Wow, what a complex question!
First, I would learn about credit unions, and decide if I want a bank account or credit union account. I am pretty biased, as I have been with a credit union forever ( 40 yrs), and have been pretty happy with them. That does not mean banks are bad!
Features I would look for, in no particular order:
- interest rates charged for loans, and paid for deposits. Compare to others. Rates should be on line.
- Full service: do they handle car loans, student loans, housing loans, credit cards?
- Overdraft protection: if you manage to overspend on your account, will they return the check as unpayable, or, if you have funds in savings, will they transfer the money to cover the check? What if you don't have enough? Will they cover you anyway? How much will they charge for this extra convenience? Don't be embarrassed to ask this question. It's not that you are planning on needing this feature, however, mistakes happen to the best of us!!
- Do they have an automatic bill payment feature so you can set your other bills up to be paid automatically, and, if so, is there a charge?
- Limits on number of transfers between accounts, and any other features.
Beyond that, you want to think about who, if anyone, you want to allow to have access to your account, and under what conditions. If you were to get incapacitated, say, medically, or be stranded halfway across the country, is there someone you trust to access your account in those situations? Do you also trust them to NOT go snooping into your affairs just because they can if they want to?
When you open an account, they want proof of identification and ask some pretty strange questions. They will want to know what to do with your account in the event of your death. Not something most young folks think about, I know! Something to think about!
It's much more difficult to handle finances than it was years ago, because so much is done on credit, and credit is too too easy to spend! Please be careful, try to budget, and get help when needed!
Best of luck!