You can also find the most reliable currency information from the website of the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey. The official currency of Turkey, the Turkish lira (₺/TRY), is composed of different denominations of bills and coins. The lowest bill is 5 Turkish liras, and the highest bill is 200 Turkish lira, whereas; the lowest coin is 1 kuruş, and the highest coin is 1 lira (100 kuruş). Whereas foreign currencies are accepted in some places, the only Turkish lira is accepted in most of the country. 

There are a variety of payment methods that are used in Turkey. However, cash is predominantly used throughout the country, especially in small businesses. While credit cards, debit cards, and other payment methods are becoming prevalent throughout the country, carrying cash with you is essential. We will share current currency information and some tips about Istanbul currency exchange and payment methods to have a comfortable trip in Istanbul.

History of the Turkish Lira

Since the establishment of the Turkish Republic, as the tradition of putting the picture of the president of state on the front face of the coin, only Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, and İsmet İnönü's depictions were printed on the coins and banknotes. However, this law was amended by the government in 1952. It was decided to have only the depiction of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founding leader of the Turkish Republic, on the Turkish lira. 

After the proclamation of the Turkish Republic in 1923, the new government decided to print the first Turkish banknotes to officialize the Turkish Republic. However, since Turkey did not have its central bank, the first paper money was printed in the United Kingdom. Since the Alphabet Revolution had not yet taken place, the first coins had Arabic letters on them, while the Latin letters were put into circulation in 1937. A few years later, to increase the global prestige of the Turkish lira, six zeros were removed, and the lowest valued banknote became 5 Turkish lira.

Currency Information for Istanbul

Although the Turkish lira, the official currency of Turkey, is commonly used in Istanbul, some hotels, businesses, restaurants, and shops allow tourists to use foreign currency. If you encounter a situation where foreign currency is not valid during your trip, you can exchange currency from bank branches or ATMs, exchange offices, PTT (Turkey's postal organization), jewelers, hotels, and the airport. However, we recommend you use the Turkish lira for your comfort on your Istanbul trip.

The currency rate in Turkey is not stable, and it changes constantly. One of the most important things you should know about Istanbul, for having a comfortable visit to Turkey, is the current and reliable currency information. You can find the most up-to-date and reliable currency information on the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey website. Apart from that, you can access up-to-date currency information from the reception of your hotel, mobile banking applications, exchange offices, and banks. As the currency information changes during the day and sometimes within a week, we will not share the current exchange rate. Still, you can always check it on the Internet to give you an idea about adjusting your budget while coming to Istanbul.

Withdrawing the Turkish lira from an ATM rather than carrying large quantities of cash during your travels will be a good precaution for risks such as pickpocketing, which is a common risk, especially in some districts of Istanbul, and losing luggage at the airport. ATMs can be your primary source of cash while you're in Istanbul. Credit and debit cards are widely used in Turkey. The most common ones are Visa and MasterCard, and American Express in luxury hotels and restaurants. You can get Turkish lira cash from ATMs in Istanbul with a normal bank card. International banks operating in Turkey are

  • HSBC Turkey

  • Citibank Turkey

  • Deutsche Bank Turkey

  • Société Générale Turkey

  • Sberbank (Denizbank in Turkey)

You can also open a bank account with a Turkish bank before your trip. The five most common retail banks in Turkey are

  • Agricultural Bank of the Republic of Turkey (Ziraat)

  • Türkiye İş Bankası

  • Akbank

  • Halkbank

  • Vakıfbank

Frequently Asked Question

When was the Turkish Lira first used in Turkey?
The Turkish lira became official in 1952.
Which currency is used in Istanbul?
Istanbul, as it is with the rest of Turkey, uses the Turkish Lira currency.
Can I use Euros in Istanbul?
Yes, but it depends on where you are going to go shopping. Some luxury brands can accept foreign currencies.
How to exchange money in Istanbul?
You can exchange money in exchange offices and ATMs in Istanbul.
Can you exchange money from hotels in Istanbul?
It depends on the hotel, but some hotels may have an exchange service for their customers.