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Local credit card for foreign residents? (Istanbul)

We went to Garanti Bank last week to open a local bank account (with work permit, residency blue book and “taxpayer id”) and that went smoothly.

However, Garanti told us that it is *virtually impossible* for them to issue foreign residents a credit card. This has never been an issue in the other countries we lived in, so we’re a bit perplexed by the policy.

Has any one had luck getting a local credit card? If so, which bank & what did you need to provide?

PS: The reason we’d like a local credit card is because our U.S.-based credit cards incur a “foreign transaction fee” (in addition to the lousy exchange rates) on every purchase made outside of the States – those can quickly add up, given we’ll be here for a few years.

Thanks,
Noma.

Istanbul Forum