Where to Buy Istanbul Card? Price, Top Up, Refund


What is Istanbulkart? How to Get One?

Where to Buy Istanbul Card? Istanbulkart Price, Recharge, Refund 2019

Akbil was the first electronic ticket Istanbulites used for public transport. This ticket saved the residents from the trouble of buying tickets or tokens at ticket counters and it turned out to be highly efficient.

Akbil evolved as the technology developed and it became small enough to fit in a wallet. Today, Istanbulkart is used instead of Akbil and the card looks no different from a credit card

Using Istanbulkart is so common for Istanbulites and there is no need to explain why. However, I believe it is a good idea to explain what Istanbulkart (Istanbul Card) is and how you can use it if you get one.

What is Istanbulkart? Where to Buy Istanbul Card?

Istanbulkart is simply a contactless smart card for fare payment of public transport means such as Metro, Tram, Funicular, and Ferry.

You can get an Istanbulkart at official counters nearby tram and metro stations or ferry piers or you can buy one at a newsstand. Don’t worry about finding a place to get an Istanbulkart, as there are plenty of them nearby important public transport hubs like Besiktas, Eminonu, Kabatas, or Kadikoy. If you happen to be at a touristic spot like Sultanahmet, you can get one at a stall nearby a tram or metro station.

Where to Buy Istanbulkart in Sultanahmet?

where to buy istanbulkart in sultanahmet

Buy Istanbulkart in Sultanahmet

This newsstand is located just a few minutes walk from Sultanahmet Tram Station. You need to walk up the hill in the direction of Grand Bazaar (by leaving the Hagia Sophia behind) then you’ll find it on your left-hand side.

Istanbul Metro Public Transportation Map to Use Istanbulkart

How Much is Istanbulkart? Istanbul Metro Travel Card 2019

Cost of an Istanbulkart is 7 Turkish Liras. However, it’s the deposit payment for the card. You need to top up in order to use the card. How much you need to top up is entirely up to passengers. However, for a visitor who wants to spend around 2 days in Istanbul, at least 20 Turkish Liras will be needed.

Apart from exceptions that I will mention later, Istanbulkart charges the same amount every time.  Any time you use the card, it charges 2,60 Turkish Liras. However, if the card is used frequently in a short period of time, a high amount of discount is applied.

In fact, this is the biggest advantage of using Istanbulkart as a discount is applied the second or the third time you use it respectively. Let’s have a look at how the discount is applied when you use Istanbulkart.

Istanbul Card Public Transport Pass for Ferry, Metro and Tram
Istanbulkart Travel Fares and Discounts

Where to Buy Istanbul Card? Price, Recharge, Refund 2019

Istanbulkart Travel Fares and Transfer Discount List 2019

  • Regular Fare – 2.60 TL
  • 1st Transfer – 1.85 TL
  • 2nd Transfer – 1,40 TL
  • 3rd Transfer –  0,90 TL

As you can see clearly, following the first use of the card, a discount is applied three times in a row and the price difference while transferring in a big city like Istanbul is too important to ignore.

Discount is applied if the card is used multiple times within 2 hours window.

Exceptions for Istanbulkard Public Transport Pass Charges

As I mentioned above, there are some exceptions to the transfer charge fares listed. The most noteworthy of these happens when passengers cross from one side of the city to the other side by Metrobus. This is because Metrobus saves passengers time thanks to the rapid transit route it operates on. Therefore, the price is 3,85 TL for a Metrobus ride.

A similar situation is notable for Private Public Buses (Ozel Halk Otobusu) that operate between the two sides of the city or Express Buses which take passengers to the airport. As these buses cover long distances and take toll roads or they take a bridge to cross the other side, passengers are required to pay a double-ticket price or another high amount.

A Single Istanbulkart is Enough for Public Transport in Istanbul

What makes Istanbulkart so useful is that it can be topped up easily and it is simple to use. Moreover, you can use it to pay for others (friends, family etc…). Therefore, if there are others who accompany you, you don’t have to buy two separate cards. As long as you have enough credits in your card, there is no limit to how many people can use it.

How to Return Istanbul Card (Istanbulkart) and Refund

The best thing about Istanbulkart for the tourists visiting Istanbul is that it is refundable. After your visit to the city, you can return your card at any Istanbulkart counter in the city and you can take your 7 Turkish Liras back with ease. You may also keep it for your friends or your next journey.

What is Istanbulkart? How to Use Istanbul Metro Card?
Where to Buy Istanbul Card? Istanbulkart Prices

Istanbulkart Transit Pass for Tourists – Where to Buy Istanbul Card?

How to Top Up (Recharge) Istanbulkart Metro Card?

In order to top up Istanbulkart, you can use the yellow machines at Metro and Tram stations or Ferry Piers. These machines enable passengers to top up only in 30 seconds.

  • What is Biletmatik?

Biletmatik is a yellow and black colored machines that look like an ATM machine, which you can see at some stations. If you place your Istanbulkart on the white space on the right side of the machine, you can top up automatically.

  • What is Jetonmatik?

Jetonmatik is a ticket barrier system where a token can also be used if you don’t have an Istanbulkart. This system is used at tram stations and ferry piers. For example, if you wish to go to Kadikoy from Karakoy or Eminonu and you don’t have an Istanbulkart, you can buy a single-use token instead.

Istanbulkart is it Worth the Money? Should I Really Get One?

If you won’t use public transport more than once or twice, buying and returning an Istanbulkart may be useless. Therefore, buying single-use tokens sounds more reasonable.

However, if you plan to stay in Istanbul for a few days, you are highly recommended to get an Istanbulkart to take advantage of discounts and save yourself from buying a token every time.

You Can Use Biletmatik to Recharge IstanbulKart Metro Card
How to Use Istanbulkart? Top Up or Recharge

Jetonmatik and Biletmatik at Tram Station

Istanbul Public Transportation Tips

In addition to all of these information above, instructions regarding how to go places from specific locations and travel routes can be found in more detailed posts such as How to Go from Sultanahmet and How to Go from Taksim.

Written by Serhat Engul

Where to buy Istanbul Card? Istanbulkart for Tourists 2019

  • Bilqees


    Do kids under 12 pay require a travel card as well?

    • Serhat Engül

      Public transportation is free for the kids under the age of 6. So the answer is yes! On the other hand, Istanbul Museums are free for the kids under the age of 12. That means they do not need Istanbul Museum Pass.

  • Barbara


    Hi, I thought that an Istanbulkart can only be used for five passengers maximum at one go. There is no limit now? Because i plan to use mine for my group of eight, and I thought I needed an additional Istanbulkart for the remaining three people. Thanks for your response!

    • Serhat Engül

      Hello Barbara, I have never heard about your argument. There is no limitation as far as I know. I checked from official site of IstanbulKart and there is nothing mentioned about maximum number of usage for multiple people. I also googled “8 people Istanbulkart limitation” in every logical keyword combination (in Turkish) and there has never been a limitation like that. It must be a misunderstanding.

  • Nitish


    Hi Serhat, you say that the deposit on the card is refundable (7L). However, what about any unused balance on the card itself? Is this refunded, too?
    Also, any idea if there are public transport options from the new Istanbul Airport yet? I will be travelling there with my family in early June 2019… less than two months from now.
    Thanks, in advance!

    • Serhat Engül

      Hi Nitish, you can refund the price of the card but not the unused balance. You need to empty it, before you return it. The New Istanbul Airport’s metro line is still under construction. You can use “Havaist” shuttle buses in order to get to the airport. You can pay the fare via Istanbulkart.

  • Zanna Unni


    Can you buy Istanbul card in Yenikapi ferry terminal?

    • Serhat Engül

      Sorry, I am not sure about it!

  • alexandrescu cezar


    multumesc pentru sfaturi !

    • Serhat Engül

      Cu plăcere. I think it means: you are welcome. 🙂

  • alexandrescu cezar


    cat costa HAVAIST dela aeroport pana in piata Taxim ?

  • Tajinder Dhillon


    Please let me know the fare of bus 16s or E-10 for Sabiha Gokcen Airport.

    • Serhat Engül

      Hello. It should be 2,60 Turkish Lira. It operates between the Sabiha Gokcen Airport and Metrobus Station (Uzuncayir).

  • Mehak Noor


    Hello serhat. I am planning to come to istanbul soon and guide is just Amazing. Thank you so much for sharing really informative and helpful stuff…
    Kindly guide me that how can i get cheap wifi or internet while traveling? As in i will be needed to see tracks and nearby things.

    • Serhat Engül

      Hi Mehak, thank you for the feedback. However I don’t know the answer of this question. I do not have up to date information about this issue.

  • Alan Drill


    First of all, i would like to thank you so much for this extra website.
    I have one question : I heard that you can get some credits back on your card if you use the metro (you can get it by checking the card when leaving the station in a yellow machine). Is it true ?

    • Serhat Engül

      Hi Alan! Yes, but it’s only for Marmaray. Marmaray runs between Gebze and Halkali. Gebze is out of Istanbul on the Asian Side, Halkali is also far end in the European Side. Marmaray charges much more than other vehicles. On the other hand, you can get some refund if you use it for a shorter ride. For example if you get on the Marmaray from Sirkeci (nearest stop to Sultanahmet Old City), it charges 5.20 Turkish Lira. Next stop is Uskudar on the Asian Side, if you leave the Marmaray there, you get 2.60 TL back through those refund machines. It’s not the same yellow machine where you top up your Istanbulkart. It’s a smaller device which can be found in Marmaray Stations.

  • Tanya



    Please may I confirm with you the maximum amount of passengers allowed to use 1 IstanbulKart ?

    Many thanks

    • Serhat Engül

      Hi Tanya, I don’t think there is any limitation. You can use it as many times as needed, provided that there is enough money in it.

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