Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Currency exchange Office that doesn't charge a "komisyon" in Istanbul?

Currency exchange Office that doesn't charge a "komisyon" in Istanbul?

Jan 22nd, 2010, 05:06 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 146
Currency exchange Office that doesn't charge a "komisyon" in Istanbul?

I found this on Tom Brosnahan's Turkey Travel Planner:

"Currency Exchange Offices (Döviz Bürosu) are found in market areas. They offer better exchange rates than most banks, and may or may not charge a commission (komisyon). Shop around for the best rate and the lowest (or no) commission"

Anyone know where one is in Istanbul?
lgnutah is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2010, 05:14 PM
  #2  
P_M
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 22,802
I would be a little wary of any exchange facility that claims to charge no commission. They might not charge the commission as a seperate fee but it is still added into the exchange rate they are using. Nobody exchanges your money at a 0% profit margin.

Most people on this board (myself included) recommend using the ATM. Your bank will charge around 1% plus any flat fees for foreign withdrawals. These flat fees vary widely from one bank to another so it's important to call your bank. Credit unions tend to have the lowest flat fees. You also need to let your bank know that you will be using your ATM card in Turkey so they won't flag it for irregular activity.
P_M is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2010, 05:43 PM
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 146
What sort of "flat fee" is normal? Is it charged both by the ATM in Turkey and the bank at home?
lgnutah is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2010, 05:46 PM
  #4  
P_M
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 22,802
It is charged by your bank at home. The banks there do not charge the flat fee.

My credit union charges $1 per withdrawal which is not bad at all. Some banks (such as Bank of America) charge as much as $5 per w/d, which is not such a good deal. I keep the credit union account so I can use that ATM card when traveling, then I do my regular business with B of A.
P_M is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2010, 05:56 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 445
We used ATM's in Turkey everywhere we went, including Istanbul, and we were happy with the rates. I wouldn't advise taking time away from experiencing Turkey to shop around for best rates and lowest commissions.

Having said that, I used Turkeytravelplanner extensively in planning our trip and found it to be very useful.

Ellen
ellen75005 is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2010, 05:56 PM
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 146
My son is going to study abroad in Australia and we opened a Bank of America account here, thinking this would be a money saver because they have a sister bank in Australia...because he could use his B of A debit card and not have to incur ATM charges. But she told me there would be a 3% fee every time he used an ATM machine. Is that a normal fee?
lgnutah is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2010, 06:47 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 8,631
yes, there are transaction fees when you use debit cards (and some credit cards) while abroad. .
I too think the turkeytravelplanner site an amazing resource, but disagree with currency exchange advice. Look, currency exchanges are there to make money. Either they charge an explicit commission, or they say "no commission" but don't offer as good an exchange rate. I, too, used bank atms (as opposed to no-name atms outside shops) in Istanbul and Izmir without a problem. You just make sure that they particpate in your bank's atm network, such as Cirrus and others.
elaine is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2010, 05:28 AM
  #8  
P_M
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 22,802
If the debit card is being used for purchases then 3% is about right. If it's being used in the ATM then it sounds a little steep to me. You can probably do better if you shop around. Check out some credit unions. I'm also told Capitol One offers good deals for both bank accounts and credit cards.
P_M is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2010, 05:55 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 25,297
The 3% is a foreign currency conversion fee. My bank (Wachovia) used to charge no conversion fee, then it went to 1%, and now it's 3%. That's on top of the charge for using a non-Wachovia ATM. When I travel I use my Credit Union account - they charge a 1% conversion fee, and $1 per ATM transaction after the first five per month. You need to ask your own bank about their charges - they're all different. If you travel a lot it may be worth opening a different account with better fees.

Almost all credit card companies also charge foreign conversion fees. Capital One is the only company I know of that doesn't.
thursdaysd is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2010, 06:21 AM
  #10  
P_M
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 22,802
Well, as of last June my credit union was still charging 1% for ATM w/d's, but it sounds like I need to call and ask if that's still the case.
P_M is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2010, 06:32 AM
  #11  
P_M
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 22,802
Just called--my credit union still charges $1 and 1%. WHEW!! Please don't tell them their competitors are charging 3%.
P_M is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2010, 07:15 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 4,700
I have not come across any currency exchange offices which charge a commission, in recent years. This covers many in the city. However, banks do charge and it is possible that the ones at the airport may charge because of high rental costs.

By the way, any Turkish currency that you have left with you at the end of your vacation may also be changed at any exchange office or bank at any time before you leave.
otherchelebi is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2010, 08:03 AM
  #13  
P_M
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 22,802
Hello otherchelebi,

I worked in banking for 11 years and we did not charge a commission as a seperate fee. However we did mark up the exchange rate by about 7.5%, so that was our commission in disguise. Don't be fooled by an exchange facility claiming not to charge a commission because as I stated above, nobody exchanges currency at a 0% profit margin. If the commission is not an outright fee, you can bet it's figured into the exchange.
P_M is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2010, 08:57 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,525
I'd still recommend using an ATM. Why plan your trip going to a specific location to exchange money? I'd wager the ATM rate will be as good or better.

And yes, and currency exchange involves two components...the fee/commmission, and the exchange rate. Knowing one without the other tells you nothing.

Leave your money at home (except for that one hotel bill)
Michel_Paris is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2010, 09:03 AM
  #15  
P_M
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 22,802
"And yes, and currency exchange involves two components...the fee/commmission, and the exchange rate. Knowing one without the other tells you nothing."

Thank you for stating that so well Michael. So many travelers are focused on avoiding fees/commissions so they ignore the markup on the exchange rate, thinking it's a good deal if there is no commission. In some cases it might be better to pay a commission and get a more favorable exchange rate, but you have to crunch the numbers to determine what's best.

It's much easier and more convenient just to use the ATM.
P_M is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2010, 09:46 AM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 4,700
hello P_M,

i did not work in a bank, but as chairman of an insurance company. I am 65 and for the last 24 years i've been changing currencies, my own and of the companies which i managed, in Turkey, ever since TL became convertible.

Nobody works for 0 profit, but the currency exchange offices in turkey work for very minimal margins. If the central bank exchange rate for today is TL1.485 buying and TL1.510 for selling USD, one of the exchange offices in tahtakale where huge amounts are exchanged every day will buy at 1.491 and sell at 1.50. with no commission.

If your bank marked up exchange rates it was either cheating its customers or it was a small bank which did not do many exchange transactions and dealt only with customers who did not do much f/x.

The turkish banks cannot afford to mark up or charge more than 2%. If they did no one would use them.

Please do not advise people on this or any other forum without real minformation on the local scene.

Just enter any Turkish financial site, even google and you can find the daily Turkish central Bank and the half hourly free market, that is f/x offices' exchange rates.

the fact that i was chairman of a Turkish insurance company or even the fact that upto 1994 i was managing director of an American insurance broker, does not qualify me to comment on an insurance transaction today or the current practice in the US or UK.

Also, i have been to Chicago maybe twenty times in the last six years, and will not profess to know the banking practices although i have an account and a debit card with a US bank in Chicago. neither can i recommend restaurants and food there, without knowing what kind of food makes what kind of person happy.
otherchelebi is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2010, 10:01 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,525
otherchelebi,
thank you for posting, this is interesting information.
Michel_Paris is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2010, 10:48 AM
  #18  
P_M
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 22,802
otherchelebi, when customers asked I always made a point of telling them the commmission was included in the exchange rate. It was never my intention to mislead but I do not deny the officials at the bank might have had this in mind.

I did not realize you were a local person in Istanbul, thanks for your info.
P_M is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2010, 11:08 AM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 57,890
The cheapest way to pay is either to use credit cards or to draw cash from an ATM with a card linked to your checking account. this will typically cost you 2-3% of the money. Changing cash anyplace - it doesn;t matter where (but the US will be more expensive than Turkey) will cost you 8 to 10% of your money - in either commission or poor rates of exchange or both. (You can be sure any place that says "no commission" has a worse rate of exchange than other places.)

No one will change cash for less - since it's a big hassle. Banking all over the world is electronic and dealing with cash is a lot of work that must be paid for - on top of the profit a bureau de change must make to survive.
nytraveler is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2010, 11:16 AM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 4,700
Thank you Michel and P_M. i apologize to you and everyone for how pedantic i sound. I can actually be quite funny too. Also, check my Trip advisor posts for more information .
otherchelebi is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 09:43 AM.