Obtaining Turkish Lira

Old Apr 4th, 2012, 11:19 AM
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Obtaining Turkish Lira

Where is the best place to get Turkish lira? at the ATM at the airport upon arrival? at an ATM in Istanbul? my hotel? Any tips to lower the cost of fees charged by the banks?
kleroux is offline  
Old Apr 4th, 2012, 11:22 AM
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I usd ATMs at the airport and any place else in Turkey when I needed cash. This is what I normally do when traveling abroad.

As widely discussed here, you can use a Capital One card that does not charge a forein conversion fee. I use a Credit Union debit card.
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Old Apr 4th, 2012, 11:54 AM
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Most fees associated with using a debit card are added by the card issuer/your bank so talk to them about lowering fees. Or better, yet, get a card that doesn't have any fees.
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Old Apr 4th, 2012, 12:09 PM
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Gosh, you are brave asking a question like that on here. I did and still bear the scars. If you willing to take risks, consider changing cash for cash - you get a much greater rate that way. A less risky position is to consider doing both - take your card and money to exchange.
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Old Apr 4th, 2012, 12:20 PM
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In general, hotels, anywhere in the world, give the worst exchange rates because they are not in the FX business and they need a good margin to justify providing this service.

banks have large overheads and they have to recover them by charging commissions and fees, so they usually will charge you or have low buying and high selling rates. They are also slow in dealing with cash so will have to have these high margins.

FX ofices have low costs. They deal with cash very quickly and take positions every 15 minutes or so (at least in Istanbul) especially if they are close to Tahtakale, the heart of the FX spot market. So, you will get smaller margins between buying and selling rates at FX offices which get smaller as you get close to Tahtakale and to the road between Nuruosmaniye mosque and the Grand Bazaar. They also do not charge you any commission or any other expense. The margins on USD and Euros are the lowest. Followed by Swiss Francs and Pounds and increasing for other currencies because of lower supply and demand and general activity.
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Old Apr 4th, 2012, 12:35 PM
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Actually, there are some hotels that do give better rates than even local banks on exchange, I think they do it as a service, not because they want to run a profitable exchange business. I know it is hard to believe as hotels often charge way too much for drinks, etc., but I've stayed in hotels both in Greece and Mexico that gave very good exchange rates.

But I wouldn't do anything blindly, that wouldn't be rational. Find out what any rate is before you would exchange money there. However, I do agree that usually exchange bureaux give the best rates in most places due to their low overhead and they actually DO want the business. Banks don't.
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Old Apr 4th, 2012, 12:49 PM
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I don't know where you're from, kleroux , but I've been using my UK debit card for the last 20 years all over Turkey without any problems, quite often in pretty out-of-the-way places. I get charged about 1.5% on each transaction, and the exchange rate has always been fairly good. For the price of a few beers over the whole trip, I find it very reasonable.
Scrimping on exchange rates/bank fees is meaningless compared to the gains you can make by haggling for other things.
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Old Apr 4th, 2012, 01:04 PM
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Inflation is on the rise, and you will find that a lot of hotels are priced in the U.S. dollar.

The airport

It's been a few years, but most businesses/restaurants/taxis would take dollars. I don't know if there is still an entrance fee to get into Turkey, but your guidebook should let you know.
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Old Apr 4th, 2012, 01:13 PM
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Yes at the airport, yes any ATM around town. And if you're an American you do need a Turkish Visa which can be acquired at the airport.
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Old Apr 4th, 2012, 03:23 PM
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Bookmarking. The kids are going to Turkey.
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