Due to the high volume of foreigners seeking up-to-date information on how to open a bank account in Turkey, we explained the topic.

One of the most beautiful and culturally diverse countries in the world, Turkey’s charm has been attracting foreigners for decades. With it’s natural wonders and history, warm-hearted hospitality, sizzling kebabs and Turkish coffee, this country offers unique experiences. Therefore, sizeable amount of visitors consider longer stays. Thus, they end up investing in summer houses, or moving to Turkey as their country of residence.

When we regularly spend time in a country, we start to feel connected. Moreover, as a natural result of human nature, we want to fit our lives in the most practical way. We start by adjusting our habits, finding new regular stores, becoming familiar with neighborhood etc. As we change our habits, we feel the need to settle properly. That is when we look for our new regular bank, to live our life without limits.

In an era of digital technology, a local bank account is the solution for smooth administration of daily life. Certainly, you will need a bank account to enhance your freedom. As an expat, retiree or investor, you need to establish your financial life if you do not want a half-life. Hence, your logical go-to choice is opening a bank account in Turkey.

A brief insight of banks in Turkey

Thanks to fast-moving productive trade and investment climate and high rate in financial inclusion, Turkish banks are active and busy. Furthermore, they employ highly qualified experts who listens and tries to find solutions to client’s problems. They are ready to help whenever you want to send money to Turkey or from Turkey to abroad.

Steps to open a bank account in Turkey

Don’t worry, it’s a fairly uncomplicated process, easier than in most countries. What you need is; a valid passport, proof of address document, Turkish tax ID and a Turkish SIM card.

1. Passport

First of all, your passport must be valid for at least six months at the time of your application. Most banks will also ask for a notarized translation of your passport. However, is a handy document since you’ll need it for many procedures including Turkish Citizenship Application.

To obtain a notarized translation, you first need to find a certified translator. You then take this translation along with your passport to a public notary to get the apostille. Both these steps will cost depending on the original language.

2. Proof of Address

If you already have a residence permit in Turkey, you can use your residence card. Otherwise, you will need to provide proof of address in Turkey or abroad. This can be a utility bill or a bank statement with your address on it, containing your full name. However, please note that this document has to be in Latin characters; otherwise, you will need notarized translation. For some branches of some banks, this requirement can be skiped, if you are working with the right team. 

3. Tax ID number

This is the easiest and fastest process to handle at a tax office, only with an experienced team. Obtaining a tax ID may turn into a nightmare in a minute, even due to a typo. This will be your first official registration to Turkish government with almost no documents to verify your information. Therefore, lack of attention or lack of language skills may lead to a disaster.

4. Sim card

If you don’t have one yet, you can easily obtain a SIM card from a Turkish GSM operator. Again, you will need to have your passport with you.

Hint: Even though highly skilled, most bank officers don’t speak a second language. If you don’t speak enough Turkish, you might want to ask a Turkish friend or translator to accompany you.

With these documents, they will open you an account and present an ATM card on the spot. If your address is in Turkey, they can also mail you another ATM card with your name on it, if requested. Banks in Turkey are quite advanced in digital banking technologies. So, you should ask your customer representative about downloading and activating bank’s mobile app. This way, you can manage all your banking needs via mobile banking.

Choosing the right bank in Turkey

Marketing wizard banks who claim to be “international”, are in fact locally registered in each country. In other words, they do not offer discounted transfer fees or any benefits for international transactions. Certainly, they do not make it easier for foreigners to open accounts, just because you are their customer in another country. Therefore, the safest choice would be going for an established, trusted bank with many branches and ATMs throughout the country.

Note that, utility bills, local online shopping, and mobile phone bills are all paid in Turkish Lira. However, most banks open accounts in Turkish Lira as well as in other currencies such as USD and EUR. Moreover, banks in Turkey offer lucrative interest rates when you keep your savings in Turkish Lira.

You should do your own research when choosing a bank in Turkey. However, the difference between state-owned and private banks is close to none. Plus, all banks are under the guarantee of the Turkish Government. Ziraat Bankası, Halk Bank and Vakıfbank are the state-owned banks. Other popular brands like Garanti BBVA, Akbank, İş Bankası, HSBC, QNB Finansbank and Yapı Kredi are privately owned.

You can also investigate online financial services legally operating in Turkey if you move remittances often.

Open a bank account in Turkey without residence permit

Non-resident investors can open a non-resident account in Turkey under certain circumstances and be provided with an ATM card. Yet, you still need to obtain a Tax ID number.

Meanwhile, some banks and branches may ask you to deposit a security fund to open you a bank account. If the amount you wish to deposit is a large sum, banks may flex the requirements. A positive attitude can make a difference in negotiating the terms. Of course you can always choose to work with Turk Fortune and avoid headache.

Finally, if your main plan is to apply for Turkish citizenship, don’t forget to mention it to the officers.

We hope that this up-to-date information can facilitate the formalities to open a bank account in Turkey from your end. If you need any help, or request VIP services, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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For more information and your queries, you can always contact Ece.


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