OK, so you've moved into your new Turkish home. Now you need to open a bank account. Like a lot of bureaucratic processes in Turkey, opening a bank account varies from place to place.
Turkey’s largest banks are Yapi Kredi Bankasi Kocbank, Turikiye Is Bankasi, Akbank and Garanti Bankasi. You’ll find these banks is just about every part of Turkey. It’s worth noting that Garanti Bankasi is the most English-friendly: there should be at least one English speaker at each branch. Isbank, on the other hand, owns a few European branches, making it easier for EU expats to make transfers.
There are a few foreign banks in Turkey, including HSBC, Citibank and Deutsche Bank. Only HSBC is widespread, however.
To open an account you’ll first need a tax number. Most banks require you to have a residency permit before opening an account with Turkish Lira. However, this varies. If you have a large sum to deposit your bank may make an exception. And, as is the case in pretty much every aspect of life in Turkey, don’t be afraid to negotiate.
Most banks will allow you to open an account in euros, British pounds or US dollars, but bear in mind you will receive little interest.
Once you’ve filled in an application form and given evidence of your tax number, you’ll be allowed to open an account. The most common account is a current account. Current accounts allow you to deposit and transfer money with ease. Most current accounts can be accessed via online banking and can be used to pay bills by direct debit.
You’ll also be eligible to open a savings account, but be warned that these accounts must remain open for at least a month and any interest earned is subject to a 15 per cent withholding tax. Your bank will provide you with the rates, which generally include the withholding tax.
Most banks are open on weekdays between 9am-5pm. Like most places around the world, queues can be formidable at lunch times