How to get at your money while in Turkey, and how to avoid paying too much commission on withdrawals and credit card transactions.
Visiting or living here you’ll need to get access to your money. Here are your options.
Bringing cash in Sterling with you doesn’t guarantee good rates or any security if your money is lost/stolen. Using cash in supermarkets and shops generally results in a poor exchange rate because of their handling charge. However, changing cash in the Doviz, PTT or bank will give you a better rate. Expect around 5 – 8% commission to be levied through a reduced exchange rate. However, the rates given in Turkey can be better than those given through change offices and banks in the UK. Check before you travel.
If you have a Turkish bank don’t change your money through the teller but see your bank advisor and ask for their wholesale or Interbank rate. This usually results in much better rates – particularly cost effective if you are converting large sums of money that you may have transfered from your UK bank account via the SWIFT system.
There are limits to the amount of cash you can bring in to the country in person (carry in), currently 5,000GBP (May ’05).
There is a growing number of cash machines located throughout the area. Most accept UK debit cards. Just remember that most banks charge up to 2.75% commission and a minimum charge per transaction so taking small amounts of money out can be expensive. However, if you shop around for a card provider back in UK you can avoid all of these commission costs. The Nationwide Flex Account is commission free for foreign withdrawals.
If you have a Turkish Lira bank account you will be issued with a cash card so you can access your money 24/7.
UK Credit Card
As with debit cards, cash advances can be made using your credit card. These are however expensive. Using your credit card in the traditional way to pay for goods and services is straightforward. However, always take your passport, driving licence or copy of these documents to prove your identity. Watch out for the commission charges again as many credit card providers will charge 2.75% per transaction. Again the Nationwide offers a credit card that is commission free for foreign transactions.
Turkish Credit Card
If you intend to settle in Turkey then a Turkish Credit card maybe economic. Many retailers offer interest free periods on purchases if a Turkish Credit card is used. With interest levels at 17% plus this could be cost effective. However, for a foreigner to get a credit card requires a sizeable deposit to be lodged with the bank of around £2,500 but this can be used to offset purchases. Ask your bank for more information.
This is a secure way of carrying large sums of cash as they can be replaced in the event of theft. However, this insurance costs from 1% subject to a minimum that your bank will notify you of. Take Sterling or Euro currency cheques. They are easy to change in Fethiye and the surrounding resorts but remember to carry your passport so you can prove your identity when changing them to cash. Get small denominations so you don’t have to change large amounts at once. Talk to your Turkish bank for more information.