Top 3 best banks in Istanbul

banks in Istanbul

The intricacies of banking permeate daily existence regardless of one’s station or whereabouts, providing indelible benefits for controlling one’s monetary affairs. Turkish banking has undergone significant metamorphosis and regulatory interventions over the past decade, enabling unprecedented expansion. Such is the degree of transformation that offshore investors can now create bank accounts in Turkey without a direct link to the country. This article endeavors to provide a comprehensive list of the top banks in Turkey, amenable to both domestic inhabitants and international travelers for opening a bank account. It is worth noting that no specific hierarchy or sequence underlies the selection of the banks.

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Top 3 best banks in Istanbul

Ziraat Bankası 

Ziraat Bankas is a public bank that was established in 1863 by Mehmet Sabit Saralu. Its primary business is the provision of banking services, in addition to the sale of insurance policies (much like any other type of institutional bank). Ziraat Bankas has 1,773 branches in Turkey as of 2018, with 268 of them branches located in only Istanbul alone. The company’s headquarters are located in Ankara. According to the information provided on its website, the company had a total of 24.647 workers as of 2018 and had a revenue of 24 billion Turkish Lira in that same year. 

Garanti BBVA 

Garanti BBVA is a Turkish bank known for its innovation and client satisfaction. They include internet banking, mobile banking apps, and a variety of credit cards, including foreign travel alternatives. Garanti BBVA also provides investing and wealth management services to customers who want to increase the value of their investments. 

Garanti bank was founded in 1946 and has its headquarters in Istanbul. Garanti bank had 49.85% of its share hold by the Spanish bank Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (known as BBVA). Their partnership has been agreed upon in 2015. According to their website, Garanti BBVA has 872 in Turkey, 282 of them are located in Istanbul. Their revenue in 2020 represented 42.3 billion Turkish Lira. Their number of employees was 18.636 in 2020. 


Although AKBank was established in Adana in 1948, the company’s headquarters are currently situated in Istanbul. Citigroup and AKBank entered into a strategic collaboration in 2007, and as part of that deal, Citigroup purchased 20% of AKBank’s shares. The cooperation was ended in 2007. According to the information provided on their website, AKBank has 716 locations around Turkey, with 8 of them branches being in Istanbul. The bank’s income in 2019 was approximately 21 billion Turkish Lira. As of the year 2019, they have a total of 2,000 employees. Akbank is one of Turkey’s major private banks, offering a variety of services such as internet banking, mobile banking, and credit cards. They are well-known for providing exceptional customer service, and have branches across Istanbul and the rest of the nation. Customers may also choose from a number of savings and investment alternatives at Akbank. 

Choosing a Bank in Istanbul 

Istanbul is a bustling city with a diverse atmosphere, home to a multitude of financial institutions catering to various needs. With so many options available, choosing the right bank can be a daunting task. To make an informed decision, it is crucial to consider several factors. 

  • Location: First and foremost, location plays a critical role. Opt for a bank with branches or ATMs located near your place of residence or workplace for added convenience. This not only saves time but also reduces the hassle of traveling to distant locations for financial transactions. 
  • Fees: Next, compare fees and charges of different banks. This includes monthly account maintenance costs, ATM fees, and transaction fees. Take note of hidden fees that may not be immediately apparent and factor them into your decision-making process. 
  • Services: Another important consideration is the range of services provided by the bank. Look for financial institutions that offer the essential services you require, such as wire transfers, electronic bill pay, and access to foreign currency. Determine if the bank’s services align with your financial goals and needs. 
  • Customer service: Customer service is another critical factor to consider. Evaluate the quality of customer service provided by the bank, including response times, accessibility, and helpfulness. A bank with excellent customer service can be a significant advantage in resolving issues and handling transactions efficiently. 
  • Security: It is advisable to select a financial institution that implements robust security protocols to safeguard both your funds and sensitive personal data. 
  • Accessibility: Consider the bank’s location and accessibility. Look for banks with branches or ATMs located near your home, workplace, or other areas you frequent. 
  • Technology and Innovation: Look for banks that invest in technology and innovation to provide better services to their customers. Consider whether the bank offers online banking, mobile apps, or other digital services. 

By considering these factors, you can choose a bank that meets your needs and provides the best services and value for your money. It’s important to do your own research and shop around to find the best bank for you. 

FAQs in choosing a bank in Istanbul 

Q: How do I find the best bank in Istanbul? 

A: Start by doing some research online and checking reviews or recommendations from friends and family. Look for banks that offer the services you need and have a good reputation for reliability and customer service. Compare fees and charges, accessibility, and security features to find the best fit for your needs. 

Q: What types of banks are available in Istanbul? 

A: Istanbul has a range of banks to choose from, including public banks, private banks, foreign banks, and Islamic banks. Some banks also offer online banking services or specialize in specific areas, such as foreign currency exchange. 

Q: What fees should I look out for when choosing a bank in Istanbul? 

A: Be sure to compare fees for account maintenance, ATM usage, transaction fees, foreign currency exchange, and other charges. Look for banks that offer competitive rates and don’t charge excessive fees. 

Q: Can I open a bank account in Istanbul as a foreigner? 

A: Yes, foreigners are allowed to open bank accounts in Istanbul. You will need to provide identification and may need to show proof of residence or income, depending on the bank’s requirements. 

Q: How can I access my bank account in Istanbul while traveling abroad? 

A: Many banks in Istanbul offer online banking services and mobile apps, which allow you to access your account from anywhere in the world. Some banks may also have partnerships with other international banks to make it easier to access your money while traveling. 

Q: How do I know if a bank in Istanbul is safe and secure? 

A: Look for banks with strong security measures in place, such as encryption, fraud protection, and secure online banking services. Check the bank’s reputation and history, and read reviews or ask for recommendations from trusted sources. 


The process of selecting a financial institution in Istanbul may seem to be a challenging undertaking. By conducting extensive research and undergoing thorough evaluation, an individual can select a financial establishment that caters to their requirements and assists them in efficiently handling their finances. 

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