How to open a bank account in Turkey

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How to open a bank account in Turkey

Turkey is the bridge between the east and the west, the place in the world where many cultures are united. Its capital city, Istanbul, was Constantinople. Talk about a place filled with history. No wonder it attracts and fascinates people so much so that it is home to a large number of expats looking to live and work in this extraordinary environment.

Turkish bank account for non-residents

If you just landed in Turkey to work, study, live or invest, you will need to establish your financial life in the country. Here is our guide on how to open a bank account in Turkey.

Documents needed to open a bank account in Turkey

All banks in Turkey will have slightly different procedures and requirements for opening a bank account. Here are some of the basic documents that you can expect to have to provide:

  • Passport
  • Tax ID from Turkey which you can get from the Finance and Tax Office
  • Proof of address such as a lease contract or utility bill
  • Proof of signature form

A good thing about the larger Turkish banks is that their websites are in English. It is important to look up for the exact list of documents which will be available on their websites and avoid surprises.

If you're opening a corporate bank account for your business in Turkey, you will be required a potential tax identification number which the bank will request for you upon opening an account. To obtain this, you will need to submit:

  • Filled out Application form
  • Articles of Association of your company
  • Proof of address of your company's registered address

The business will also need to provide the details of the representative managing the account.

 

Can I open a bank account in Turkey as a non-resident?

It is possible to open a bank account in Turkey as a non-resident but the process will be a bit more difficult. If you are depositing a large amount, the bank will be more inclined to help you. Most Turkish banks will give you the choice of opening a foreign currency or an account in Turkish lira. However, they may require you to provide a residency permit should you opt to open an account in Turkish lira. If you're investment is substantial, they may consider you even without such permit issued. Be prepared to negotiate if you cannot provide all the documents required.

 

If what you are opening is a foreign currency account, such as in euros or US dollars, then there wouldn't be any problems since a residency permit is not usually required. Take note though that a foreign currency account will pay minimal interest. 

The core component of opening a bank account in Turkey is the Turkey Tax Identification Numbers, which will be almost certainly a requirement. You can acquire one of these as a non-resident and your bank may even help you out with the process.

Note that a Turkish savings account will require you to maintain the account for a minimum of one month. Additionally, all interest earned in a savings account will be subject to 15% withholding tax. With this to consider, you may want to first open a current account which permits you to keep and send money. Almost all provide online banking, as well as preprogrammed bills payment for your utility and phone bills. If you wish to assess your savings in gold, you may opt to open a current gold account that some Turkish banks offer.

What is the best bank for foreigners in Turkey?

In the last decade, the Turkish banking system has progressed to meet the needs of foreigners and expats with bank transactions in the country, Various foreign nationalities have opened bank accounts in different state-owned, Islamic, and private banks in the country. If you plan on opening a bank account in an Islamic bank, make sure to get familiar with the Islamic law as summarized by Al-Islam.org to avoid confusion.

 

best banks in Turkey for foreigners

The four biggest banks in Turkey, which are listed below, have English help lines for foreigners. They also have products and services custom made for international clients and expats in general.

There are also many other international banks in Turkey which means you may also open a bank account with your bank if it has a banking presence in Turkey.

  • Isbank: This is Turkey's largest bank with a large network which makes it likely it will be a convenient option. They also have branches in other countries all over the Middle East, China and the UK. Some of their branches are specialized in working with foreigners which could make the process of setting up your account a bit easier. In fact, they touted their company as "the Turkish bank for foreigners."
  • Garanti Bankası: This is Turkey's second largest bank and they have English speaking service specialists in their branches, phone service in English and their website is in English as well. Their service and product offers are also tailored to expats including multi-currency accounts and international cards.
  • Akbank: This is a large and well established bank with a full set of products, accounts and card offers with some bundles especially designed for foreigners and international customers. It has a good phone app, phone banking and SMS services. Aside from the standard offerings, the company also offers tax consultancy services as well as a foreign traveler card that allows cardholders to accummulate miles when they travel. Their ATM and branch networks are well established too.
  • Yapı Kredi: A large bank by all means, Yapi Kredi is well established and has a good sized selection of 908 branches and plenty of ATMs. They have a full set of products and services including insurance and loans, savings and current accounts, debit and credit cards and special accounts tailored for international clients and foreign residents.

All of these banks will have individual processes for opening accounts so please check details on their websites. We recommend you set up an appointment with a relationship manager who speaks English. There are some banks that will help out over the phone.

Read the fine print before signing the dotted line. You may find a series of fees that you had no idea existed such as monthly maintenance fees, account closing fees and fees to have a debit or credit card. You may also find that there are large fees for transferring money between banks and, of course, minimum currency conversion fees for using a debit card abroad.

The virtual bank account alternative

Transferring money abroad from Turkey is expensive when you use a bank

If you send money abroad from Turkey, chances are, you are paying too much on currency conversion fees and not even knowing about it. For example, if you send 10 thousand euros to India, you only get about 9000 euros worth of rupees back home. The bank will say you only paid a 50 euro fee (sometimes less) but that is not the whole story.

With a virtual bank account by B2B Pay, you get 9900 euros worth of rupees in India. You save 900 euros on every transaction. Plus you get your own IBAN in Europe that works just like a normal European bank account and you can use it to send and receive money within the EU for free and send money anywhere in the world in 33 currencies for a small 1% flat fee.

 

How to open a bank account in Europe

We have a few guides to guide you through the process of opening a bank account in multiple European countries and explaining why a virtual bank account with B2B Pay may be a better alternative if you are transferring money outside of Europe and taking advantage of a better rate.



How to open a bank account overseas

We have a few guides to guide you through the process of opening a bank account in multiple countries all over the world and explaining why a virtual bank account with B2B Pay may be a better alternative if you are transferring money outside of Europe and taking advantage of a better rate.


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