When looking at expat banking in Turkey, get ready to be wowed with the mass choices on offer and how easy it is to navigate the system. Turkey wants to attract foreign investment into the country. Therefore, many banks offer expat services to cater to your every whim, making it easy to grow and invest your savings or manage daily accounts. Before we look at the banks for expats, let's look at what to know about the banking industry in Turkey.
About Expat Banking in Turkey
1: Opening a Bank Account in Turkey
Opening a bank account is as simple as taking your passport, proof of address like an electricity bill and a tax number to any bank of your choice. The bank will take photocopies of your passport and hold it on record. Obtain a tax number from the local tax office where you plan to reside. If you are buying a property in Turkey or have bought one, you will already have one.
2: Turkish Mortgages for Expats
Some Turkish banks offer mortgages to foreigners to buy property in Turkey. While this might seem tempting if you cannot raise finance in your home country, check the interest rate payments, especially if unfixed since the Turkish lira constantly fluctuates. Often, interest rates are hefty.
3: Are Turkish Banks Safe?
Turkey runs the TMSF regulation program, and with banks that belong to this program, account holders' money is protected if the bank goes under. The amount covered is annually reviewed four times. Mostly, the amount ranges around 150,000 Turkish lira which is less than many expats deposit; hence, they open accounts in more than one bank.
4: Foreign Banks in Turkey
If you want to bank with foreign banks in Turkey, like HSBC, don't automatically assume they are connected to your home country. In the case of HSBC, they openly state that although they are the same bank, they operate as two different entities because of geographical location.
5: High-Interest Savings Accounts
Many expats who live in Turkey deposit their money into a high-interest savings account. The amount they receive varies depending on how much they deposit, but it averages between 10% to 15%. The expats then withdraw the interest monthly after paying tax and use this to increase their monthly income. Please remember that if you exchange foreign currency for Turkish lira to put it into high-interest savings accounts, the exchange rate is constantly fluctuating. Therefore, you could lose money if you change it back.
6: Banks in Turkey for Expats
Garanti: This bank specifically targets expats by offering an English website with online banking services and English-language cash point machines that dispense Euros and American dollars. Garanti bank also has English-speaking customer relations at certain branches; however, we have yet to meet an expat that rates them.
TEB: They promise to make expats feel at home, and have specialised banking services for expat customers, including specific accounts, English-speaking representatives in some branches, online banking in English, and dedicated expat telephone banking.
Akbank: They say, "No matter whether you are living or working in Turkey, your bank should help you make the most of the financial opportunities available to expat customers." They provide advice on multi-currency banking to maximise earnings on foreign exchange deposits and services tailored to your unique needs. Their Expat Wings card, designed for the expat lifestyle, also earns Travel Miles.
HSBC Turkey: Many expats in Turkey use HSBC, even though their expat banking service isn't advertised on their Turkish website. We think many people just like the association with the name. However, we bank with HSBC, and their professionalism has always been top-notch. In addition, their investment experts give sound advice on investing in Turkish lira, foreign currency, and gold.
Yapi Kredi: This bank's particular foreigners' section allows expats to set up utility bill payments, transfer money and open various savings accounts. They include time deposit accounts with advantageous interest rates, e-Deposit accounts for higher interest rates, gold deposit accounts, and gold time to earn interest while investing.
Deniz Bank: This is another firm favourite with expats simply because this bank often matches and gives higher interest savings rates than other banks. Additionally, all the expats we have spoken to said their staff are professional but friendly. Having been operating since 1997, Deniz Bank has 716 branches throughout Turkey.
7: Do You Have to Live in Turkey to Open a Bank Account?
In most cases, yes; however, ask around because now, the government and banks want foreign direct investment into the country and are coming up with numerous incentives. For example, TEB bank is offering the YUVAM account for non-residents to invest money into high-interest savings accounts. In addition, they provide government-backed protection for the Turkish lira time deposit account if you convert Swiss Franc, British pounds, dollars, or euros into Turkish lira. Foreigners must keep the money in the account for 3, 6, 9 or 12 months to gain the current rate of 17%.
More about Expats in Turkey
Buying Property: If you are considering becoming an expat in Turkey and want to purchase property, browse our portfolio of apartments and villas for sale. Each listing contains everything to know, including price, location, home features and contact details to find out more or arrange viewings.
Turkish Citizenship: Many foreigners live in Turkey on residency visas; however, some go one step further and acquire Turkish citizenship through the real estate investment scheme. This article talks about the criteria, how to apply and the benefits.
Expat Starter Guide: Lastly, we have put together all the information and advice anyone needs to live in Turkey into one helpful starter guide. So, as well as being knowledgeable about expat banking in Turkey, get advice about learning the culture and language, overcoming homesickness, and integrating into your new life in Turkey.
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