Apple Pay in Turkey – Your Full Guide 2023


Apple Pay in Turkey, your full guide covering it’s availability, alternatives, and future.

This in-depth article examines why Apple Pay has not yet arrived in Turkey, the key challenges holding back its launch, and potential timeline for availability based on insights from industry experts and authorities.

What Exactly is Apple Pay?

Apple Pay, for those who are unfamiliar, is a mobile wallet feature on Apple smartphones that enables contactless payments via Near Field Communication (NFC) technology. Instead of using physical credit/debit cards, consumers can just tap and pay on payment terminals.

Apple Pay works by keeping virtual versions of a user’s credit, debit, or prepaid cards in the iPhone’s Wallet app and Apple Watch. To make a payment, users must first authenticate their device using Face ID, Touch ID, or a passcode, and then hold their device near an NFC-enabled payment terminal.

Payment information is securely communicated to the retailer’s or merchant’s systems. Apple does not save any transaction information. Customers continue to earn rewards and advantages on their Apple Pay-enabled cards.

Is Apple Pay Currently Available in Turkey?

No, Apple Pay is currently unavailable in Turkey. Users cannot add their Turkish debit or credit cards issued by local banks to the Wallet app. Without card tokenization, Apple Pay cannot be activated.

However, Apple Pay can technically be used in Turkey through adding international cards that support it or using Apple devices brought in from abroad already configured with Apple Pay.

But for mainstream adoption, Apple needs to make deals with Turkish banks and integrators to allow adding domestic cards. This critical process is pending despite advanced contactless payment infrastructure existing in Turkey.

Why Has Apple Pay Not Launched in Turkey Yet?

Despite being a promising market, Apple has not been able to launch Apple Pay in Turkey yet. Let’s examine the key challenges:

1. Disagreement Over Transaction Fees

Apple charges card issuers a certain transaction fee whenever users pay via Apple Pay. Typically, it ranges from 0.15% to 0.5% of payment volume.

Turkish banks are reluctant to share transaction revenue with Apple. They find Apple’s commission model unfavorable for their margins. Negotiations have stalled due to this impasse.

2. Limitations of Turkish Payment Legislation

Turkey’s strict payment laws require card payments to be processed via approved gateways. Apple’s proprietary NFC solution may not be compliant yet.

Regulators need to assess and approve Apple Pay for it to satisfy legal payment processing and data sovereignty needs. This evaluation is still underway.

3. Security and Privacy Concerns

Turkey has stringent rules about payment data storage and usage. Apple may need to clarify how Turkish users’ card details are tokenized and processed securely without exposing personal data.

Addressing privacy concerns of regulators is vital for Apple Pay approval, and lack of clarity has impeded progress.

4. Profitability Concerns for Local Banks

Banks fear Apple Pay may jeopardize the profits they make from currency conversion markups on international card payments if Turkish customers increasingly use Apple Pay abroad.

Unless Apple Pay offers compelling value proposition, banks might prefer status quo over reduced card payment margins.

5. Limited NFC terminal penetration

Although major retailers accept contactless payments, overall NFC terminal penetration remains modest in Turkey compared to markets like UK and Australia.

Banks may be waiting for contactless payments to become more mainstream before supporting Apple Pay.

When Can We Expect Apple Pay to Launch in Turkey?

Predicting an exact launch date for Apple Pay in Turkey is difficult as talks between Apple and local stakeholders are confidential. However, based on industry dynamics, we can make informed hypotheses:

2023 Launch If Impasse Resolves

If the fee negotiation deadlock between Apple and banks is resolved, we can expect Apple Pay to get regulatory approvals by H2 2023. An aggressive launch target could be November 2023 timed with Black Friday shopping.

Banks like İşbank, DenizBank and Akbank are already strong supporters for NFC payments and can enable Apple Pay quickly. Garanti BBVA also recently signaled plans to strengthen contactless infrastructure, possibly preparing ground for Apple Pay debut.

Delay Till 2024 If Status Quo Continues

However, if stalemate persists between banks and Apple, launch timelines may extend to 2024 and beyond.

Changing market dynamics like new digital bank entry and increased fintech competition may compel incumbents to bring Apple Pay to retain customers. But this paradigm shift will require time.

Possibility of a ‘Lite’ Localized Version

For a faster launch, Apple can potentially customize a light version of Apple Pay for Turkey addressing data privacy needs better.

This can lead to an earlier localized rollout with Reduced feature set, but still satisfying consumer demand.

The above scenarios account for different launch possibilities based on Apple Pay progress in markets with similar dynamics like Germany and Brazil, which took time to resolve launch barriers.

How Can Apple Accelerate Apple Pay Adoption in Turkey?

For a smooth experience once Apple Pay debuts, user education will be vital along with smart marketing. Apple can drive rapid adoption by:

  • Launching Turkish language webpage explaining Apple Pay benefits, security features and eligible devices
  • Running NFC payment awareness campaigns targeting youth and digital natives
  • Tieing up with major banks, credit cards and merchants to provide Apple Pay offers for users
  • Using influencers and social media for viral effect amplifying Apple Pay buzz
  • Localizing Apple Pay ads highlighting convenience and security aspects
  • Conducting Apple Pay demonstrations across malls and campuses
  • Subsidizing small merchants to install NFC-enabled payment terminals

With the right prep, Turkey can emulate other recent Apple Pay markets like Czechia and Argentina that have seen swift uptake.

Which Banks are Expected to Support Apple Pay in Turkey?

Once Apple Pay finally launches in Turkey, below are some major banks likely to support first roll-out phase based on their strong digital focus:

IS Bank – Already has large contactless card base to leverage

Akbank – Strong digital banking channel suits Apple Pay customers

DenizBank – Their embedded card management system can aid Apple Pay integration

Garanti BBVA – Contactless infrastructure upgrades indicate readiness

Yapi Kredi – Tech-savvy clients match Apple Pay’s target users

QNB Finansbank – Youth segment focus aligns with Apple Pay appeal

Second wave banks can include state banks like Ziraat and Vakıfbank along with fast followers like FinansBank and ING Bank.

What Impact Can Apple Pay Have on Turkey’s Payments Industry?

Apple Pay has potential to positively transform payments in Turkey in many ways:

  • Boost contactless adoption: Apple’s brand appeal can accelerate consumer contactless usage
  • Increase fintech innovation: Banks and startups will be pushed to enhance digital capabilities
  • Reduce cash reliance: By improving payment experience, Apple Pay can drive cashless adoption
  • Enhance data analytics: Banks can gain customer insights from Apple Pay usage patterns
  • Support new business models: SMEs can use Apple Pay for delivery, e-commerce and proximity payments

Potential Apple Pay Partners in Turkey

For a successful rollout, Apple needs to partner with key stakeholders in Turkey’s payments ecosystem:

  • Banks: For card integration and marketing to customers
  • Processors: To enable seamless operation with networks like Troy and debit/credit card switches
  • POS terminal providers: To ensure wide NFC terminal acceptance network
  • Telcos: To bundle with 5G services enhancing digital lifestyle
  • Fintechs: To innovate value-added solutions around Apple Pay
  • Merchants: For promotion campaigns, offers and in-store advertising
  • Regulators: For policy support and cooperation for secure, competitive landscape

What are Apple Pay alternatives in Turkey?

There are a lot of alternatives of Apple Pay in Turkey such as Paycell, Papara and Tosla.


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