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Banking, loans and credit cards in Turkey

21st March 2018


Opening a bank account
If you have applied for a residence permit before, you know that having a bank account with a Turkish bank can be vital to prove that you have the necessary assets to afford a life in Turkey. It can also be one of the most frustrating steps towards obtaining a residence permit – as some banks will only open an account if you have a valid residence permit!

Don’t give up though – most banks will open a bank account when you provide the required documentation:
-    Valid passport/ID-card
-    A Turkish tax number
-    Documents which prove your address abroad

As most banks are private entities they do not all apply the same rules and their staff have a certain scope of discretion regarding the address documents. Some banks are very strict and ask for at least two address documents, one of which must be a bill in the applicant’s name issued within the last 6 months. Other banks are happy with an address written on the ID card or the UK driving licence. Other banks may open the account in the first place but restrict disposition of your account  if you fail to provide more evidence when required.

Credit cards
Obtaining a credit card in Turkey is only possible for residents (valid residence permit). Even then, you do not benefit from the same conditions as Turkish applicants. As banks are profit-related establishments they do not grant you any right that they have not sufficiently secured in the first place. They argue that it is always possible to find a Turkish debtor, but that they may not be able to trace a foreigner in the event of non-payment. Information on the internet stipulates that foreign residents must give proof of regular income and have a guarantor sign the credit card agreement.
The banks I have directly approached seem to prefer to secure the credit card limit by blocking the amount in question on an account owned by the applicant (in TL or foreign currency).

Mortgages and loans
In principle, foreign residents are eligible to mortgages or loans, but again, they do not get the same conditions as Turkish citizens. While banks are prepared to finance 80% of a house purchase for Turks, they will not cover more than 65% for foreign investors. The applicant has to present documents proving the amount of regular income (if the documents are from abroad with translation by a sworn translator).
Low amount consumer credits are easy to obtain for foreign residents but bigger loans can be rather difficult. It mainly depends on the relation between the client and his/her bank and how the bank rates his/her creditworthiness

Savings accounts
Interest rates of up to 16% sound very attractive to savers who do not even obtain 1% in Europe. But obviously such rates are only applied to TL deposits while Euro, USD and other foreign currencies’ interest rates have decreased to poor 1,25% recently. If you want to invest in TL it is worth comparing the rates – they currently vary between 8% and 16% per year.  It is also worth noting that the Turkish state guarantees for deposits of private clients up to 100.000 TL (2017).

 

Written by Annette HANİSCH - YellAli Consultant


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