Istanbul Airport (IST) is the main international airport serving Istanbul. As Turkey uses its own currency, you might need some Turkish Lira (TRY) right at the airport. What currency exchange rates can be expected at the new Istanbul Airport?
Cash is still widely used in Turkey so having few banknotes of Turkish Lira in your pocket might be a good idea. If you feel that you need local money right at the airport, you can either withdraw Turkish Lira from one of ATMs found at the airport or exchange foreign currency at one of Istanbul Airport currency exchange counters.
What money changers operate at the new airport of Istanbul and how good or bad currency exchange rates can expected at Istanbul Airport?
Money Changers at Istanbul Airport
All currency exchange counters at the new Istanbul Airport are operated by the same company Global Exchange. Currently they operate 40 currency exchange branches at Istanbul Airport so you can expect to see them all around the airport. Full list of Global Exchange branches at Istanbul Airport can be found here: globalexchange.com.tr.
At least some of Global Exchange counters are open 24 hours, all year round.
The only alternative to Global Exchange at Istanbul Airport are the branches of three Turkish Banks that can be found on the landside of Arrivals floor at Domestic Terminal. All three banks also offer currency exchange to their customers. The branches of the banks can be found after passing the passport control.
The offices of the banks operating at the new Istanbul Airport are listed below.
Türkiye İş Bank
Opening hours: Open 24 Hours
Phone: 0 (212) 465 41 02
Current exchange rates: isbank.com.tr
Opening hours: between 09:00 - 12:30 & 13:30 - 17:30
Phone: 0 (212) 812 89 22
Opening hours: from 09:00 to 17:00 (lunch break from 12:30 to 13:30)
Phone: 0 (212) 468 31 50
Current exchange rates: garantibbva.com.tr
Currency Exchange Rates at Istanbul Airport
Exchange Rates at Global Exchange
As Global Exchange has a monopoly at a big part of the airport, don’t expect very fair currency exchange rates there. To make things more complicated, they display currency exchange rates only on price monitors and not on the clearly seen boards like normal money changers.
Global Exchange doesn’t charge any commission but the exchange rate offered by this money changer is significantly worse than the exchange rate of the banks at Istanbul airport that additionally charge 4% commission for every transaction.
It is possible to book your currency online via Global Exchange website and collect it at the airport. By booking your currency online, you can save 15% of their exchange margin if compared to their airport exchange rate. However, even online exchange rate of Global Exchange is far from being attractive.
For finding out how got or bad Turkish Lira exchange rate is, you need to compare the rate with TRY current market rate. Market exchange rate can be easily found on Google or any other search engine.
USD exchange rate on the market at the time of writing is 5.83 TRY for 1 US Dollar, so the rate offered by Istanbul Airport Global Exchange (5.02 TRY/USD) is even by 0.81 TRY or about 13.9% lower than the market rate. For large amounts they offer 5.16 Turkish Lira for 1 US Dollar but the exchange margin is still 11.5%.
EUR exchange rate on the market at the time of writing is 6.43 TRY for 1 Euro, so the rate offered on the website of Global Exchange (5.54 TRY/EUR) is by 0.89 TRY or about 13.8% lower than the market rate. For large amounts they offer 5.70 Turkish Lira for 1 Euro and the exchange margin they charge is 11.4%.
GBP exchange rate on the market at the time of writing is 7.10 TRY for 1 Pound Sterling, so the rate offered at Istanbul Airport Global Exchange (6.09 TRY/EUR) is by 1.01 TRY or about 14.2% lower than the market rate. For large amounts they offer 6.26 Turkish Lira for 1 British Pound so the exchange margin is 11.8%.
Global Exchange offers exchange for 48 different currencies. However, the less popular is the currency, the lower rate can be expected at Istanbul Airport. For example, PLN exchange rate on the website of Global Exchange is by 19.7% and Russian Ruble exchange rate is by 20.5% lower than the market rate.
Even when booking online, currency collection at Istanbul Airport won’t be a good deal when exchanging your currency with Global Exchange. Loosing at least 11.4% for currency exchange doesn’t sound fair.
Currency exchange rates at Istanbul Airport will be even worse than you can see on Global Exchange website. It means that the rates will be really bad. Even if banks at Istanbul Airport charge 4% commission, their exchange margin plus commission will still be much better deal!
Exchange Rates at Istanbul Airport Banks
Currency exchange rates offered by the banks at Istanbul Airport are far from good as well because all well because all 3 banks charge an additional 4% commission on the top of their currency exchange margin.
At the time of our visit to Istanbul Airport, Türkiye İş Bank was offering the best exchange rate for most of the currencies:
- best USD exchange rate – 5.3435 TRY (Türkiye İş Bank & Garanti BBVA)
- best EUR exchange rate – 5.9877 TRY (Türkiye İş Bank & Garanti BBVA)
- best GBP exchange rate – 6.4852 TRY (Türkiye İş Bank)
- best AUD exchange rate – 3.6514 TRY (Türkiye İş Bank)
- best DKK exchange rate – 0.8056 TRY (Türkiye İş Bank)
- best SEK exchange rate – 0.5620 TRY (Türkiye İş Bank)
- best CHF exchange rate – 5.5120 TRY (Türkiye İş Bank)
- best JPY exchange rate – 5.0800 TRY for 100 JPY (Türkiye İş Bank)
- best CAD exchange rate – 4.0551 TRY (Türkiye İş Bank)
- best SAR exchange rate – 1.4188 TRY (Garanti BBVA)
- best RUB exchange rate – 0.08002 TRY (Garanti BBVA)
If you want to get the best deal at Istanbul Airport for your currency, you should check all three banks. However, the exchange rates offered by Ziraat Bank were worse than offered by their competitors.
What exchange margin is charged by the banks at Istanbul Airport in addition to 4% commission? Let’s check!
USD to TRY exchange rate at Istanbul Airport
The official USD exchange rate at the time of our visit to Istanbul Airport was 5.4909 TRY for 1 US Dollar, so the best rate offered at the airport (5.3435 TRY TRY/USD) was by 0.1474 TRY or 2.7% lower than the market rate. On top of this exchange margin they charge 4% commission, so your total loses are equal to 6.7% meaning that for every 100 US Dollars exchanged at Istanbul Airport you’re losing at least 6.7 USD.
As the lowest exchange margin offered for Istanbul Airport collection by Global Exchange (large amount with pre-booking online) is 11.5%, exchanging your currency at the bank can easily save you about 4.8%.
EUR to TRY exchange rate at Istanbul Airport
The official EUR exchange rate at the time was 6.1510 TRY for 1 Euro, so the best rate offered at Istanbul Airport (5.9877 TRY/EUR) was by 0.1633 TRY or 2.7% lower than the market rate. On top of this exchange margin the bank charges 4% commission, so your total cost for currency exchange is 6.7% meaning that for every 100 Euros exchanged at Istanbul Airport you’re losing at least 6.7 EUR.
GBP to TRY exchange rate at Istanbul Airport
The official GBP exchange rate at the time was 6.6050 TRY for 1 Pound Sterling, so the best rate offered at the airport (6.4852 TRY/GBP) was by 0.1198 TRY or 1.8% lower than the market rate. Together with 4% commission you are losing about 5.8% of your money when exchanging GBP at Istanbul Airport.
Exchange rates of other currencies at Istanbul Airport
The official AUD exchange rate at the time was 3.7277 TRY for 1 Australian Dollar, so the best rate offered at Istanbul Airport (3.6514 TRY/AUD) was by 0.0763 TRY or about 2.0% lower than the market rate. However, one of the banks was offering a special rate for AUD exchange rate at the time of our visit. Total loses for exchanging AUD to TRY at Istanbul Airport’s bank were 6.0% of the amount exchanged.
The official CAD exchange rate at the time was 4.1561 TRY for 1 Canadian Dollar, so the best rate offered at the airport (4.0551 TRY/CAD) was by 0.101 TRY or about 2.4% lower than the market rate. The exchange rate itself is not that bad but adding 4% commission makes it far less attractive as you are losing 6.4% of your money when exchanging CAD at Istanbul Airport.
The official CHF exchange rate at the time was 5.6458 TRY for 1 Swiss Franc, so the best rate offered at Istanbul Airport (5.5120 TRY/CHF) was by 0.1338 TRY or about 2.4% lower than the market rate. With the 4% commission totally you are losing 6.4% when exchanging your Swiss Franc at Istanbul Airport.
Unexpectedly, the most popular foreign currencies (US Dollar & Euro) at the banks of Istanbul Airport were exchanged at slightly worse rates than other currencies. However, in all cases the banks were offering better exchange rates than Global Exchange.
If you can survive without exchanging your currency at Istanbul Airport, don’t exchange your currency here. In the center of Istanbul you can find money changers who charge no commission and exchange USD and EUR to Turkish Lira at the rate with the exchange margin lower than 1%! For more details check Best Currency Exchange Rates in Istanbul Center.
The most convenient way for getting from New Istanbul Airport into the city is by private or shared transfer (for solo traveler). Book your Istanbul Airport private transfer or shared transfer online and you won't need to exchange your money at the airport. It will save you a lot!
If you like to use Hop-On Hop-Off buses for sightseeing, you can save up to 10% when booking your bus ticket online here: Istanbul Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour.