Turkish ATMs: A Cautionary Tale

Last Updated on April 30, 2019

A TTP user from Canada had a serious problem withdrawing money from ATMs (bancomats, cashpoints) in Turkey. Here’s his story:

“Like many others traveling in Turkey, we were used to having to walk from cash machine to cash machine looking for one that was willing to give out cash on our debit card. We were never sure why so many machines seemed were out of commission: out of cash? some sort of time zone problem with our Canadian bank? just cantankerous?

“Because we were used to machines not giving out cash, we were not alarmed when we got to Cappadocia and we encountered this problem at both of the cash machines in Göreme. We were annoyed when this went on for repeated attempts over several days, but we assumed we had successfully worked around it by going to a bank and taking out money on our Visa card.

“However, to our horror, we discovered upon our return to Canada that our Vancouver bank had deducted every one of the failed transactions from our bank account even though we had not received a cent of the money in Göreme. As a result, we were out $1400.

“We complained to our bank, and they explained that this sometimes happens because the Turkish cash machine times out before the tourist’s bank can answer back telling the cash machine to dole out the money. Meanwhile, the tourist’s bank has gone ahead and debited the account and wired the money to the Turkish bank.

“Our bank did eventually get our money back from the Turkish banks, but it took over three months.

“My suggestion for visitors to distant regions of Turkey: Be sure to take enough cash to pay for everything, especially as you can’t count on the smaller inns and restaurants accepting credit cards.

We did not encounter this problem at any of the Mediterranean or Aegean towns we visited.”

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