The new Turkish e-visa requirements could add an additional £13 million to the costs of British tourists heading to popular Turkish holiday hotspots in 2014 when the online purchase of a visa in US Dollars via credit/debt card becomes compulsory.
British holidaymakers planning to visit popular Turkish holiday resorts could end paying £13 million more for their tourist visas from April 2014 when the Turkish immigration authority switch away from the sticker type visas.
From the 10th April 2014 ports of entry into Turkey including Antalya, Bodrum and Dalaman Airports will no longer issue the “sticker type visa” in return for a £10 note.
Instead the 2.5 million Brits who head for the popular Turkish holiday resorts of Fethiye, Marmaris, Bodrum, Antalya and other resorts each year will need to purchase an electronic visa, known as e-visa, for 20 US Dollars (USD) before their visit to Turkey.
Payment can only be made with a valid Mastercard or Visa credit/debit card with “3D Secure System” that is open to international transactions. No other types of card or payment type are accepted online.
For Brits alone that means as much as £30 million visa money will now pass through the new system.
But the change of currency from a crisp Tenner to a payment by credit or debit card in US Dollars will cost British tourists a pretty penny. We estimate another £13 million even before they arrive on holiday. How? We explain.
Currency Catch – £6 Million
First up is the currency catch.
The cost of buying the Turkish tourist visa online is 20 USD for UK nationals. There is no Sterling payment alternative.
At today’s exchange rate 20 USD equals around £12.50 so every British tourist coming to Turkey will pay an extra £2.50 for their visa.
The British Pound would need to be worth a rare and unlikely 2 USD before the visa was to return to at least the £10 visa.
That currency difference will take away at least £6 million in total from British Tourists pockets: ker-ching.
Card Tricks – £7 Million
Then it is the turn of the banks and payment system operators to take their share of the money from the British tourist buying a Turkish e-visa.
Millions of credit card and debit card users pay a currency conversion fee, known as loading, as well as foreign use fee for foreign payments. The Turkish e-visa is payable in a ‘foreign’ currency so those fees apply.
That could add as much as £5.30 to the e-visa bill for a person buying a single Turkish e-visa using one of the most expensive credit cards.
Using a debit card is a little cheaper at around £1.30 per transaction.
Add that up and average it out and 2.4 million British tourists buying a Turkish e-visa for their holiday to Turkey could find themselves paying an extra £7 Million in card fees and charges in total.
It All Adds Up – £13 million
A British tourist buying a Turkish e-visa for their holiday to Turkey could be paying as much as £17.70 in future (£2.50 currency, £5.00 card fee and £0.30 Loading fee.)
Add that up and average it out and the new e-visa system could take an additional £13 million out Brits pockets even before they have arrived in Turkey for their holiday.
How to Reduce the Cost
Unless the Turkish authorities change their system to allow payment in British Pounds, which is unlikely, then the only way to reduce the cost is to choose the card you pay with carefully.
Use a Debit Card
Debit cards are probably the cheapest way to buy the Turkish e-visa but keep an eye on those charges.
Some banks charge a percentage ‘loading fee’ whilst others levy a loading fee with a minimum charge ranging between £1.00 and £1.50 for each transaction. Go for a card with no minimum charge.
Change Credit Card
If you do use a credit card make sure it’s one that either does not charge a foreign currency loading fee or other fees for using your card abroad or has low charges.
Cards with no charges are rare these days and eligibility restrictions can make them difficult to obtain depending on your financial circumstances. The Halifax Santander and Sainsbury’s are just the three that offer a credit card with No loading fee and No foreign use fee.
Same for All Nationalities
It’s not just British holiday makers that will suffer the extra costs. Other nationalities will also have to pay in US Dollars including all the Euro countries.
Unless that is you are French. They don’t pay for a visa; it’s free for them!