When we decided to move in together, I proposed that we open a joint checking account from which we'd pay our rent and utilities, and in which we could deposit the income we make from renting out our parking spot. The way C reacted, you'd think I'd just proposed we join the quiverfull movement and get populating or something. It was just too big of a step for him. But when we went in to sign our lease, there was a clause specificallly stating that we need to pay our rent with one check, and he started to rethink things.
I really think joint checking is the way to go here. We won't be combining our assets or anything crazy like that (even if we ever got married I wouldn't want to combine our money entirely.) We'll just be depositing the money for our rent and utilities each month so that when our bills become due, we can issue an electronic check (from both of us) from that account. Most importantly, it eliminates the need for us to write each other checks to cover paying from our own accounts, which is something I hate doing. In college, I was always the designated bill-payer and it really sucked. Having to ask people to pay you, constantly reminding everyone about bills, etc. is annoying. Having a joint checking account will make that role obsolete.
I've heard good things about ING's Electric Orange account. It's an interest-bearing checking account that has all of the features of your typical brick & mortar checking account; I already have a savings account with ING, and it couldn't have been easier to set up. We probably won't be using most of the features (like the MasterCard debit card, which I think we should just cut up), and we won't really benefit much from the interest-bearing aspect, since we'll only be depositing money for a brief period each month (the account pays 0.25% APY if you have a balance under $50k), but I think it'll take less time to set up. Plus, I've had nothing but good experience with my ING Savings account, so I wouldn't expect things to run any less smoothly here.