Since Ynab forums does not have a feedback section (why, by the way?) I will post this here.
Since the beginning of this year I use the browser version of Ynab, switching from the desktop app. The one thing which keeps bothering me is the implementation of Credit Card payments. In my opinion it is the least intuitive feature of Ynab although it might make sense on a whiteboard.
After reading very carefully the help docs on how the Credit Card Category works I think I know now how to work with this category. In my most cases it can be probably be left alone if I only pay things with my credit card account which I already budgeted for, because the automatisation of Ynab kicks in.
Here's my problem with it though. I usually get all my cash money from an atm using my credit card. So I will transfer money from the credit card account to my cash account whenever I get money from the atm.
For example I have 500€ debt on my card. I transfer 100 € from card to cash. The budget view now shows me that I have 100 € additionally to budget. This is the money I got from my card. But there is no hint in the UI that this "additional" money has to be budgeted into the Credit Card Category. Or to be correct, there is a very hidden hint in the credit card category details. I wish that this budgeting would happen either automatically or there would be a clearer ui hint.
In this example the credit card is now in debt with 600€.
The budgeting view shows that I have 500 € in that category. (from a previous credit card payment). So basically there is 100 € missing. Why is this category now marked green and not red? Makes no sense to me.
Am I the only one who finds this feature implementation a bit lacking?
A transfer from a credit card to a cash account—like your checking account—is seen as a cash advance in YNAB. For more details on how to handle this in your budget, check out this article on Credit Card Cash Advances.
No, you are not the only one that finds this feature a bit lacking. But it won't change. The primary use case that the software assumes is that cash transferred from a credit card to some other on budget account is intended to increase debt in order to give the user more money to budget, i.e. the user has no money and has chosen to borrow from the credit card issuer.
That is counter-intuitive to people who purchase gift cards with their credit cards, and for your situation. But transferring money from a credit card to some other on-budget account for purposes of spending cash or getting a gift card at a discount is considered the outlier type of situation, and the YNAB organization regards it as reasonable for the outliers to fix the treatment on the budget page.
It would be nice if the YNAB organization would simply come out and say, "Transferring money from your credit card to your deposit account is a way to add debt and increase the amount you have to budget." That would make the treatment clear, and people who would never consider adding debt in this way would have a chance of understanding why they need to make an adjusting entry on the budget page after what ought to be a perfectly normal credit card transaction for their use case.
I'm a bit late in this thread, but I'm just chiming in to say that the credit card payment feature is driving me nuts since it has been introduced. I have perfect control over my credit card payments, and use my cc to pay for things that have been budgeted for.
I always pay my credit card bills in full—or rather, that happens automatically on the 7th of each month—but for some reason, the amount in red or green that YNAB shows for the cc payments category is always a complete surprise. This month it shows that I'm 150 euros in the red, last month I was in the green. It's a mistery, even though YNAB pretends to 'manage' this category for me.
In the old standalone app this worked a lot simpler. Making payments pushed the card below zero, and transferring money from checking account to cc brought everything back to zero. Simple and easy.
I have had numerous email conversations with YNAB and even though I understand the principle, in reality it makes no sense at all, and the UI makes it all the more confusing. I just try to ignore it, even though that just doesn't feel right.
Glad I'm not the only one.
Just wanted to chime in on this one, because it is the one feature about YNAB that foxes me. We also pay off our credit card every month, so it's more of a payment vehicle than a debt (if that makes sense). But I've never understood the credit card payment area on the budget, so I've taken to completely ignoring it, just like Jelle just said. But when I tried to explain this to my husband he was totally perplexed, and I realized again how strange it is. I wish there was an option to make this clearer, but I guess a work around is better than nothing.