Best places to buy Turkish lira in the USA

If you have a trip to Türkiye planned, you’ll need to work out the best way to get Turkish lira to pay for things while you’re there. While carrying TRY cash is a popular option, you might find using a travel card is cheaper and more convenient - and more secure than carrying a lot of cash too.

Buy Turkish lira

Where to buy Turkish lira in the US

When it comes to getting Turkish lira  for your trip, you’ve got several different options, including taking cash in USD to exchange, converting to TRY online before you travel or at the airport, or picking up a travel money card for convenient spending and cash withdrawals in Turkish lira on arrival in Türkiye. 

Each option has its own features, fees, pros and cons. Which is best for you will depend a lot on your personal preferences - this guide will help you pick the right one based on convenience, cost, availability and more.

Turkish lira travel money card

Travel money cards and international prepaid debit cards are a safe and convenient way to spend in Turkish lira - and if you pick the right one they could help you save on currency conversion, too. Top up your card balance in dollars and convert those dollars to TRY to spend in stores and restaurants, or withdraw cash from ATMs when you need it. Easy.

Learn more about the best Turkish lira cards in the US. Let's look at Wise card and Revolut card more in detail:

Wise debit card

With the Wise travel money card you’ll get the mid-market exchange rate whenever you need to switch from dollars to TRY. It’s free to spend Turkish lira when you have enough balance in your Wise account - or if you’d prefer, just leave your money in dollars and let your Wise card do the conversion when you make a purchase, with the mid-market exchange rate and low fees. You can also withdraw liras from an ATM whenever you need them - giving you the safety of spending with a card, and the convenience of cash.

It’s free to open a Wise account, with a one time fee of 9 USD for the Wise debit card. Switching from one currency to another costs from 0.43% with Wise - with the mid-market exchange rate, so you can see exactly what you’re spending, and how much your travel money is costing you.

You're not limited to buying and holding Turkish lira with Wise; you can hold balances in 40+ currencies, plus you can get local bank details to receive payments conveniently to Wise in a selection of global currencies.

Want to learn more? Click here to read Wise card review

Revolut debit card

Open a Revolut account online and order your travel money card, to start spending in 150+ countries. You’ll be able to choose from a Standard account which has no monthly fee to pay, or upgrade to an account with a monthly fee which also unlocks extra perks and benefits. All account tiers offer some no-fee currency conversion, and some no-fee international ATM withdrawals, with fair usage fees applied once your account plan allowances run out.

Revolut accounts can be used to hold and exchange 25+ currencies and depending on which plan you pick you could also get handy benefits like some travel insurance and airport lounge access, to make your trip more comfortable.

Buy TRY online

Often this is one of the best ways to buy Turkish lira, based on convenience and cost. You won’t even need to leave home to order your money - and the dollar to Turkish lira exchange rate might be better online, to give you more Turkish lira for your US dollars. You can reserve your order, pick it up in a store or even have it delivered to your door, depending on which provider you pick.

If you’d prefer to use a travel money card, you can also get that set up online. Open a digital multi-currency account with a provider like Wise or Revolut, get your card, and simply make an ATM withdrawal once you arrive in Turkey to get your TRY cash. That means you don’t need to collect your travel money in advance, making the process fast and easy.

Go to WiseGo to Revolut

Want to learn more? Read Wise account review and Revolut review

Currency Exchange International (CXI)

Currency Exchange International specializes in providing foreign currency exchange at great rates with superior customer service. CXI owns and operates 30+ of its own branch locations across the United States, as well as working through affiliates to extend branch services - plus you can order foreign currency online through its website.

Buying liras online for home delivery is easy with CXI. Select from more than 90 foreign currencies and receive it as soon as the next day. Available in most areas.

Want to learn more? Click here to read CXI review

Bank

You can buy TRY with dollars at major banks like Wells Fargo and Bank of America. You will need to be a bank customer already and can order Turkish lira online easily. Banks do offer a wide range of currencies that you can buy but make sure you spend your foreign currency overseas because you might not be able to convert it back to dollars when you get back home.

In some cases, you can choose to receive your order in small, large or mixed denominations but it is subject to availability. Currency exchange services offered by the bank might not offer the best TRY to US dollar rates but they are convenient, particularly if you are an existing customer.

When you buy Turkish lira from the bank you can pay with credit card, cash or from one of your bank accounts.

Foreign Currency Exchange

Money changers are another option to buy Turkish lira in cash. However, it can be hard to find them outside of the city and they may not stock less common currencies.

Often the exchange rates are on a board facing the front of the shop, so finding the USD to  TRY rate is easy. Ask what transaction fees they charge for the foreign exchange and if it costs more to pay with credit cards - and bear in mind that the exchange rate you get is likely to include a markup, which is a fee added onto the mid-market rate.

It’s good to know that you’ll often find that the exchange rates are better in major cities where competition drives down overall cost - that can make it well worth going to a city center if you're exchanging high value amounts.

Airport

Yes, you can buy currency at the airport. But that doesn't mean you should. While it's convenient, it's also often very expensive, which can mean that you receive less TRY for your USD at the airport. Most airport currency exchange services accept cash and credit cards.

Ordering your Turkish lira online and picking it up at the airport can be cheaper than buying TRY on the spot when you arrive for your flight. However, because of the costs overall, if you've run out of time before your trip, it might be better to buy your Turkish lira when you get to your destination, or use your cards instead, to make an ATM withdrawal on arrival in Turkey.

What is the cheapest way to buy Turkish lira in the US?

The cheapest way to buy Turkish lira in the US is usually online. You’ll have a couple of options, depending on what suits your needs:

  • Choose a specialist provider which has multi-currency accounts to support international spending - like Wise or Revolut

  • Use an online money exchange service, and collect your foreign cash or have it delivered to you - in this case, you may pay an exchange rate markup, which is an extra fee

Your other alternatives include getting your cash at your bank, or at the airport. Banks may not have any conversion fee advertised, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the service is actually free. The costs are often simply added into the exchange rate used for conversion, which can make them harder to spot.

Of course, you also have the option to buy Turkish lira at the airport. However, this can be very expensive compared to buying your Turkish lira online before you head off, simply because airport exchange services know you have no other options until you get to your destination. That can mean high commission fees and very poor foreign exchange rates.

Go to WiseGo to Revolut

How to get Turkish lira in the US

There are a few different ways to get Turkish lira in the US, so you can pick the method that suits you best. Each service will have its own process, so whichever way you choose, you’ll want to check directly with the provider you choose to make sure you know exactly what’s required to get your TRY conveniently and without unnecessary delays.

Usually if you plan to get foreign currency cash through a bank or a specialist travel money service, you’ll need to visit a branch or agent location, and take along your USD in cash, or a card to pay for your Turkish lira. Assuming the bank or currency exchange office you visit has enough TRY in stock, you’ll be able to take away your travel money instantly.

However, picking up your Turkish lira in person is not necessarily the most convenient choice. In many cases, you’ll also have the option to arrange your TRY online, which means you can get everything organised without needing to take extra time out of your day to go to the bank.

How to buy Turkish lira online

Often buying foreign currency online is more convenient than visiting a branch in person. One great option is to sign up for a multi-currency account with a linked card which lets you manage your account digitally and make cash withdrawals. Specialist non-bank providers like Wise and Revolut both offer convenient ways to hold, exchange and spend in a broad selection of foreign currencies, with easy to manage accounts you can access from your phone.

To buy Turkish lira online with a specialist provider that offers multi-currency accounts or travel cards, you’ll usually need to:

  • Head to the provider’s website or download their app

  • Hit Sign Up, add your personal details and create a password

  • Get verified by uploading images of your ID documents - you might also need a proof of address

  • Add some money to your account in USD, for spending later

Depending on the provider you pick, you can order a linked international debit card to spend while you’re away, or you can convert to the currency you need to make online payments. Some providers can issue you a virtual card instantly for online spending, and once you have your physical card you can withdraw cash as you travel for convenience.

Go to WiseGo to Revolut

If you’re keen to have travel money in your pocket before you leave the US, you can also choose to order cash in Turkish lira online and either collect it or have it delivered to your home address. That can be a convenient option, and gives you the reassurance that you’ll have access to TRY even before you travel.

To buy Turkish lira for cash spending with an online money exchange service, you’ll usually need to:

  • Visit the provider’s website, and place an order for your currency

  • Decide if you want to have your money delivered, or collect your cash at an agent location

  • Make payment for your foreign currency in USD

  • When you collect your cash, or when it’s delivered you’ll need to show a valid ID document

Where can I exchange USD to TRY

Your options to exchange USD to TRY broadly split into two categories: ways to get Turkish lira online, and ways to get Turkish lira through a physical location.

Online, you can order foreign currency cash to collect or for delivery through a specialist service or your bank. Or you could open a multi-currency account with a specialist service like Wise or Revolut, and order a travel money card you can use to spend and make withdrawals in Turkish lira and in many other supported currencies, too.

If you’d rather set up your travel money in person you can do so by visiting a currency exchange store or bank and paying for your Turkish lira in cash or with a card. You can also exchange money at the airport before you leave the US - but this often costs more overall, so do check the exchange rates available before you get started.

Go to WiseGo to Revolut

Where can I get the best exchange rate for Turkish lira?

There’s no single best provider when it comes to exchange rates. Different services set their own rates which may vary based on the currency, the amount you want to exchange, how you want to pay, and whether you’re exchanging money in a digital account or for physical cash.

Generally, looking for a service which has transparent exchange rates which are the same as - or close to - the mid-market exchange rates is a good idea. You can compare a few live exchange rates for popular providers using the Exiap tools, to see which works best based on the specific transaction you want to make.

Let’s take a look at the exchange rates you might be able to find through some different exchange services:

  • Wise exchange rate: mid-market exchange rates with transparent conversion fees split out, from 0.43%

  • Revolut exchange rate: all accounts have some currency conversion which uses the mid-market rate - fair usage fees apply once you’ve exhausted your plan limits

  • Currency exchange international: exchange rates are likely to include a markup, but tellers in physical locations may offer to match or beat other local bank and airport exchange rates if you ask

  • Banks: exchange rates usually include a variable markup which is added on to the mid-market exchange rate

  • Currency exchange offices: exchange rates usually include a markup which is added on to the mid-market exchange rate - the amount of markup used does vary, so looking for a service in a city center where providers compete may mean you get a better rate

  • Airports: exchange rates usually include a markup which is added on to the mid-market exchange rate - because of a lack of competition this can be a pretty high fee

Conclusion: Best ways to buy Turkish lira in the US

The good news is that you have several different options to buy Turkish lira in the US - which means that with a bit of research you’ll find the right one for your specific needs.

Generally your options will include heading to a physical location - like your bank or a currency exchange store - to buy your TRY cash; or arranging your exchange online. Ordering your foreign currency online, or opening a multi-currency account and getting a linked debit card for spending in Turkish lira means you can get everything organized without even needing to leave home. You may also get better exchange rates and lower overall costs, depending on which service you select.

Check out Wise and Revolut as good options for convenient spending in Turkish lira, with fair exchange rates and low overall fees. With Wise you can open a free online account to hold and exchange 40+ currencies, and spend with your card in 150+ countries. All currency exchange uses the mid-market exchange rate with fees from just 0.43%.

Revolut lets you hold and exchange 25+ popular currencies - and you can pick the account tier which meets your needs, depending on how often you’ll transact and which features you’ll use. All accounts offer some currency exchange which uses the mid-market exchange rate, and some no-fee ATM withdrawals, with fair usage fees once you exhaust your specific plan limits.

Go to WiseGo to Revolut

 

How to buy Turkish lira FAQs

Is it cheaper to buy Turkish lira in the US or in Turkey?

Whether it’s cheaper to buy Turkish lira at home or once you arrive in Türkiye depends a lot on the exchange rates you’re able to find online or in physical exchange stores locally. As an alternative, travel money cards from providers like Wise and Revolut give the convenience of using a card with the flexibility of being able to withdraw cash at an ATM in Türkiye with good exchange rates and low fees, making them a great choice for many travelers.

Should I get Turkish lira before going to Turkey?

Getting your travel money in advance means you’ll save time once you’re on your trip, but you’ll need to shop around to get a good deal. Take a look at options like Wise and Revolut which offer convenient and flexible digital accounts you can use to hold and spend in Turkish lira conveniently.

What is the best way to get Turkish lira for travel?

There’s no single best way to get your Turkish lira for your trip. Compare a few services using the handy Exiap tools, including physical exchange locations and convenient digital alternatives, like Wise and Revolut, to find the best option for your needs.

How long does it take to get Turkish lira?

If you’re ordering cash in Turkish lira you may be able to collect it instantly or on the same day, depending on the provider you pick. Home delivery of currency usually takes a few days. Getting a travel money card from a service like Wise or Revolut allows you to add USD instantly, and then spend or make withdrawals in cash in TRY as soon as you arrive, so you can access Turkish lira right away.

How to get the best exchange rate for Turkish lira?

You’ll need to shop around to get the best exchange rate for Turkish lira, including physical locations and banks, and digital and online services like Wise and Revolut. The good news is that Exiap has lots of handy comparison tools to let you see live exchange rates, fees and more. Use these to kickstart your research and get the best deal for your specific needs.

 

Claire Millard
Fintech Content Writer
Claire Millard is a content and copywriter with a specialty in international finance. Her work has featured in The Times and The Telegraph, as well as industry magazines and leading personal finance blogs.
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Seyma Mektepli
Editor-in-chief
Seyma is an experienced content writer and editor-in-chief at Exiap, delivering informative articles on personal finance, and money transfers.
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Last updated
November 23rd, 2023