Credit Card Outflow/Inflow & Positive/Negative

Hi. I have two issues.
First, YNAB credit card account is not tracking budgeted purchases and correspondingly transferring those purchases to the credit card. My balance seems stuck on zero regardless of expenses. Is there a feature that must be selected to turn this on?

Two, payments to my credit card (should be negative and bring my balance closer to zero) show up as a positive number. 
If i spent $500 on my credit card then pay off $500. The balance should be $0. For some reason YNAB makes the balance $1,000 instead. I've played around by making it -$500 when i pay the credit card which makes the credit card account look accurate... but then the checking account is off. 

If my credit balance is $500 and i want to pay $500 from my checking account. My checking account is at $2,000. I'm stuck with:


Having the credit card account incorrectly have inflow of $500 and total balance of $1,000. In this scenario my checking account goes from $2,000 to $1,500.


If i enter the payment as -$500 then my credit card account is correct at $0 but my checking account now has a +500 inflow and it is at $2,500. 

What have i done incorrectly?


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  • Did you enter your starting balance as an outflow??  It sounds like your credit card is showing a positive balance 

    • satcook Don't remember unfortunately its been a while and i have only just recently started trying to clean up my accounts. Are you saying that when i original set up this credit card account i may have incorrectly entered the very first payment as an outflow rather than inflow.. and that flipped all subsequent transactions?

      If that is the case i'll pay off the balance in full early and see what happens with subsequent charges. I have never actually seen my credit card balance be red, its always green and always increasing.

      • satcook
      • satcook
      • 7 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Green Keyboard if your credit card balance is positive then that is a big issue. Paying it off won’t solve  your problem. You need to reconcile it so it shows the correct negative balance. 

      Then you will need to clean up your budget as you have been budgeting that positive balance 

      Like 1
  • The card category and the register are two different things. One should be positive (the category) and one should be negative (the register). When you make a payment, the category becomes less positive, and the register balance becomes less negative. 

    It's not entirely clear from your explanation which one of these two you are looking at, or if your expectations are mismatched--if you are expecting the balance in the budget to be negative, then yes, you'll see something you aren't expecting in the budget. 

  • Green Keyboard said:
    I have never actually seen my credit card balance be red, its always green and always increasing.

     This makes me think you don’t understand the credit card category. Your credit card balance is only able to be green at the top of the register, which you shouldn’t need to look at very often (and there it will usually be red). Well and I suppose in the “accounts” page on the mobile app, you'll see it green or red also. But the budget category should always be gray or green, and it increases as you spend. Can you please clarify or show screenshots of the “green balance” you see? 

    • WordTenor Replying to both your posts here.  Unfortunately i can't share a screenshot as the way i set-up my accounts shows too much personal information.

      The budget category isn't playing into the discussions here because movement in the budget categories is NOT reflected in my credit card budget. 


      What should be happening is if i budget $10 for Bread and use my credit card to make the bread purchase, $10 should go from my bread budget (it becomes $0 and grey) to my credit card balance. This is not happening. The top right corner of where it shows your outstanding payments is always $0. 


      2. I am looking at the "register" if i use your wording. By register i mean the credit card statement (and only this card's statements). Hypothetically if i started with a zero balance, what SHOULD be happening is the "register" gets more and more negative as i accumulate debt. This debt is the budgeted dollars for bread being moved from that category into the credit card register. 


      When it is time to pay off that credit card register it should go back towards positive. As an example:

      - i have a zero balance on my card and i've budgeted $10 for bread.

      - i spend $10 for the bread using my credit card

      - The $10 budgeted in my bread category is moved to my credit card "register". This HAD been at zero balance

      - the credit card register is now at $-10 and is RED until i pay it off and it returns to $0 and GREY. 

      - if i decide to pay $20 instead of the $10 then i SHOULD have $10 in my credit register and it should be GREEN.


      None of this is happening right now. 

      I am not seeing dollar movement from my budgeted categories to my credit card register that nicely lets me know how much i need to pay off


      I am not seeing actual payments on my credit card move the register sum back to zero. It just keeps on adding the total higher and higher and is green.


      I think everything is messed up so i started a new budget from scratch and the default positions are as i've described them. Shame i'm losing my transaction history but i hadn't been keeping things on track as they should have been so i only have myself to blame.

      • WordTenor
      • Not throwing away my shot.
      • WordTenor
      • 7 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Green Keyboard You don’t need to start a new budget if you don’t want to but it sounds like you’ve already reached your frustration threshold. 
      It is however fairly clear to me from what you are describing that you are looking at the budget and not the register, so you’ll want to correct that misunderstanding. The register is the screen where you see all your transactions in a list just like you would in a checkbook (also called a checking account register).  I’m happy to help if you don’t want to give up, but if you’d rather start a new budget that’s okay. Perhaps take a credit card webinar or view some of the recorded credit card materials and that will help! 

    • WordTenor good idea. I'll take a look at some webinars. Yes I'm more than frustrated so a fresh start is where I'm going now. I'll just refer to the old budget if I want to see any spending trends. 

      Going forward I will linking accounts and checking weekly to keep things from spiraling out of control as they've done now. Thanks for your help

      Like 1
  • To me, it seems the problem is when you make a purchase with your card, your $10 bread example, it gets entered as a positive amount instead of negative. So instead of taking your card balance negative, it becomes positive. Which then changes completely the way the budget works (it gives you more dollars to budget). 

    Are you using auto-importing? Sometimes this wrongfully imports outflows with a positive sign instead of negative. But normally, YNAB support can solve that. 

    • Ceeses you are correct. I'm not sure how it got to that point as it happened with manual or auto imports. My new budget is working as it should so I'll just be keeping a close eye to make sure it doesn't get messed up again. 


      I see clearly now that my cards are negative and red (balances owing) - as it should be. That wasn't the case before. 

    • Green Keyboard Glad to hear things are looking more as you'd expect! If you see any funny business with those credit cards going forward, our support team would be happy to look closer. You can ping me here, or click the question mark in the bottom right corner of your budget to send us a message in the app.

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