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Understanding Banking in Turkey

14th September 2015

Banks are complicate aren’t they? Even trying to understand your own countries banks can be difficult so you can imagine the trouble expats new to Turkey will have. However fear not because with our guide to banking in Turkey, you’ll soon have a clearer understanding of the basics of the Turkish banks.

Banks available in Turkey
Part of the reason banks can be so difficult and confusing is because there are so many available. For example it’s not uncommon to find three or four different banks on the same high street. So what banks are available in Turkey?

Well to be short there’s quite a lot of choice available to you, these can split into two main categories. The first is Turkish banks that are either privately owned or state owned and then foreign banks that have set up branches in Turkey.

Turkey’s biggest banks are the Türkiye İş Bankası, (Privately owned) which was founded in 1924, Türkiye Cumhuriyeti Ziraat Bankası, (state owned) founded in 1863, and Garanti bank founded in 1946. (Privately owned)

Other popular banks include; Akbank, Yapı ve Kredi Bankası, Halk Bankası, VakıfBank, Finansbank, TEB & Deniz Bank.

Expats from all around the world might notice a few of their home countries banks that have set up branches in Turkey as well.

Europeans will likely be familiar with the HSBC who have branches in Turkey, (although HSBC announced earlier this year they will exit from Turkey) while American expats will likely recognise the American based Citibank and JPMorgan Chase & Co banks. (with branches in Istanbul & Ankara)

How do Turkish banks compare to western banks?
In general both Turkish banks and western banks are quite similar in the way they operate, however Turkey is also home to a few Islamic banks. (4 in total - Albaraka Turk, Bank Asya, Kuveyt Turk and Turkiye Finans. Ziraat Bank has a branch for Islamic finance in Istanbul) Islamic banks do operate slightly different to western banks and other non-Islamic Turkish banks.  Islamic banking comprises 5 percent of the total banking system. Further information about Islamic banking can be found here.

Comparison Chart UK & Turkey

Online Banking
Online banking is very popular in Turkey and you’ll find that many banks will offer some form of online banking. There is no standard of online banking service a bank as to offer so if online banking is of a high priority to you then you should make sure to ask a bank about its online banking services before making an account.

Turkish Banks Interest Rates
Getting your head around how interest rates work might not sound too easy but it’s simpler than you think. Interest is at its simplest money paid regularly at a particular rate for the use of your money lent by the bank. To get interest on the money in your bank you must make sure your money is in a deposit account.

Deposit accounts can sometimes be called "e-deposit" or "time-deposit" accounts amongst over names and they work like fixed-term interest accounts in the UK.  You first decide on the length of time you wish to invest your money, which in turn determines the interest rate (the longer the length of time the greater interest you’ll receive).

Interest Rate Table

Related questions

Can I open a Turkish account without a Turkish Residence Permit ?
Yes you can. It is not a must for you to reside in Turkey either. You must submit a valid address, either in Turkey or in your home country.
Some banks may insist on seeing a Turkish residence permit, but not all of them will require this document.

How to open a Turkish bank account?
For for details please see link here

Who is the Banking authority in Turkey?
The Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BDDK) and Banks Association of Turkey

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For Turkish Residence Permit Health Insurance, see below link


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