Finding the Best Bank for Foreigners in Turkey

Finding the best bank for foreigners in Turkey is difficult during the best of times. But, this is even more challenging during a currency crisis and due to international travel restrictions. So needless to say, if you’re looking to open a Turkish bank account as a foreign non-resident, your search will be difficult.

The best bank for foreigners in Turkey depends on each client’s profile, desired services, and reasons for banking here. But first, applicants must find a bank that accepts foreign non-residents. Then, they will need to navigate several unique account opening challenges, including obtaining a Turkish tax ID.

In addition to these account opening hurdles, existing clients warn that Turkish banks often charge high banking fees, lack English language support, and multiple applications are often required before successfully being able to open an account.

Of course, with the right preparation and guidance, most of these issues can be avoided and you will be able to find the best bank in Turkey for you. In this article, we’re going to help you navigate your options to do just that.

And, of course, we’ll also discuss why foreign non-residents may want to bank in Turkey in the first place. We’ll also discuss the potential benefits you can tap into, helpful tips on how to get started, and risks you need to be aware of.

But, before diving in, if this is your first time visiting GlobalBanks, don’t forget to download your free Non-Resident Banking Starter Guide. It’s designed to help non-residents open accounts in top banking hubs around the world.

Foreigners Banking in Turkey

If you’re reading this article, you’re probably an expat, digital nomad, entrepreneur, or non-resident who’s having trouble finding the best bank for foreigners in Turkey.

Well, you’re not alone.

In fact, while it’s entirely legal for banks in Turkey to open accounts for foreign non-residents, not all do. So, finding the best bank for foreigners in Turkey (and one that will open accounts) is a common struggle.

Fortunately, there are some banks in Turkey that do open accounts for foreign non-residents. Though, if you’re lucky enough to find one of them, prepare yourself for an intense and drawn-out screening process that can sometimes take weeks to finalize.

Of course, if you choose a bank that matches your client profile, many of the account opening challenges can be avoided. To this end, let’s look at some of the reasons why foreigners may want to bank in Turkey in the first place…

Why Would Foreigners Bank in Turkey?

Why would foreigners bank in Turkey?
Turkey is not the most popular banking hub for most foreigners. Heck, it’s not a banking hub at all. But, it is a popular tourist destination thanks to its beautiful islands, breathtaking landscapes, and incredible history.

And, over the years, the same elements that have attracted tourists to Turkey have also influenced foreigners to stay. Likewise, as a major trading hub between Asia and Europe, Turkey has also attracted countless businesses to its shores.

With this in mind, it’s no surprise that foreigners from many different facets of life are interested in banking here. Let’s take a look at some more specific reasons why foreigners may be looking to bank here.

Reasons to Find the Best Bank in Turkey for Foreigners

As you can see, whether you’re a foreign non-resident seeking accounts for personal reasons or for business purposes, there are many reasons why you may want to consider banking in Turkey.

But, banking in Turkey is not for everyone.

So, if you fit one of the above categories and you want to open an account with a bank in Turkey, you’ll need to make sure you can unlock the benefits you’re after to make it worth your wild. With this in mind, let’s review the benefits that you can access in Turkey, to see if it’s the right banking hub for you.

Benefits of Banking in Turkey as a Foreigner

Benefits of the best bank in Turkey for foreigners
For the right client, opening a bank as a foreigner in Turkey can unlock several benefits. But, like banking anywhere, there may be better choices elsewhere. So, even if the benefits below appeal to you, you should still consider all your options before applying for accounts.

That said, if you do fall into one of the above categories and are looking to access the benefits below, Turkey might work for you.

Potential Benefits Foreigners Can Access in Turkey:

  • Possibility to open remotely
  • Access multi-currency accounts
  • Certain banks do have English speaking staff
  • Account opening for the Unlucky Passport Club
  • Reasonable minimum deposit
  • Ability to pay local bills and suppliers
  • Ability to receive payments locally

As you can see, for the right person, there are benefits that come with finding the best bank for foreigners in Turkey. But, in order to take advantage of these benefits, you’ll need to know how to successfully navigate the account opening process. So, knowing which bank and banker to contact, which banks accept foreigners, and understanding the challenges that you may face when opening are all very important variables to know.

With that said, let’s take a look at the challenges of opening accounts with the best bank for foreigners in Turkey now.

Challenges When Opening Accounts in Turkey

Challenges of banking in turkey

Like all countries, when it comes to opening an account as a foreign non-resident, you’re going to face some challenges. In fact, if you’re not well prepared, your application will likely be denied.

So, before you start applying, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the potential challenges you’ll most likely face when opening accounts as a foreigner in Turkey.

Challenges of Opening Bank Accounts as a Foreigner in Turkey:

  1. Not all Turkish banks accept foreign non-residents
  2. Intense account opening application process
  3. Language barriers as not all Turkish banks offer English support
  4. High bank fees are common
  5. In-person account opening may be required
  6. Proof of local address may be required and is difficult to obtain
  7. Frequent account opening denials
  8. Successfully obtaining a Turkish tax number

Let’s explore some of these these challenges in further detail below:

1. Not all Turkish Banks Accept Foreign Non-Residents

Similar to other banking jurisdictions, many banks in Turkey will only open bank accounts for residents and citizens. So, before you begin to apply, you should know which bank and bankers accept foreigners.

To this end, it’s important that you choose a bank that caters to your client profile. Likewise, you should look for banks that have a track record of opening for clients like you. And, where possible, ensure that the bank you choose offers the specific benefits you’re looking to obtain.

2. Intense Account Opening Application Process

When it comes to opening an account for foreign non-residents in Turkey, Turkish banks have a strict application process. From intense identification requirements to never ending demands for supporting documents, actually opening an account is a challenge.

In fact, some foreigners go through the full process of providing these documents and meeting the bank’s requirements to only then get their application denied. So, it’s important to open with Turkish banks and experienced bankers that are familiar with foreign non-residents to ensure your application is handled correctly.

3. Language Barrier

Like many countries, opening bank accounts abroad comes with language barriers. This can take a big toll on the account opening process if you don’t speak the local language. And, not surprisingly, it can be a contributing factor to why your application gets denied due to mis-understanding between parties.

So, if you know someone who speaks Turkish, it may not be a bad idea to have that person join you when opening accounts. It could save you time, money and headaches, along with demonstrating that you have ties to the local community.

4. High Bank Fees Are Common

Banking for foreign non-residents in Turkey can be expensive. Whether you’re transferring money from abroad (in between accounts or countries) or withdrawing money from an ATM, multiple charges can be applied.

And, depending on the account you open, you can also be charged extensive bank fees just to maintain the account. But, these fees can potentially be avoided when you open with an experienced banker and open an account that meets your client profile. So, it’s important to understand all the fees that your prospective banks charge foreign non-residents before applying for an account.

5. In-Person Account Opening May Be Required

While this varies from bank to bank, a physical presence may be required for foreign non-residents looking to open a bank account in Turkey. That said, this isn’t always the case, and if you choose the right bank (and banker) there are usually ways to avoid this.

Additionally, there are specific strategies that you can use to open Turkish bank accounts without showing up in person. We detail these strategies for our premium members, GlobalBanks Insiders.

6. Proof of Local Address

Providing proof of a Turkish address may be required, depending on the bank you choose. However, this is a bank-specific requirement. So, if you don’t have a Turkish address, you’ll have to find a bank and banker that accepts foreign non-residents with no proof of local address or a bank that explicitly accepts foreign addresses.

7. Frequent Account Opening Denials

While most Turkish banks do not accept foreigners, the ones that do are not afraid to deny your application. So, if you don’t provide the proper documentation, meet the bank’s specific requirements, or something you submitted is incorrect, your application will likely be denied. So, it’s important to be prepared and understand the requirements of the bank you’re applying at before starting the application process.

8. Successfully Obtaining a Turkish Tax ID Number

Like many countries, Turkish banks require clients to present a Turkish tax identification number in order to open an account. Of course, like in other countries, simply having a tax identification number does not make you a tax resident.

Now, while it’s entirely possible to obtain a Turkish tax identification number as a foreign non-resident, there are several hoops that you’ll need to jump through in order to make this happen. Not the least of which is showing up in person. However, depending on your status, some options do exist to apply for a tax number remotely — though they are limited.

Needless to say, there are going to be some challenges to overcome when finding the best bank for foreigners in Turkey. Of course, these obstacles will vary depending on which bank you decide to apply to, your specific banking needs, and your client profile. But, with the right guidance, most applicants can overcome these challenges to successfully open accounts.

With this in mind, let’s take a look at the account opening process in Turkey.

How To Open a Bank Account for Foreigners in Turkey?

Choosing where to bank in Turkey
Like everywhere, each bank in Turkey will have its own set of account opening requirements and guidelines for foreign non-residents to follow.

Of course, before you even begin to apply, you’ll need to choose a bank that accepts foreign non-residents. And, not to mention, finding a branch with English speaking customer support. Fortunately, with proper guidance, this is possible.

So, with this in mind, let’s take a look at what you need to open an account with the best bank for foreigners in Turkey.

What You Need to Open A Bank Account in Turkey:

  • Choose a bank that accepts foreign non-residents
  • Choose a bank that allows remote opening
  • Government-issued identification
  • Tax identification number for your country of residence
  • Proof of local address (if applicable)
  • Meet the minimum deposit
  • Relevant documents translated into Turkish (if applicable)
  • Turkish tax identification number

Of course, these specific requirements vary depending on the bank, branch, and banker you deal with. So, before applying, it’s important to know the specific requirements you need to meet. Otherwise, you could end up wasting time and money trying to open an account you won’t be able to access.

And, if you’re unsure of what bank or banker to contact, you’re not clear on the bank’s specific requirements, or there’s a language barrier in play, the account opening process is going to take some time. So, prepare yourself.

But, with some help, you should be able to locate the proper bank and banker that will work with your specific client profile and help you successfully open an account.

So, with that said, if you want to avoid the possibility of going back and forth trying to find a bank that accepts foreign non-residents in Turkey, avoid the possibility of having applications denied, and the headache of completing the account opening process alone, we can help!

What is the Best Bank For Foreigners in Turkey?

When deciding what is the best bank for foreigners in Turkey, you can obviously get started with the information in this article to guide your search. Or, you can get expert support by accessing one of our membership services instead.

In fact, when you join GlobalBanks Insider, our team will share specific suggestions based on your banking goals and requirements. This includes specific banks, branches, and even bankers in Turkey for you to consider.

So, whether you need personal, corporate, or private banking in Turkey, we have an account opening solution that will work for you.

And, of course, this will include helping you identify what you need to open a bank account in Turkey and determining whether Turkey is the best banking hub for your client profile. Additionally, if Turkey is not the best fit for you, our team will also help you identify other banking jurisdictions that will better suit your specific needs.

Here’s How to Start Now

If you’re ready to take action and start opening international accounts now, you access GlobalBanks IQ, our dedicated international banking intelligence platform.

GlobalBanks IQ gives you everything you need to start figuring out where you should (and shouldn’t) open accounts.

When you join GlobalBanks IQ, you immediately unlock the GlobalBanks Database of international banks – home to 250+ banks in 50+ countries.

And, you get access to our library of premium (members-only) reports. These include proven account opening strategies, country-specific banking options, and lists of banks for specific client types.

Plus, you unlock our account opening checklists, dedicated account opening alerts, and much more.

To get started, click here to see if GlobalBanks IQ is the right choice for you to start accessing the benefits of international banking today.

You can also view all of the account opening solutions offered by GlobalBanks on our products page.

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