Paying while vacationing abroad: Turkey

Paying while vacationing abroad: Turkey

So, you’ve booked the hotel, got the tickets, and are ready to kick back, relax, and take in a few days of rest and relaxation in Turkey. Summer is coming up, and many tourists from around the world are gearing up for their visit back to the world-renowned city of Istanbul. As they come, they have also put together a budget for all those Turkish hamams, amazing eats, and souvenirs they are eager to procure. Luckily, Turkey has a robust payment infrastructure, wherein your Visa or MasterCard should be functional everywhere. Well, that’s the ideal scenario, but as tourists often find out, it does not fully reflect the reality. In this article, we will discuss a few factors about payment in general, and then payments in Turkey. In this series, we will look over multiple aspects of payment in Turkey. We will also discuss a few essential tools you will need for your visit in the future. 

First, debit and credit cards are a great way to stay safe during your trip to any foreign country. By using them, you are not in the danger of misplacing or losing your cash. As it is all connected to your bank back home and even if your card is lost, you may cancel it through most mobile banking applications these days. Almost all shops in Turkey poses a POS (Point of Sale) machine and they all accept Visa and MasterCard. There are even reports conducted that show Turkey is mentioned in the list of European countries with the most pickpockets. Regardless, cash is unsafe in most instances. However, there might be other factors you are not aware of. 

As an example, many tourists experience failed transactions when they try to purchase items abroad. This could be due to either a limitation your bank set, or due to a plethora of other reasons. You must remember that while your card is a Visa or MasterCard, it is being used outside of the network it was issued in and therefore transactions done abroad are internetwork transactions. But also, when it does work, the bank needs to convert your funds into local currency, which of course brings forth many fees. At this point, you might be wondering if there is a better way.

Local Turks do not experience the same hardships. Their cards are within the network and they can rest easy knowing that unless a POS machine malfunctions, their card is accepted everywhere. If you use a local debit card, not only have you saved yourself the hassle of logging cash around, you also gain access to offers and experiences usually reserved for the locals. This can include cashback and discounts at certain restaurants, hotel chains, and activity centers. 

This is where a product like TouristPay comes in. Its charm lies in its simplicity. You can simply apply for it at participating hotels, and receive the Tourist Package. You can get a transparent exchange rate and load your card (which is backed by a wallet application showing you all transactions) for all your payment needs during your stay. You may also reload it at the same transaction point. Inside this package, there are other beneficial items that will ease your journey. The package includes the TouristPay card, a sim card, and an IstanbulKart. With that last one being a key part of transporting around Istanbul using the metro, trains, tramway, busses, and so on. A sim card come in handy as well, allowing you to use the internet without the pesky roaming costs of your local telecommunications company.

The bottom line is that there are always better ways to pay. While a credit/debit card is much safer than cash, a local card is all that and more. Look over our website for more information and the next time you are vacationing in the beautiful city of Istanbul, make sure go pay attention to our stands in the hotel lobby. You will be glad you did