When visiting Istanbul, it will be helpful to know a bit about the Turkey’s currency and how it works. You can read our guide on the Turkish Liras, from where to obtain it to how to spend it and familiarize yourself with Turkish currency.
Some Practical Information
- The currency of Turkey is the Turkish Lira.
- The currency code for Turkish Lira is TL/TRY and the currency symbol is.
- There are 100 Kuruş (Kr) (pronounced as “koo-roosh”) to the Lira (TRY).
Turkish Lira Demonstrations
Banknotes come in 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 (rare) TRY.
Coins come in 1 (very rare), 5, 10, 25, 50 Kr and 1 TRY.
What should I do if I detect a counterfeit banknote?
When you suspect that a banknote is counterfeit, than we recommend you;
- Check the security features on the banknote,
- Compare it with a genuine banknote,
- Avoid damaging it with writing, drawing, piercing or tearing,
- Take it to the nearest Office of Chief Public Prosecutor or law enforcement officers and inform them where and whom the banknote came from.
- To report a counterfeit banknote, you can call the 155 Police Emergency line or 156 Gendarmerie Hotline. Note that any report of counterfeiting may be crucial to revealing a suspect or a counterfeiting ring.
Where to Obtain Turkish Liras? Currency exchange in Istanbul
You can obtain currency exchange before traveling to Istanbul or on arrival. We recommend you to obtain Turkish Liras in Turkey as the exchange rates are usually better in Turkey and you can find exchange offices in all Istanbul airports.
Also note that The Turkish Lira is a non-stable currency since August 2018. You can exchange any currency in to Turkish Lira in Istanbul as usual.
You can also find numerous exchange offices in Istanbul. Most of them are located on the streets of the popular tourist zones and districts, as well as inside banks, travel agents, Post Offices and Istanbul’s airports. It’s worth shopping around to get the best deal and make comparison with the exchange rates on offer and make you ask about commission.
When to Use Cash Turkish Liras?
We recommend you take cash TRY as you may need to tip on your way to your hotel, at the restaurants, cafes and bars. Also some establishments such as local shops, boutiques offer good discounts when you pay in cash as they won’t want to pay a percentage to the credit card company.
So, especially to take the advantage of good discounts on shopping, we recommend you to carry cash TRY. And we recommend you to carry small notes such as 5,10,20, 50 TRY.
Credit cards and contactless payments
Credit and debit (bank) cards such as Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted in Istanbul’s restaurants, bars, cafes, markets and shops.
Contactless cards are also widely used in Istanbul and Turkey and many businesses accept them as payment, up to a small limit per transaction for security reasons. In addition, the contactless payments may still incur an overseas transaction fee and these vary by card and by bank, so you should check with your card issuer before tapping your contactless card.
Cash machines – ATMs
In Istanbul, you can easily find numerous cash machines, cashpoints or ATMs, located separately on the streets of the tourist zones, banks, some corner shops, shopping centers and supermarkets.
Most of them accept international cards with the Visa, Plus, Mastercard, Cirrus or Maestro symbols. You should check before using them as they will almost certainly charge a free when you withdraw cash. Many cash machines also provide the facility to top up your mobile phone credit.
Osmanli (Ottoman) Bank Museum
The Ottoman Bank Museum is located at the Banks Street in Karakoy neighborhood. It offers great collections of official archives of the Ottoman era. Visitors may experience the Ottoman banknotes, orders of the palace officers and the photographs of the bank branches. Open every day between 10am and 6 pm.