Banking can be intimidating--I remember watching my mom balance her checkbook and thinking that I was glad I didn’t have to worry about adult things. Well, we’re adults now, and it’s time to worry about it.
I know this might seem obvious, but before stepping into a bank you should know the difference between a checking and a savings account, how to track your income and expenses, and how to write a check. Seriously, I had a TA last semester who didn’t even know how to write a check. Ask your parents, your employers or older classmates. They have done it before and will have advice. If all else fails, YouTube is a great teacher.
Going with a big bank can have advantages. I love J.P. Morgan Chase because you can deposit money in the ATM 24/7, whereas some banks have ATMs that only operate during business hours. Chase also offers a college account, which offers many benefits for young adults, such as overdraft allowances (but be careful with this one!) and cosigner access (so dad can quickly transfer you money for that flat tire). Smaller banks, however, offer a more personal experience and most have some type of rewards program where you can get cash back for any ATM or miscellaneous fees.
Don’t be fooled by the shiny brochures and fast talking tellers. Recognize the services you need. All modern banks have a mobile app that makes keeping up with your finances a breeze. There’s no need for you to have the super-upgraded app that is tough to navigate. Keep it as simple as possible. Sure, quick pay sounds like a nice option, but make sure these extra features aren’t costing you extra money.