Opening a bank account in Turkey

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Wednesday, February 25th, 2015 In Turkey By Ulrika

The 2 things you need to get your Turkish bank account today

So this is Turkey and you’ve heard all kinds of stories about opening a bank account in Turkey. As a foreigner who has lived in Turkey, opened a few bank accounts for myself, and helped many others to do the same, I can safely say that it’s not as complicated as you might think.

Also, keep in mind that when you apply for a Turkish Residence Permit, you need to have money in a Turkish bank account, so make sure you read below about opening a bank account in Turkey so you have your funds in-country. I had one of my relatives living there, so I went to the nearest money order near me and sent them some money to proceed with the procedure. There might be a possibility of you lacking adequate funds to open a bank account, and it can be arduous to collect funds in a foreign country. To address this issue, you must first know What is an unsecured loan, and only then will you be able to proceed with creating a bank account.

Necessary documents

Opening a bank account in Turkey

1. Tax ID number

Known as a Vergi Kimlik Numarası in Turkish, you’ll definitely need one of these to open your account. Go to your nearest Vergi Dairesi (Tax Office) in your belediye (municipality) with your passport and ask a bunch of people how you can obtain your tax ID number.

Find your nearest tax office: Page is in Turkish and the loadtime is super-slow!

2. Passport

Take this with you. Maybe a photocopy of the ID page as well?


Bank card

1. Go to your desired bank

Common banks used by foreigners are:
  • Garanti Bank (best internet banking in English)
  • Yapı Kredi
  • İş Bankası
  • HSBC
  • UBS
  • Citibank (not too many ATMs tho…)

2. Pull a number for the customer service desk

Don’t take a queue number for the counter because they’ll just send you to the customer service desk and you’ll have to pull another number and wait all over again.

3. Wait longer than you think is reasonable while a bunch of people try and cut the line

This is really entertaining (read: annoying). If you have a friend that is adept at Turkish, bring them along for moral and cultural support (i.e. how to deal with all the people trying to weasel their way in front of you).

4. Ask to open a checking account

He/she’ll bring out a giant contract in English from the back room.

5. Sign every page of the contract

In Turkey it’s required to sign every page of a contract with your full signature. When I opened my account, I got lazy and started signing my initials about half way through. She gave me the evil eye and challenged, “What are you doing?” I was swiftly put in my place.

6. Arrange delivery of your debit card

You have the choice of:
  • Home delivery
  • Delivery to your branch
I chose my branch because I didn’t want to risk it getting lost in the post. They usually say 10 days, but you can start swinging by and checking after 3-4 days.

7. Deposit money into your account

The customer service representative might be able to do this at the desk, but you’ll most likely be asked to go to the counter and do it. If so, request to be directed straight to the counter so you don’t have to endure another wait in the queue.

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