Jan 27, 2022

Country Spotlight: Turkey

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Stats on financial exclusion in Turkey

In the past 20 years, the banking system in Turkey flourished in relation to other European countries, financing remarkable growth.

However, in August 2018, the country experienced an economic crisis, suffering a currency devaluation and an increase in delinquency, which directly affected the banking sector and the number of offered loans. For this reason, there is some concern about the health of today's traditional financial system.

Market Size

In 2021 Turkey reached a market size of 85 million people, but more than 30% of Turkey's population remains unbanked.

The inclusion of this group (mostly made up of traders, farmers and especially women) in the economy is of great importance for the sustainable development of Turkey.

Thanks to the high mobile penetration and the digital transformation of companies, financial inclusion awareness is being raised, and the gap of those unable to access credit is diminishing.

Source: Merchant Machine, 2021

How COVID helped drive mobile phone penetration. How does this help with financial inclusion?

In the last two years, the increase in Internet use is closely related to the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced many people to stay at home.

In 2021, the number of internet users in Turkey increased by 6% reaching 65.8 million, that is 77% of the population, and the average time spent on the Internet increased by 29 minutes (7h 57m, vs 7h 29m in 2020).  94.5% of users accessing the internet do so through their smartphones.

Turkey’s population is technology driven with the widespread use of smartphones and fast adaptation to new technologies.

This is why the Turkish fintech sector has the characteristics to become a successful market for fintech companies.


We Are Social report 2021 - Hootsuite

Alternative lending in Turkey 

There are large numbers of fintechs offering financing in Turkey. They primarily operate in domains such as credit scoring, credit consolidation and alternative lending. They offer store-branded credit cards to unbanked segments, credit scoring, providing alternative technology solutions such as blockchain, big data and artificial intelligence, and also offer financial management platforms including easy credit scoring and e-wallet platforms to individuals and SMEs. 

According to European Central Bank statistics: within Europe, Turkey ranks second only to the United Kingdom in terms of credit and debit card use.  Digital access to the banking system is also on the rise. The number of customers accessing banking services through digital channels increased by 8.5 per cent to 38 million in the year leading up to June 2017.

While the fintech sector in Turkey has shown impressive growth, future growth is partly dependent upon the successful collaboration with traditional banks to increase outreach. According to the report published by the Presidential Finance Office, in 2021 there are nearly 70.3 million active retail digital banking users in Turkey, 1.7 million POS terminals, 52,000 ATMs, 82.8 million credit cards and 54.4 million prepaid cards. Besides, the contactless payment rate has increased with the pandemic, reaching 48%. 

That said, traditional banks acknowledge the potential role of fintechs and are willing to cooperate to provide efficient and innovative solutions to their customers.  

Turkey is growing as a fintech hub 

The rapid increase in Internet usage and the use of mobile applications are the main drivers behind the fintech hype. 

In recent years, the Turkish fintech sector has established itself as a global leader. In 2021, the fintech ecosystem in Turkey continued to develop with more than $64 million new investments and a total of 520 active fintech companies.

The fintech startups ecosystem is divided amongst the following sectors: payments, banking, finance, corporate finance, asset management, corporate finance, personal finance management, insurance, crowdfunding, investment, big data, hubs, blockchain, and crypto coins.

According to the Presidential Finance Office, there are plans to publish a National Fintech Strategy Document for the country to continue growing between 2022 and 2025. 

The goal is to be a regional fintech centre. 

Source: “The State of Fintech Ecosystem in Türkiye 2021" prepared under the coordination of Finance Office of Presidency of the Republic of Türkiye in partnership with

What do these stats mean for you?

Credolab offers a digital scoring solution based on evidence in order to predict consumers behaviour, speed up the credit processing operations, and improve their credit risk management.

With alternative data and machine learning, lenders can calculate the credit scores based on people’s mobile and web behavioural data— making a lending decision even when they don’t have a credit history and generating a positive impact in the Turkish financial market.