Using a credit card in Turkey

Use our guide to get the best out of your plastic, and your cash, on holiday in Turkey.

Promoted for spending abroad
Santander All in One Credit Card logo
Santander All in One Credit Card
Check eligibility
29.8% APR representative variable
4.5 ★★★★★
No foreign transaction fees
Over a year to spread the cost of purchases
Earn 0.5% cashback
Best for hotel perks
The Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card logo
Finder Award
The Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card
Check eligibility
54.8% APR representative variable
4 ★★★★★
Earn points on purchases
Earn 20,000 Marriott Bonvoy® points
Free Travel Inconvenience Insurance
Best for Avios points
British Airways American Express Credit Card logo
Finder Award
British Airways American Express Credit Card
Check eligibility
31% APR representative variable
4 ★★★★★
No annual fee
Earn Avios as you spend
Generous welcome offer

Turkey is one of the most popular holiday destinations in the world, with millions flocking to its stunning beaches or its major city of Istanbul.

When it comes to plastic, Visa and Mastercard credit cards find widespread acceptance in medium to large businesses. However, cardholders of American Express or Diners Club may struggle. Cash remains a popular way to pay across the country.

Compare cards with fee-free currency conversion in Turkey

Table: sorted by representative APR, promoted deals first
1 - 6 of 24
Name Product Finder Score Finder score Purchases Annual/monthly fees Initial credit limits Representative APR Incentive Link
Santander All in One Credit Card
4.5
★★★★★
★★★★★
Expert analysis
0% for 15 months reverting to 23.9%
£3 per month
Min. limit £500, max. limit not specified.
29.8% APR (variable)
0.5% after £1 of monthly spend. Maximum of £10 cashback paid per month. Cashback paid monthly into Card Account. Maximum spend for cashback purposes is limited to credit limit. Every time you spend abroad in the local currency using your Santander debit or credit card between 18 June to 15 September 2024, you'll be entered into a prize draw to win 1 of 18 travel vouchers each worth £5,000 each. T&Cs apply.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 23.9% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £3 per month, your representative rate is 29.8% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
Yonder Credit Card
Finder Award
Yonder Credit Card
4.5
★★★★★
★★★★★
Expert analysis
29.94%
1 month for £0, £15 per month thereafter
Min. limit not specified, max. limit not specified.
66.7% APR (variable)
First month free for new members, £15 p/m thereafter. Plus, 10,000 bonus points. Earn 5 points per £1 spent and up to 25 points per £1 at selected partners. Membership includes worldwide travel insurance, no FX fees and use your points towards any flight.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 29.94% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £15 per month, your representative rate is 66.7% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
118 118 Money Guaranteed Rate Card
3.6
★★★★★
★★★★★
Expert analysis
49%
£0
Min. limit £500, max. limit not specified.
49% APR (variable)
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 49% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 49% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
Yonder 'No Fee' Credit Card
4.0
★★★★★
★★★★★
Expert analysis
32.9%
£0
Min. limit not specified, max. limit not specified.
32.9% APR (variable)
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 32.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 32.9% APR (variable).
Check eligibility
Santander Edge Credit Card Mastercard
4.5
★★★★★
★★★★★
Expert analysis
23.9%
£3 per month
Min. limit £500, max. limit not specified.
29.8% APR (variable)
2% after £1 of monthly spend. 1% after £1 of monthly spend. Maximum of £15 cashback paid per month. Cashback paid Monthly into Card Account. Maximum spend for cashback purposes is limited to credit limit.
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 23.9% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £3 per month, your representative rate is 29.8% APR (variable).
The Royal Bank Credit Card
4.7
★★★★★
★★★★★
Expert analysis
12.9%
£0
Min. limit £250, max. limit not specified.
12.9% APR (variable)
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 12.9% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 12.9% APR (variable).
loading

Cash in Turkey

Turkey uses the lira (TRY) and although you can pay with euros in some places, you’re always going to get a better deal if you transact in the local currency. It’s better to get lira once you arrive in Turkey, rather than in advance in the UK.

Haggling is common so it’s good to have enough cash if you’re planning to go shopping in Istanbul’s bazaars. You will need to pay for most small purchases of around £5 to £20 worth of lira in cash. Keep around £50 to £100 worth of cash in lira to pay newspaper vendors, cafes, restaurants, bars and small souvenir shops.

Cash machines in Turkey

You’ll find cash machines linked to the Plus or Cirrus systems so using your Visa or Mastercard card will be easy. ATMs are in most Turkish cities, towns and beach resorts, including at train and bus stations, petrol stations, shopping centres and popular tourist attractions. It’s better to use the cash machines attached to banks as these tend to be safer than the ones in free-standing booths.

Turkish bank ATMs do not charge a local ATM operator fee. There are instances when the transaction times out, if this is the case, try a different ATM.

Find a great deal on your travel money for Turkey

Chip and PIN

Turkey has moved from magnetic-stripe to chip cards, and all banks in Turkey now issue the latter. Chip and PIN cards are most commonly used for most transactions, while contactless is steadily growing in popularity for transactions of 90 lira and under.

If you have a magnetic-stripe card, you’ll still be able to use it in Turkey, although you can expect some confusion. With the switching of technology, some retailers falsely believe that they can no longer accept magnetic-stripe cards while some others will not let you use them, to do their bit in reducing credit card fraud. All they basically need you to do is swipe your card instead of inserting it into the machine, and then get you to sign for the purchase.

If you use a chip-and-signature card, you can use it in Turkey just about everywhere you find a manned credit card machine. However, some businesses are hesitant in accepting them because they are not sure if it’s allowed and some others don’t accept them to cut down on credit card fraud. If you’re getting tickets from a machine, you will need to enter a PIN, in which case your chip-and-signature card won’t work.

Is it safe to use my card in Turkey?

By exercising some caution when using your credit card in Turkey, you will have a relatively trouble-free experience.

  • Keep your PIN safe. Use one hand to enter the PIN and the other to shield it from prying eyes and hidden cameras.
  • Select ATMs with care. Try and stick to ATMs in banks and avoid using ones in the street.
  • Watch out for “skimmers”. When installed in an ATM, a card skimmer works by stealing information from credit and debit cards. If you feel the card slot is not as smooth as it should be or if there is a problem with the keypad, cancel your transaction and look for another ATM.

Keeping your credit card (physically) safe

Remain alert to street crime, especially where two or more people work in distracting victims before decamping with their valuables. Instances of theft at airports are not uncommon, so stay vigilant while arriving and departing. There have been numerous instances of thefts from hired cars so don’t leave your wallet or purse in a parked car. In some cases, thieves pose as police and ask to see wallets for identification purposes. In such a scenario, make sure you’re speaking with genuine police officers. It is very unlikely that a real officer will want to sift through your wallet.

Potential credit card fees

Credit card fees can leave a noticeable dent in your pocket when you are travelling overseas, so know what you are up against well in advance and choose a card with no or low fees.

Foreign transaction fees

British credit card issuers typically charge a fee equivalent to 1% to 3% of your transaction, so carefully review your card’s fine print to avoid statement surprises. Some cards designed for travel come with no foreign transaction fees, so this could be a good time to switch.

Learn more about cards designed for overseas spending

Currency conversion fees

If a retailer offers to bill your credit card in sterling, dynamic currency conversion comes into play. While this might sound like a good deal, you will actually end up getting a worse exchange rate, and you might also end up paying currency conversion fees. Whenever you are presented with an option, always choose to pay in the local currency.

Cash advance fees

Using your credit card to withdraw money from an ATM may not make sense unless it’s a bona fide emergency. Each time you withdraw funds from an ATM, you are likely to pay a cash advance fee. Your APR for cash advances is normally higher than your purchase APR. Typically, you will get no grace period and will start paying interest immediately. Again, some cards designed for overseas spending will waive this fee.

The table below serves as an example of how much extra you may pay to use your credit card in Turkey.

section of credit card summary box document

Additionally you can get an idea of costs by using these online currency conversion tools from Mastercard and Visa.

What is a cash advance fee?

A cash advance fee is calculated (and charged) when you withdraw cash from your credit card. It’s usually the greater of a flat fee or a percentage of the transaction. For example, “2.5% of the transaction, minimum £3.00”.

How to prepare before travelling to Turkey

  1. Go with Visa or Mastercard. Carry at least two cards on your trip to Turkey, preferably connected with Visa or Mastercard. If you just take an American Express card, you won’t get to use it in many places.
  2. Think no foreign transaction fees. When there are cards that come with no foreign transaction fees, using ones that charge 2% or 3% of each overseas transaction does not make sense. Some of these cards don’t charge an annual fee, either.
  3. Keep your bank informed. Banks, in their efforts to thwart fraudulent transactions, block credit cards if they detect suspicious activity such as unexpected overseas transactions. To make sure this does not happen to your card, let your bank know about your travel plans before you leave the UK.
  4. Keep the emergency number handy. Know which numbers you’ll need to call if you end up losing your card or if you need an emergency replacement.
  5. Know where you’ll get cash from. Consider using your debit card to withdraw cash from ATMs. If you need to exchange money, stick to banks or official money-exchange offices because possessing counterfeit money in Turkey is a serious crime. Try to avoid exchanging money at airports and popular tourist destinations because of typically poor exchange rates.
Deal

Lounge access with Priority Pass

Access 1,500+ airport lounges and premium travel experiences globally, in 600 cities across 148 countries

Next steps

Ask yourself these simple questions before you leave so your spending in Turkey does not hit any roadblocks.

  • Which cards will I take? Visa and Mastercard are the favourites. If you’re planning a trip, check out cards that give you complimentary airport lounge access. If you are planning well in advance, consider earning air miles for your trip with a frequent flyer credit card.
  • Have I let my bank know? If you don’t inform your bank about your travel plans, you may end up with a temporarily suspended card.
  • What fees do I need to pay? If your existing cards come with foreign transaction fees, look for one that does not. Paying in Sterling outside of the UK might come with currency conversion fees.
  • How will I get cash? Using your debit card at an ATM is the simplest way to access your own money. You can carry cash with you. Exchanging Sterling to liras is easy and you’ll get several options.

When you’re in Turkey, you don’t have to worry about where and when you can use your credit card. Just keep some cash handy to pay for small purchases.

How to use a credit card in …

Frequently asked questions

We show offers we can track - that's not every product on the market...yet. Unless we've said otherwise, products are in no particular order. The terms "best", "top", "cheap" (and variations of these) aren't ratings, though we always explain what's great about a product when we highlight it. This is subject to our terms of use. When you make major financial decisions, consider getting independent financial advice. Always consider your own circumstances when you compare products so you get what's right for you. Most of the data in Finder's comparison tables has the source: Moneyfacts Group PLC. In other cases, Finder has sourced data directly from providers.
Chris Lilly's headshot
Written by

Head of publishing

Chris Lilly is Head of publishing at finder.com. He's a specialist in personal finance, from day-to-day banking to investing to borrowing, and is passionate about helping UK consumers make informed decisions about their money. In his spare time Chris likes forcing his kids to exercise more. See full bio

Chris's expertise
Chris has written 612 Finder guides across topics including:
  • Loans & credit cards
  • Building credit
  • Financial health

More guides on Finder

Go to site