What Currency To Use In Turkey: Turkish Lira Guide

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Post author SJ

Written by our local expert SJ

Sarah-Jane has lived in Croatia for 10+ years. SJ, as she is known, has been traveling the Balkans & beyond since 2000. She now shares her passion for traveling with her husband & kids.

Here is your guide on the best currency to use in Turkey, ATMs, a good exchange rate, and more. This comprehensive guide has everything you need to know about Turkey’s currency.

Turkey Travel Blog_What Currency To Use In Turkey_Guide To The Turkish Lira

Best Currency In Turkey

Are you planning a trip to Turkey? Then, it’s crucial that you familiarize yourself with the country’s currency – the Turkish Lira. As a tourist, navigating foreign exchange can be overwhelming and confusing. But don’t worry! We’ve got you covered with this comprehensive guide on everything you need to know about Turkey’s currency.

From understanding the exchange rates to using cash machines and credit and travel cards, we’ll help make your trip smooth sailing so that you can focus on enjoying all that Türkiye has to offer!

What Is The Currency Used In Turkey – Intro To The Turkish Lira

Are you wondering, “What is Turkish money called”? The Turkish Lira is the official currency of Turkey.

It is divided into 100 kuruş. The symbol for the Turkish Lira is T.L. The Turkish Lira was introduced in 1864, replacing the Ottoman Empire’s currency, the kuruş. The Central Bank of the Republic of Türkiye issues the Turkish Lira.

The exchange rate for the Turkish Lira has been in decline for the last year – so that is good news for you – but news for the Turkish people.

As of the time of publishing (February 2023), 1 USD equals 20 lira. The cost of a bag of saffron at the spice market, by the way! Check closer to your travel time for more detailed information on current exchange rates. In contrast, in 2018, 1 U.S. dollar was worth 4.6 lira.

Although Türkiye is partially in Europe, it is not a member of the Eurozone. Therefore, the Turkish Lira remains Turkey’s official currency. Credit cards are widely accepted in Turkey, so tourists may not need to carry much cash with them when traveling around the country.

Denominations Of The Turkish Lira: What Lira Coins And Notes Are Available

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The Turkish currency, the Turkish Lira (TL.), is divided into 100 kuruş. There are coins of 1, 5, 10, 25, and 50 kuruş, and Turkish Lira banknotes of 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 TL.

Inflation has been a problem in Türkiye for many years, so prices constantly change. The Turkish Lira is one of the world’s least-valued currencies. In our Turkish travel guides, we have listed prices in Lira based on when we traveled, but as that changes so often, it’s essential to check the current exchange rate before you travel to know how much your money is worth.

While moving around the country, keep as many of the higher Turkish Lira notes as possible, or else you’ll end up carrying a giant wad around in your wallet.

Whose Face Is On Turkish Lira

Do you notice that all Lira banknotes feature the same man’s face? So, who is that guy? That is Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. Atatürk founded the modern Republic of Turkey and became its first president. The front of Turkish banknotes features his face; however, the back of the bills features images of prominent Turkish historical figures.

Best Currency In Turkey: Is It Possible To Pay In Euro Or USD In Türkiye

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For those planning to visit Turkey for the first time, the most common question is: “What currency should I use in Turkey?” and the second is, “Can I use USD in Turkey? The Turkish Lira (TRY) is the best currency to use in Türkiye, and prices in that currency are usually the cheapest. Euros are the second best, followed by U.S. Dollars.

It is common for tourist areas to accept Euros and USD. By paying with Euros in Turkey, you will likely lose a lot of money because the rate you are given will probably be much lower than the actual value of the Euro or USD. You will get a better value for your money if you use the local currency, the Turkish Lira.

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Can You Use Other Currencies In Turkey

In larger cities and tourist resorts like the Antalya Region, you can often pay with Pounds, euros, or even the U.S. Dollar. At the moment, many businesses prefer this because of the strength of foreign currency over the Lira. However, not all will accept foreign currency, so I think it’s best to use your credit or debit card or change some money into Lira once you arrive.

Using Turkish ATMS: Where Are ATMs Located & What Foreign Cards Can Be Used

ATM Turkey - What currency to use in Turkey

ATMs in Turkey are easy to find, and most accept foreign cards. A cash machine is known as a ‘bankamatik’ in Turkish, and it is important to note that ATMs will only dispense Turkish Lira. To avoid any surprises, it is best to check with your bank before traveling to see if your card will work in Turkey.

There are a few different ways to locate an ATM in Turkey. The first is by looking for the logos of the major banks. Here are some of the biggest banks in Türkiye:

  • Halkbank: Halkbank is a state-owned bank with over $25 billion in assets. It offers a wide range of services, including lending, foreign exchange, and deposits – This is one of the few banks in Turkey with low fees for using a foreign bank card. If you can find these ATMs, it’s best to use them over other options such as AKBANK or Deniz Bank for foreign transactions
  • Ziraat Bankasi: this state-owned bank is the largest in Turkey, with over $200 billion in assets. It offers a wide range of services, including lending, deposits, and foreign exchange
  • Garanti Bankası: Garanti Bankası is one of the leading private banks in Türkiye, with over $50 billion in assets. It provides a variety of services, such as credit cards, loans, and investment banking
  • İş Bankası: another major private bank, İş Bankası has over $40 billion in assets. It offers a wide range of financial services, including loans, credit cards, and deposits
  • Yapı Kredi Bankası: Yapı Kredi Bankası is one of the largest private banks in Turkey, with over $30 billion in assets. It provides a variety of services, such as loans, credit cards, and deposit accounts
  • HSBC: this London-based bank has branches in major Turkish towns and cities and is a popular option for foreign people visiting the country. If you use HSBC ATMs, you will still be charged a small fee depending upon your original bank, but the fees with this bank tend to be a little lower than the Turkish banks. However, it’s not as easy to find as some of the other more common banks
  • AKBANK: this is one of Turkey’s biggest banks, and you’ll see the red logo very commonly. From experience, I know AKBANK does have hefty charges for using foreign cards, but it does work out minimally when you factor in the exchange rate
  • Deniz Bank: Another very visible bank you will see across Turkey is Deniz Bank, which is another option used by many foreign people who live in the country and for regular visits. Deniz Bank does have high fees for using a foreign card, however

These banks usually have branches in major cities, so finding an ATM is not tricky.

The last way to find an ATM in Türkiye is by using one of the many online ATM locators. These websites allow you to enter your location and then list nearby ATMs and their locations on a map. This can be very helpful if you are unsure of where you are or if you are looking for a specific type of ATM.

Most ATMs also have an English language option, but even without it, it’s obvious what you need to press, so do not worry.

Can You Pay By Card In Türkiye

The overwhelming majority of shops, bars, restaurants, cafes, and attractions in Turkey’s cities, big towns, and popular tourist destinations will allow you to pay by debit or credit card. However, if you’re in a market, a small supermarket, or a taxi/bus, you must pay with Lira in cash.

I always think having at least some cash with you is best, just in case. I’ve experienced card machines not working on several occasions, and it can get very awkward if you’re unable to pay in cash, either.

It’s also good to check with your bank about any currency exchange fees they might charge you. In my experience, this is relatively minimal, but not all banks are the same, so it pays to check beforehand.

When & Where Should You Exchange Money

A lot of people like to change money before they travel to help save time and stress. This is a bad idea. You will always get a better exchange rate when you’re actually in Türkiye compared to other countries.

However, I wouldn’t change money at the airport as I always find their rates are much lower than if you find a good quality currency exchange shops.

In most large tourist resorts on the south coast, bars and restaurants will change money for you, and you ask them the rate they’re offering that day. It’s often on par with the official rate, if not slightly better, and you won’t have commission rates.

Scam warning: however, do check your money when they hand it to you, just in case.

Most currency exchange offices don’t charge a commission but always ask before choosing which office to go with. Also, check the up-to-date exchange rate online before you go in and check, and if they offer you considerably less, politely decline and go to another one. It doesn’t hurt to shop around.

I personally wouldn’t change all your money into Lira because if you don’t spend it, you’re going to lose out when you head back home due to the currency’s weak rate at the moment.

Money Exchange System In Turkey: Where Can I Exchange Foreign Money For Turkish Lira

Türkiye’s currency is the Turkish Lira (T.L.), and it can be exchanged for foreign currency at banks, currency exchange offices, and airports. When exchanging money, it is essential to know the current exchange rate. The best rates are usually found at banks.

Uber in Turkey - Paying in Turkish Lira

Because the Turkish Lira is not currently a very stable currency, and rates can change frequently, there are a few things to remember when exchanging money in Turkey.

  • First, most banks will only exchange major currencies such as U.S. dollars, Euros, or British pounds
  • Second, it is best to have small bills when exchanging money, as larger bills may not be accepted
  • Finally, it is always a good idea to have some local currency on hand when you land or change a small amount at the airport in case you need to purchase before you can exchange your foreign currency

Tips For Spending Wisely In Türkiye: How Can Tourists Get The Most Value Out Of Their Money

Best Shopping In Istanbul The Arasta Bazaar in Sultanahmet, Istanbul, Turkey.

When it comes to spending money in Turkey, there are a few key things to remember to get the most value for your money. First and foremost, it’s important to be aware of the current exchange rate between the Turkish Lira and your home currency. This will help you budget accordingly and avoid any surprises when it comes time to pay for goods or services.

Next, it’s wise to familiarize yourself with the prices of everyday items, so you have an idea of what things should cost. This is especially helpful when bargaining with shopkeepers or haggling over prices in the Grand Bazaar and jewelry shops.

Don’t be afraid to ask for a lower price when it comes to haggling – it’s expected and part of the culture.

Finally, try to use cash as much as possible when spending money in Türkiye. Credit cards are widely accepted, but you will often get a better exchange rate and may even receive discounts by paying with cash. At the end of the day, spending wisely in Turkey boils down to doing your research ahead of time and being prepared for some good old-fashioned haggling!

How To Save Money In Turkey

Turkey is one of the hottest countries to visit right now. That’s hardly surprising when you think about the fantastic summer weather, the wealth of history and culture to experience and see, and the beaches that glisten in the sun.

Whether you’re thinking about heading to the south coast and hitting the beach, looking for some cosmopolitan city time in Izmir, or considering immersing yourself in culture in Istanbul, Ankara, Trabzon, Adana, or Bursa, there is plenty to see and do in Türkiye.

However, nothing comes for free.

The great news is that you can save a large amount of cash in Turkey by being smart with your money and knowing the hacks to keep your hard-earned Lira in your pocket. The Turkish Lira is at an all-time high against most other currencies at the moment, which means you get a lot more Lira than you ever could before. So, when visiting Türkiye, you have more to spend from the get-go.

Now that you know the best currency to use in Turkey – we hope you have a wonderful vacation.

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