How to get the Istanbulkart card in Turkey

What is the Istanbulkart card? The Istanbulkart is a magnetic card used to pay throughout the public transport Istanbul. So, unless you prefer to walk the entire city or use a taxi to get around, read on to find out how to get the Istanbulkart and how to use it.

Istanbulkart card

What is the Istanbulkart card?

The card was introduced in 2009 and has progressively replaced the other forms of payment for the public transport service. It is an RFID card, it is the same size as a credit card so it fits perfectly in your wallet. It is a prepaid card and very easy to recharge.

Where to get the Istanbulkart card?

The easiest way to get the Instanbulkart card is at one of the machines to buy or recharge the card, they are found at the main metro, tram and airport stops, there are also kiosks where they are sold and recharged.


Bielomatik to buy Istanbulkart card

We bought it at the Atatürk airport metro station. To buy the Istanbulkart, you must pay a non-refundable fee of 10 lira (€1.65), 6 lira (€0.99) for the card and 4 lira (€0.66) for top-up.

How to recharge the Istanbulkart card?

To recharge the card, you can go to the kiosks that offer this service or use the recharge machines that you will find in the main tram and metro stations. The machines accept bills of 5, 10 and 20 liras, they are in several languages.

The recharge process is quick and easy. The card is left in a support, the money is inserted, the instructions of the machine are followed and mission accomplished. The first few times you do it you will get a little nervous, but it is very easy.

How to use the Istanbulkart card?

It is not necessary to put the card in contact with the reader, it is enough to bring it closer, in our case we did not even take it out of the wallet, bringing it closer is enough.

The reader beeps and the screen lights up showing the card balance. In case there are no funds on the card, the display will show Kontör Yetersiz.

Doubts with public transport Istanbul (Istanbulkart card)

  • Multiple Travelers:
    There is no need to purchase multiple cards as a single Istanbulkart can be used by up to 5 passengers. After paying the fare for the first passenger, you go through the barrier, wait a few seconds and swipe the card again for another passenger.
  • Multipurpose:
    The Istanbulkart allows you to pay in various types of transport: buses, subways, ferries, funiculars and trams. In most of these transports it is only possible to pay with this card.

Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q.):

How to activate the Istanbulkart?

From March 2, 2022, you no longer need to present the QR code from the entry form to Turkey to activate the Istanbulkart. Therefore, the card is activated directly (it is not necessary for transport network operators to activate it) when it is recharged at machines or kiosks.

How to pay the metro in Istanbul?

The Istanbulkart is sold at kiosks located near metro stations, docks and bus stations, or at the machines found at each stop. These machines accept bills of 5, 10 and 20 and payment by card. They also have the instructions in several languages, so you will not have problems.

How does Istanbulkart card work?

The Istanbulkart is a wallet card (it is recharged) and is used to use all the means of public transport in the city (buses, metro, trams, boats and the funicular). In the future, it may be used to pay for other things such as museums, etc., in the style of tourist cards that we all know.

How much is a taxi from Istanbul airport to the center?

The price of a taxi from Sabiha Gökçen Airport to the center of Istanbul costs between 130 and 160 Turkish Liras (21.41-26.35€)

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