|Currency||Torn & Ribbed Notes||ATMs||
The unit of currency is the Turkish Lira. Shortly TL.
At the beginning of the 20th century, one Ottoman lira was worth about $5 (US). But today when you come to Turkey, be prepared to speak in millions. This can be a bit confusing to some people who are not used to so many zeros. But don't let the astronomical amounts scare you, the prices are very reasonable in Turkey.
For your convenience you can use this currency converter to see how much TL you can get for a certain amount of your own currency.
Notes & Coins Used
20,000,000 TL - 10,000,000 TL - 5,000,000 TL - 1,000,000 TL - 500,000 TL - 250,000 TL
250,000 TL - 100,000 TL - 50,000 TL - 25,000 TL
*(100,000TL - 50,000TL and 25,000TL have 2 different versions used on the market for the moment but the old versions of these will be removed from market soon)
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*You can learn everything about Turkish money and more from the Turkish State Mint's internet site. Simply use the link below to reach that site: click this link for english version http://www.mint.gov.tr/english.htm
*The worlds first state mint was established by the Lydians in the 7th century B.C. Turkish States founded in the Middle East and Anatolia minted coins from the beginning of the 9th century but not in permanently located mints until the Ottoman Empire. The Mint built after the conquest of Istanbul, is regarded as the first Turkish State Mint while the year 1467, the first golden coin minted in the name of the conqueror, is marked as the foundation of our Mint.
Way of writing
To write the prices in a shorter way, some establishments do not use the last three zeros, so watch out for this on restaurant menus, stores etc.
Torn & Ribbed Notes
Make sure that there are no rips or heavy scratches on banknotes you bring in Turkey, sometimes these type of banknotes may give you a hard time in exchanging.
Where to exchange Money
Turkish Lira can be easily sold and bought in hotels, banks and special exchange offices called "döviz bürosu". Some of them are even open on Saturdays. Many of the shop owners, travel agencies, post offices (PTT), some restaurants might as well offer you this service if you are in a tourist location like Grand Bazaar.
Remember, you are in a land of 50-100% yearly inflation and exchange rates are also subject to change continuously. Start your day with a glance at the rates on the modern electronic exchange tables at every exchange offices which can even be seen from outside. That is what every one, even the children do in Turkey. The market and the central bank exchange rates are also listed daily in newspapers. Look for the page called "Ekonomi".
Branches of the banks are within a few meters in the city centres and if one bank does not accept to serve your needs, you can always try the next bank. Look for the sign that says change, exchange, wechsel or kambiyo. Most banks have lining machines. You take a ticket by the entrance. A big sign shows the number which is served at that moment. Because Istanbul is a crowded city, be prepared to wait anywhere between 5 to 30 minutes for a transaction.
Keep all the receipts and documents you receive when you exchange money. You may need them when taking souvenirs out of the country to prove that they have been purchased with legally exchanged foreign currency.
Turkish Lira does not worth as much outside, so change them back to your currency before you leave the land.
Lastly, be careful for national holidays in which all banks are closed.
When exchanging foreign currency to TL there is no commissions or tax, however if you want to exchange TL to foreign currencies there is a % 0.1 (1/1,000) tax.
Most exchange offices do not accept travellers cheques. You can change them in banks but they are very busy most of the time. Most banks have lining machines. You take a ticket by the entrance. A big sign shows the number which is served at that moment. Because Istanbul is a crowded city, be prepared to wait anywhere between 5 to 30 minutes for a transaction. Branches of the banks are within a few meters in the city centres and if one bank does not accept to serve your needs, you can always try the next bank
The best place you can change traveller's cheques is Hotels. In any case, I would suggest you to bring some cash for taxis, snacks, small local shops and use your credit cards (VISA & Master card should be preferred, AMEX is not accepted everywhere) in hotels, dinners, bigger shops.
Credit cards are welcomed at the larger establishments, especially Visa. However, check it in advance with the shop. In the bazaars and smaller establishments, cash - especially hard currency - is always preferred.
Automatic teller machines are commonly found in Istanbul with most connected to the major cash point networks such as Cirus or Plus. It is possible to withdraw Turkish lira using either a credit card or debit card. Before arriving in Turkey, check with your bank that your PIN (Personal Identification Number) will work in Turkish machines.
When dining out, it is necessary to tip even where the bill says service is included, "servis dahil" in Turkish because, the term is used as a gratuity for the proprietor, not the waiting staff. Therefore, it is customary to leave a small tip of 5% for the waiter. However, in the better establishments, waiting staff will expect 15% to 20%.
Taxi drivers do not expect tips as such, but customers traditionally round the fare up on paying. Always make sure, however, that the cab's meter is switched on or agree a price in advance. You don't tip on the shared taxi that keeps on travelling on a specific route, known as the "dolmus" in Turkey.
Bargaining is very much a traditional part of life for both vendors and customers in the bazaars and markets in Turkey. It is customary for shopkeepers to welcome the customer and enter into a detailed discussion on the merits of a particular item. Indeed, shopping can be a lengthy business!
Where a particular item is sought after, it is worth researching as much of the 'market' as possible to get an idea of current prices. Then, the best policy is to bargain with the vendor most likely to give the best quality and price. When a deal is made, it is a satisfying form of shopping. If the best price can't be reached, there is no obligation to buy.
Bargaining should never be a serious contest of wills and should always be enjoyed in the true spirit of bargain hunting.
Some Turkish for you to use when bargaining
The Turkish word for money is "para"
"cok para" (pronounced as "chock") means too much money
"cok pahali" means too expensive
"param yok" means I have no money.
Turkey applies a value added tax to most consumer goods known as the Katma Deger Vergisi (KDV).
8:30 - 12:30 (closed Sat. and Sun.)
13:30 - 17:30
8:30 - 12:00 (closed Sat. and Sun.)
13:30 - 17:00
* Garanti Bankasi in Sultanahmet does not close for lunch.
* Closing hours
of some banks may slightly vary
9:30 - 19:00 (But closing times for shops vary a lot, some even close around midnight).
The biggest and most known banks with branches in most of the cities are:
Yapı ve Kredi Bankası
Ziraat Bankası (state owned)
Vakıflar Bankası (state owned)
National and Religious Holidays
All banks, state establishments, schools, most of the shops are closed on national holidays. Please be prepared before these days. Change enough money before the holiday starts. Most of the banks are overcrowded the first day after the holidays.
1 January - New year.
23 April - "Ulusal Egemenlik ve Cocuk Bayrami" (National sovereignty and children's day).
19 May - "Atatürk'ü anma, Gençlik ve Spor Bayrami" (Commemoration of Atatürk, youth and sports day).
30 August - "Zafer Bayrami" meaning Victory day and celebrated each year in remembrance of the final rout of invading forces in 1922.
28 October (afternoon) to 29 October - "Cumhuriyet Bayrami" meaning Republic day, celebrated each year for the declaration of Turkish Republic.
4-5-6-7 December 2002 - "Seker Bayrami" (Ramadan
Holiday) - Variable each year
21-22-23-24-25 February 2002 - "Kurban Bayrami" (Sacrificial Holiday) - Variable each year
* Bayrams occur ten days earlier each year than those of the previous year.
A word of warning! As the small denominations of money are practically worthless in some other countries some tourists tend to screw or tear them up and throw them away before turning back to their country. This is very offensive to some Turkish people as our national hero Atatürk is on each note.