Istanbul - ensure you inform your bank before travelling abroad, and be aware you may be charged for cash withdrawals. It is advisable to exchange some cash before arriving in Istanbul.
Visit the other Istanbul city guide sections to get more detailed travel advice, and information on the best Istanbul attractions and sightseeing activities, recommended shops and restaurants, as well as the best Istanbul hotels.
Istanbul - Notes and Coins
Istanbul Currency Exchange
Istanbul’s currency is the Turkish Lira (TL). Turkish liras are divided into 100 kurus. Coins used frequently are five, ten, 25, and 50 kurus and one lira. Notes used are 5, 10, 20, and 50 lira bills. 100 and 200 lira notes are uncommon. Inflation was a tremendous problem in Turkey, so the government recently revamped the lira system to stem the tide. You will find that money is no longer referred to as “New Turkish Lira” or YTL, instead only “Turkish Lira” or TL.
Euros and US dollars are also accepted in many tourist-heavy areas, but you will save money by converting your money into Turkish liras. When traveling to Istanbul, it is advised that you change your money at one of the many exchanges or banks in the city. They typically offer competitive rates and charge no fees. Only take as much money as you need and make sure to exchange the money back into your own currency before leaving. Turkish liras are hard to exchange outside of the country.
There are different ways to fund your travels in Istanbul. You can exchange your money at Atatürk International Airport or the exchange bureaus and banks within the city. The rates are comparable no matter where you go. Make sure you save any currency-exchange receipts you are given. You may need to show these in order to exchange your Turkish liras back into your own currency before leaving Turkey. Many hotels exchange currency also, though the rates are typically not as favorable. You may also obtain travelers’ checks before entering Turkey. Exchange these at banks or post offices by showing your passport.
Easier than these is the option of using ATM or credit cards. ATMs are located throughout the city of Istanbul. You may use your card to take out Turkish lira, and the exchange rate is figured automatically. To ensure that your card works, look on the back for the CIRRUS or PLUS logos. In Istanbul, look for these symbols on the ATMs. Both of these are international networks, so you can use your cards anywhere you see the logos. Credit cards are widely accepted, especially at places tourists frequent. MasterCard and Visa are almost universally accepted.
Banks in Istanbul
Turkish banks are usually open Monday through Friday 9:00am to 5:00pm. Some may close for the lunch hour. Banks located in shopping districts have extended weekday hours, and many are open on Saturday morning. As the financial capital of the region, Istanbul has many banks and is home to many international financial institutions as well. Turkish banks include:
Alternatif Bank 212.315.65.00
MNG Bank 212.368.34.34
Oyak Bank 212.335.10.00
Tekstil Bank 212.335.53.35
Turkish Bank 212.225.03.30
Turk Ekonomi Bank 22.214.171.124
Garanti Bank 212.318.18.18
Is Bank 212.316.00.00
Yapi Kredi Bank 212.339.70.00