Blue Mosque, Istanbul

Travel Money Guide: Turkey

Pick the right travel money product for haggling in souks and gorging on street food.

With one foot in Europe and one in Asia, Turkey is the ultimate feast for the senses. Coastlines that stretch for miles, ancient ruins and a fascinating mix of cultures will easily fill a holiday.

And with different destinations combined into one, you'll find you may need a combination of money products, too. We've rounded up our top picks for travel money, including debit and credit cards to use on your trip to Turkey.

Compare your travel money options for Turkey

If you prefer not to carry too much cash, there are travel-friendly options out there including credit cards with no foreign transaction fees, debit cards that give you rebates on ATM fees and pre-paid travel money cards that don't connect directly to your everyday bank account for added security.

Rates last updated December 18th, 2018
Name Product Foreign Currency Conversion Fee Overseas ATM Withdrawal Fee Overseas Cash Advance Fee Annual fee Product Description
Skye Mastercard
0% of transaction value
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter)
Get 90 days interest-free, $0 foreign transaction fees and a $0 annual fee for the first year.
28 Degrees Platinum Mastercard
0% of transaction value
$0
3% of the cash advance or $4 (whichever is greater)
$0 p.a.
No foreign transaction fees on international purchases including international purchases online, together with a no annual fee.
ANZ Rewards Travel Adventures card
0% of transaction value
$5
$0
$225 p.a.
Receive 40,000 bonus Velocity Points, 2 yearly Virgin Australia lounge passes, plus enjoy $0 overseas purchase transaction fees.

Compare up to 4 providers

Rates last updated December 18th, 2018
$
Name Product Product Description Debit Card Access ATM Withdrawal Fee Monthly Account Fee Overseas ATM Withdrawal Fee Overseas Eftpos Fee
ING Orange Everyday Account
Receive a rebate on any international transaction fees and international ATM fees when you deposit at least $1,000 a month and make at least 5 card purchases.
Visa
$0
$2.50
2.5%
NAB Classic Banking with Platinum Visa Debit Card
$10 cashback on contactless purchases, $0 foreign transaction fee and complimentary travel insurance.
$10 monthly account fee.
Receive $10 cashback when you spend $1000 on contactless purchases. Complimentary travel insurance, transport accident insurance, purchase protection insurance and more when you meet eligibility criteria.
Visa
$0
$5
0%
HSBC Everyday Global Account
No foreign ATM or transaction fees.
$0 monthly account fee.
Enjoy no minimum ongoing balance or transaction requirements and the flexibility to hold up to 10 currencies. Apple Pay and Google Pay available.
Visa
$0
$0
$0
Citi Global Currency Account
Hold up to 10 currencies.
$0 monthly account fee.
Enjoy one linked debit card to hold up to 10 currencies and receive foreign currencies for free. Earn up to 2.25% p.a. interest on your AUD balance.
Mastercard
$0
$0
$0

Compare up to 4 providers

While these options don't allow you to lock in a rate of Turkish lira before you depart, you are able to use these cards like you would any credit or debit card. Depending on the card, you may be charged a small fee as it's an unsupported currency.

If you're paying somewhere you have the option to use euro, or another supported currency, you won't be charged this fee.

Updated December 18th, 2018
Name Product Available Currencies ATM Withdrawal Fee Reload Fee Initial Load Fee
AUD, USD, CAD, EUR, GBP, HKD, JPY, NZD, SGD, THB
AUD 3.50, USD 2.50, GBP 2.00, EUR 2.20, NZD 4.50, CAD 3.00, HKD 20.00, SGD 4.00, THB 95, JPY 260
0%
$0
Hold up to 10 currencies and lock in your exchange rate. No load, reload or transaction fees on purchases and part of a worldwide ATM alliance.
AUD, USD, CAD, EUR, GBP, HKD, JPY, NZD, SGD, THB, AED
USD 2.50, EUR 2.50, GBP 2.00, NZD 3.50, THB 80.00, CAD 3.50, HKD 18.00, JPY 260.00, SGD 3.50, AUD 3.50, AED 10.00
0%
$0
Get discounted rates on USD in Cash Passport's rates sale. Plus free global Wi-Fi and more. Offer ends on 13 December 2018.
AUD, USD, CAD, EUR, GBP, HKD, JPY, NZD, SGD, THB, AED
AUD 1.95, CAD 2.00, EUR 1.50, GBP 1.25, HKD 15.00, JPY 160, NZD 2.50, SGD 2.50, USD 1.95, THB 70.00, AED 6.50
1%
$0
Get the chance to win a share of 1 million Qantas Points for every $100 in foreign currency you load onto your Qantas Travel Money card plus earn up to 5000 bonus points.

Compare up to 4 providers

Updated December 18th, 2018
Name Product Minimum Order Amount Maximum Order Amount Delivery/Pickup Method Commission Fee
$500
$10,000
In Store, At Airport
$0
Order over 60 currencies online at the best price against the Australian dollar and collect at one of over 130 locations across Australia.
$500
$5,000
In Store, At Airport
$0
Get better rates for new travel money cards and travel money card reloads when you use our exclusive code: FINDER
$0
$9,999
In Store, Home Delivery
$0
Order multiple currencies in one transaction and have it delivered directly to your door anywhere in Australia.

Compare up to 4 providers

Should you take a travel card, a debit card, a credit card or cash?

Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted in Turkey. American Express cardholders may have issues with card acceptance, especially outside the major cities. There is an abundance of ATMs in Turkey, and if you think you're going to have an issue using your card in a particular destination, make a withdrawal and use cash instead.

There are debit cards which waive the currency conversion fee as well as the international ATM fee, this is preferable to using a travel card in Turkey as no prepaid travel cards support Turkish lira.

Which card's exchange rate is the best?

Transactions on Visa, Mastercard and American Express-branded credit cards and debit cards use the card scheme exchange rate. This is as close to the market rate as you're likely to get when you exchange funds from Australian dollars to Turkish lira.

Travel cards use a different rate. The financial institution which provides the travel card applies a margin when you exchange funds between currency wallets.

Why we recommend a combination of travel money options to take to Turkey

You won't have any problems using your Visa and Mastercard credit card and debit card in Turkey, but a thousands things could happen to your card when you're away. So you should always have more than one way to access your money in Turkey, or anywhere for that matter.

  • A debit card is ideal for ATM withdrawals, especially so if the product waives the international ATM fee.
  • A a credit card gives you a line of credit that can come in handy for large or emergency purchases. Remember that most credit card purchases will incur interest though, which can heighten your expenses.
  • Having a bit of cash on arrival, especially if you arrive early or late, can be a lifesaver if you need to pay upfront for a taxi to your accommodation or a quick meal at a local restaurant
  • Travel cards are not the best product to take to Turkey as lira isn't a supported currency on most cards; however, if you're travelling to the euro-zone as well, these products may be worth comparing.

A quick summary of travel money options for Turkey

Travel money option Pros Considerations
Debit cards for travel
  • Save on currency conversion fees
  • Waived overseas ATM withdrawal fees
  • Only one option: Citibank Plus Transaction Account
Prepaid travel money cards
  • Hold different currencies
  • Save on currency conversion fees
  • ATM fees
  • Exchange rate fee
Credit cards for travel
  • Rewards program
  • Contactless payments
  • Interest-free period on purchases
  • Complimentary travel insurance
  • Cash advance fees
  • International ATM fees
Traveller's cheques
  • Acceptance
  • Security
  • Can be costly with initial purchase charges
  • Not all merchants accept traveller's cheques
Cash
  • Greater payment flexibility
  • Convenience
  • More difficult to manage expenses
  • Higher risk of theft

This table is a general summary of the travel money products in the market. Features and benefits can vary between cards.

How do travel money cards, credit cards, debit cards and more work in Turkey?

Using debit cards

Using a debit card in Turkey works similarly to using it in Australia, but if you don't have a card that gives you a rebate on international transactions or has no foreign transaction fees, like the ones we mention above, you could find yourself paying for a lot more than just the goods you're purchasing.

Using credit cards

Unlike debit cards, credit cards give you a bit more security if you're on the road and it gets stolen or you lose it and you find yourself with unauthorised charges. There's also cards in the market that are traveller-friendly offering $0 overseas ATM withdrawals and low or no overseas cash advance fees. But it's important to remember your statement's due date. If you're travelling for a long time, don't forget to factor in the interest rate that'll kick in if you miss a credit card payment.

Using prepaid travel cards

No travel cards support Turkish lira, but there are cards out there like Qantas Travel Money that waive the currency conversion fees that other cards charge. Pre-paid travel cards also work in a similar way to gift cards - you can only spend the amount of money you've added to the card, not everything that's in your bank account. Plus, it comes with the added security of being able to get a replacement card if something doesn't go according to plan. Do keep in mind that if you decide on a card thar doesn't support lira, you may end up with extra fees when charging purchases to the card or when withdrawing cash.

Using traveller's cheques

Generally being phased out just about everywhere, traveller's cheques are much more difficult to use than cash or cards in Turkey. You'll most likely need to find a bank branch to exchange them, which isn't ideal if you arrive late to your destination or it's after hours and you're in a bind.

Paying with cash in Turkey

Always have lira on you when you're out and about in Turkey, as you're bound to run into situations where a business won't accept your card. Cafes, small eateries and tea houses are all cash only. Larger stores are likely to take cards but some of the best experiences, like shopping in the Grand Bazaar, are a cash affair.

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What's the Turkish currency? Lira

Turkey uses the lira and although you can pay with euros in some places, you're always going to get a better deal if you transact in the local currency. You can get lira from ATMs using your debit card or travel card — withdrawing cash on credit is not advised — Visa and Mastercard cards will work all medium to large businesses throughout the country.

To get a rough idea of how much lira you'll get for each Australian dollar, check out the latest rates. Rates do change slightly depending on what bank your card is issued through and where you get your cash from, but this figure should help you get a better understanding of how much lira to get and budget for your upcoming trip.

Exchange rate history

The Australian dollar has strengthened against the Turkish lira in recent years. If you believe this trend is set to continue, you can take advantage of weakening lira by using your card to take advantage of the card scheme exchange rate, which is close to the market rate.

Year Average annual exchange Australian Dollar (AUD) to Turkish lira (TRY)
2012 1.864846
2013 1.839069
2014 1.972351
2015 2.044845
2016 2.248839
2017 2.750288

*Exchange rates are accurate as of 4 September 2017

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How much lira do I need to bring to Turkey?

Turkey is a value destination for Australian travellers. Like all places in the world, Turkey is as cheap or expensive as you want it to be.

Istanbul Budget Midrange A royal experience
food Dürüm kebab (street) $5 At a mid-range restaurant 10 - $20 per dish 5 star restaurant, mains from $40+ per dish
sleep Hostel dorm $10+ per night 2 star hotel $40+ per night 5 star hotel $150 - $800 per night
camera Stroll through the Grand Bazar free One day sightseeing tour $100 per person (includes lunch) Private photo tour of Istanbul $400 per person for 4 hours

*Prices are approximate and based on summer seasonality and are subject to change.

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Buying lira in Australia

You will get a better deal if you wait to purchase lira in Turkey. Not all foreign cash services can sell you lira in Australia, and the rate is likely to be worse than what you'll get from an exchange office or ATM when you arrive. The following companies will sell your Turkish lira in Australia, and businesses like Travelex have convenient cash pickup locations at Australian international airports:

Exchanging cash

If you have a no currency conversion fee and no international ATM fee card, ATMs are the best way to get lira in Turkey. When you use your card to withdraw cash, you'll get the card scheme foreign exchange rate, which is a better rate than what you'll get at exchange offices or banks. If you have cash to exchange, most exchange offices will buy Australian dollars and sell you lira. You can find these businesses in tourist areas, for example Taksim in Istanbul, and unlike banks you may not pay a commission. Avoid exchange cash at the airport, the rates are poor.

ATM withdrawals in Turkey

You can use a Visa or Mastercard debit card, credit card and travel card to get cash from Turkish ATMs. Most ATMs give you the choice of withdrawing Turkish lira or euros. Lira is the currency of Turkey, so you'll need to use lira for cash purchases to avoid losing out by 'over the counter' foreign currency exchange rates.

  • Tip: Turkish bank ATMs do not charge a local ATM operator fee. There are instances when the transaction times out, if this is the case, try a different ATM. If charges are applied for a transaction and you don't get cash, contact your bank to have the situation rectified.
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6 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    liliAugust 3, 2015

    Dear Madam/Sir,

    Would you please let me know how can I buy debit card in Istanbul?
    Furthermore, getting debit card does not need any bank account in Turkey, just getting Visa /master card does need personal account in the bank.
    Am I right?

    I am waiting for your kind reply.
    Best Regards
    MR

    • finder Customer Care
      SallyAugust 4, 2015Staff

      Hi Lili,

      Thank you for your question.

      As you’ll see on our Turkey travel money guide, there are a number of travel debit cards to use in Turkey.

      The debit cards listed on the travel money guide are only available in Australia. These debit cards don’t require you to have a bank account in Turkey. Instead, you open the account and load the funds in Australia which can then be used while you’re travelling overseas.

      I hope this has helped answer your questions.

      Thanks,

      Sally

  2. Default Gravatar
    April 21, 2014

    HI,
    WHERE can i buy prepaid travel card in istanbul

    • finder Customer Care
      MarcApril 22, 2014Staff

      Hi mery,
      thanks for the question.

      You might want to try a post office or supermarket to find a prepaid credit/travel card in Turkey. Alternatively if you already have an internet banking account with an institution in Australia you might be able to apply for a travel card and have it sent to you.

      I hope this helps,
      Marc.

  3. Default Gravatar
    rezApril 16, 2014

    hi
    i am traveling to VAN in turkey , can i use my australian mastercard( westpac debit card) to withdraw money from ATMs in there ?

    • finder Customer Care
      MarcApril 17, 2014Staff

      Hi Rez,
      thanks for the question.

      This is possible but will come with fees such as the foreign transaction fee, and international ATM withdrawal fees. For more information about what fees you might pay when using a debit card overseas consult our guide.

      I hope this helps,
      Marc.

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