Don't understand credit card repayment behaviour in YNAB

Hi, firstly an apology as I'm sure this is dealt with in the wealth of YNAB support topics but I couldn't find an obvious answer. Any youtube videos or blogs to help explain would be useful.


I don't really understand how credit card repayment works and I never seem to have enough money to fully pay the bill without assigning additional money in my budget. What happens is that I use my credit card for spending often (for cashback benefits, always paid off at the end of the month). Sometimes this is in categories where I don't have all the money available and will move £s across after the transaction from another category. My credit card repayment category only goes up if I have money in the spending categories (e.g. groceries) which I suppose makes sense so you don't think you have money for the credit card bill which you don't actually have - and there is a little information box in YNAB to explain this. However when I then top the spending up from another category (e.g. from my eating out category to my groceries category), the Credit card repayment category still doesn't go up. I then have to assign money to the repayment category separately which makes me feel like I'm then paying for these things twice, which logically can't be what's happening but I can't quite get my head around it. Any help explaining all this would be welcome!

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  • Is all of this (the spending, lacking money in the category, and moving money into the category to cover the overspending) happening in the same month? 

  • I'm curious about Fuzzball Meows question, too! It seems like your understanding is pretty solid so far! Available funds will move from your spending category and into the Credit Card Payment category as you record spending. 

    What seems odd to me here is this:

    Sea Green Router said:
    when I then top the spending up from another category (e.g. from my eating out category to my groceries category), the Credit card repayment category still doesn't go up.

    If you're covering credit overspending in the same month it happened, the overspent amount should move into your Credit Card Payment category when you do so. If you're adding the funds in the new month, you'd want to assign them directly to the Credit Card Payment category. 

    Let us know a bit more about the sequence here, and I'm sure we can get to the bottom of it! 

  • Do you have overspending in the category that you are moving money from? If so, your credit card payment won't go up as you are just changing which category is covered. 

  • Thanks for the replies! Yes we are talking about spending and then budgeting within the month as I always pay my Credit Card off.


    I'll give another example which comes up regularly which if explained might help me understand this. I have a category for things I buy that my partner needs to pay back (i.e. when splitting purchases). This 'reimbursement' category goes between 0 when we're all settled up to a negative balance when I've made a purchase until they've paid me back, and so on. If I do this spending on a credit card my repayment category does not go up as it comes under the Credit Overspending category you mentioned.

    I am correct in interpreting the following (from the article that Rachel posted) to mean that when my partner pays me back, I assign this repayment to the reimbursement category and that category goes back into the black, that this is somehow magically reflected in the credit card repayment amount? I can have a close look at the budget next time I do this to see what's actually happening:


    Ideally, you'll move money to the spending category to cover overspending in the month it happens. If you do, YNAB has your back—dollars will flow through the spending category to the Credit Card Payment category and increase what you have set aside to pay. 

    • @Sea Green Router  Yes - that magic occurs, but only if the reimbursement is in the same month as the original expense.

      If the reimbursement occurs in the same month as the original expenditure (or the Reimbursements category has a negative balance when you receive a reimbursement), YNAB will move the money to your Credit Card Payment category. If you receive the reimbursement after the month rolls over, you'll have a positive amount in the available column for your Reimbursement category, and will need to move that amount to your Credit Card Payment category manually.

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