My name is Jennifer and I'm from the USA --- I was wondering what banks are fairly common in the Netherlands, mainly in Amsterdam where I am planning on visiting and spending most of my time. Does anyone know of banks there that are also in the USA? Also--- in dealing with money there, how is best to pay? I've heard about travelers checks, but are they what I need to be using or what other forms would be better?
There's a citibank there but I don't think you'll find any others that you would in the states, maybe HSBC. To be honest though it doesn't really matter which banks are there as you're unlikely to need your local bank. Just take a visa/mastercard or cirrus/plus cash/debit card and a few travellers cheques and you'll be fine.
The most familiar bank here will be the ABN Amro, which is the parent company of the LaSalle bank, and as such has the same logo. Other common ones are the Postbank, Rabobank, ING and Fortis. Not that any of that will matter to you - banks are always set up per country, and there'd be no benefits to withdrawing from your 'own' bank in a different country - you have to pay extra charges with a withdrawal when abroad anyway, but at the same time it'll cost you exactly the same, no matter which bank you use.
Probably the most common way of paying here in the Netherlands is directly with debit card (as common as paying with creditcard is in the USA), but your debit card wouldn't work for that. So, withdraw cash at an ATM, and pay with that. Travellers cheques are an alternative way of bringing money across, and might be good for your own peace of mind, but I personally wouldn't bother with them.
I second that about TCs. Cashing them becomes increasingly difficult, while the ATM system is fast and very reliable.
Also, I'd like to take the opportunity to urge you to spend time away from Amsterdam. The Netherlands are small, and hence suitable for daytrips; even Maastricht (south) or Groningen (north), that most Dutch consider to be far from Amsterdam, are only a 2,5 hour train journey.
My boyfriend is from the Neitherlands, and he says the following.
ABN/AMRO are big in the States, too, I think.
Travellers cheques are fine and credit card or bank card* should get money, too. Mind the fees though.
- best check with your bank if your card is 'compatible' with European money machines.