Istanbulkart; It’s a time saving, budget friendly, a must have tourist pass of Istanbul. Those who live and work in Istanbul will always have it in their pockets. It’s an easy to use contactless card.
In this post, you will get detailed and useful information about where to buy Istanbulkart (in the city or at the airports). How to buy Istanbulkart without any help? How to top-up Istanbul Card? What are the travel fares? How many people can use it? Does each person need Istanbulkart? and much more.
*Please note that wearing mask is a mandatory in Public buses now, due to Covid-19 precautions. You can also check out pcr test in Istanbul page for more information about travel restrictions in Turkey
Where to Buy Istanbulkart ?
As every budget traveler or as someone who wants to explore deeper of the city and the culture, you certainly will want to travel by public transportation and you need an Istanbul Metro Card for that.
In order to do that, you definitely need one Istanbulkart when you arrive at one of the Istanbul airports. There is no other options like paying cash or buying one pass tickets (except some routes).
Where to Buy Istanbulkart at Istanbul Airport?
You can buy your Istanbulkart from one of the 24 ticket machines so called Biletmatik on the -2nd (minus second) floor (it’s also called public transportation arrival floor).
You can also buy it from the ticket offices of Havaist Airport Shuttle Bus Station which is located on the same floor.
Here how a biletmatiks looks like;
Important notice! : Ataturk airport is no longer operating so please check our Istanbul new airport guide.
Where to Buy Istanbulkart at Sabiha Gokcen Airport?
You can find the kart ( Istanbul transfer card ) in the small kiosk across the street from the exit of the arrival terminal. You can also buy it from IETT’s (Istanbul electric tramway and tunnel establishments) Supervision booth at the public bus station after you go out of the terminal if you will choose the public bus option to reach your destination.
Where to Buy It in the City Center?
You can find Istanbul kart Biletmatiks almost at every metro, tram, Metrobus and ferry station. Besides that, you can also buy at every kiosk or store that is located near the stations.
Look for the sign with “Istanbul kart” or “Akbil”! Previsously it was called “Akbil” in Istanbul. Some shops still use Akbil signs on the kiosks.
Which Istanbulkart to Buy ?
There are 4 main Istanbulkart types to buy. You need the one called Anonim Istanbul kart which looks like this;
You can see other 3 types of Istanbul kart below which won’t be sold to you unless you are studying in one of the Turkish Universities (student card) or Turkish Citizen ( Monthly Card or abonnement) or over 65 years old Turkish Citizen (Free Pass).
How Much Does it Cost?
The card itself costs 6 Turkish Liras. When you buy it from the Biletmatik, it requires 10 Liras or more. It comes with 4 Liras loaded on it (6 for the card and the rest of 4 Liras will be topped up on the card) .
Once you get your Istanbul kart from the machine (Biletmatik), you need scan your Istanbul kart again but this time to top-up money. It’s a simple step. Scan your card, chose one of the language options, and insert paper bill. That’s it!
Let me remind you again that you should not top-up more than you need, since the refund process will be extremely difficult for you.
Where Can You Use Istanbulkart ?
You can use it in every public transportation vehicles, bus, nostalgic tram ( in Taksim), Metrobus, tunnel, metro, tram, funicular, cable car, IDO ( ferry), City lines (ferry), Turyol (Bosphorus cruise), Dentur (Bosphorus cruise), TCDD ( railways) and HAVABUS Bus from Sabiha Gokcen Airport and most importantly in Havaist Bus from Istanbul’s New Airport.
You can check here for more detailed information about Havaist Shuttle Bus Schedules and Prices from Istanbul New Airport.
And you can also check for HAVABUS Buses from Sabiha Gokcen Airport.
In the image below you can find the list of all fares. As you can see, if you buy one pass ticket it costs 7 Liras and it’s not easy to find it at every station. If you use Istanbulkart, it costs 3.50 TRL and you can have additional discount if you interchange.
For example, If you need to use T1 Tram and then to F1 Funicular in order to go to Taksim Square, it will cost you 6 Turkish Liras instead of 7.
How Many People Can Use It? Does Everyone Need to Buy?
Istanbulkart can be used by up to 5 people. But keep that in mind that only first person will travel discounted in case of
interchanging to other transportation units.
Can I Return It and Get a Refund?
When you buy Istanbulkart you will be paying 6 TRL which is not refundable .
But if you still have some balance left on the card, you can get refund but it’s a very long process. You need to fill the refund form on their website or you need to go to one of the main office of IETT and wait until they complete necessary inspection (that’s how their website says).
They will ask for your IBAN number and refund you in 5 working days.
For that reason, I recommend you to top-up small amount each time and pass it or sell it to the next traveler that you met in the hotel. Or reception does it for you. Or you just take it home with you. Istanbulkart expires in 3 years unless you top-up. You can check Municipality’s website for more information about Istanbul kart refund.
Is There a Monthly Pass?
Yes, there is a monthly pass and it’s called Mavikart ( Blue card ). It’s valid for 30 days or and costs 275 Turkish Liras full fare or 50 Turkish Liras for Students.
But as i informed previously, that’s a personalized card (they ask for some documents and registration papers) and it’s for Turkish citizens.
One Pass Tickets
Here is the prices of the OnePass and other Pass options;
One Pass (Also called BİRgeç) : 7 Liras – Two Pass : 11 Liras – Three Pass : 15 Liras – Five Pass : 23 Liras – Ten Pass : 40 Liras
All the children under 6 years old (6 included) are free to travel in all public transportation vehicles. Children above this age should get the Student Card for transportation.
There is an app which is called istanbulkart and it belongs to municipality. You can download the app and top-up by using credit cards. In order to that, you need a mobile phone that is NFC enabled.
However, I wouldn’t really recommend this application since it’s working only with the credit cards of Turkish Banks (according to the information on their website) and there are hundreds of people who are having difficulties with the application.
If the municipality improves the application, we will definitely share the information.
Hopefully, these information will be useful for the travelers who will visit Istanbul & Turkey soon.