VISA Payment is not equal to my Working Balance

My VISA Payment $55 less than my Working Balance, and I can't find any  "out of budget" purchases or returns etc. Please help!

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  • Hello, Aquamarine Griffin !

    If you pay your credit card in full, you should have the exact amount in the Credit Card Payment category that you need to pay the working balance down to zero.


    If those two amounts don't match, you know you have some investigating to do, and there are four scenarios that are the likely culprit.

    These two are the most common:

    • Overspending. Look for any credit overspending in your budget in the current month, previous months, or in any Hidden Categories at the very bottom of your budget. If you have credit overspending that you never budgeted to pay back, the amount “Available” for your payment will be lower than the balance you owe. Budget to make up that difference!
    • Starting Balance. If you have an outstanding balance on a credit card when you set it up in YNAB, and do not budget for it in the Credit Card Payments category, you’ll end up without enough in the Credit Card Payment category to pay your account balance in full. Budgeting for that Starting Balance in your Credit Card Payment category lets your budget know you plan to take some of the money you have and use it to pay off that existing balance. Here’s a video with more details on how this works.

    These two happen less frequently:

    • Overpayment. If your payment creates a positive balance on a card, the positive balance is treated like cash and is added to To be Budgeted. You might not have noticed those funds show up in To be Budgeted and given them another job, but budgeting them directly to the Credit Card Payment category will bring it back into balance.
    • Inflows. Your payment amount might be low if you have any return/refund inflows that you categorized back to a spending category. The inflow removed money from the credit card Payment and put it back into the original spending category. Depending on the timing of when this happened in relation to your credit card payment, and your other credit card spending, you may need to move money back to the Credit Card Payment category to make up the difference.

    For all of the scenarios above, the solution is ultimately to budget or move money directly to the Credit Card Payment category until the Available number matches the full balance you owe. If you don’t have any dollars To be Budgeted, you'll need to move it there from other categories.

    If none of those turns up the culprit, let me know, and I'll be happy to take a look at your budget!

    Like 1
    • Matthew It always looks like I have more in my PAYMENT category than I should. Right now, it says I have 779.19 in my payment category but I only have 829.09 in all of my accounts and I still haven't budgeted any money towards my Visa payment this month. Please help!

    • Slate Gray Leopard said:
      I only have 829.09 in all of my accounts

      You cannot use the total of all accounts because the budget ignores the negative credit card balance. The budget always totals the amount of CASH on hand, so you must add up all the positive accounts.

      "Too much" in the Payment category would be anything more than needed to cover the CC account balance. Anything less than that means this card does not have "paid-in-full" status and will incur interest if you stop using the card (a.k.a., "riding the CC float").

      The budget column is how you raise the amount Available CC Payment category over and above the amount  automatically reserved for recent budgeted purchases. If the Available amount (3rd column) covers the amount you intend to pay, you don't have to budget anything -- for that payment. However, you still might want to budget something in order to get closer to paid-in-full status.

      Like 1
    • dakinemaui Thanks for the reply. I wish someone could have a look at my budget and explain it to me. I understand what you are saying in principle but do not understand how that translates to the discrepancies between my accounts and budget items.  I have about a 400 balance on my credit card and 779 available in the payment category. I remember once trying to move some of that extra money available in the payment category into the "To Be Budgeted" and it messed up my whole budget. I just don't understand how it gets there...sorry for all the questions. My mind hasn't computed it yet!

    • Slate Gray Leopard Since the most you would ever pay the CC is that balance of 400, it doesn't make sense to have 779 held in reserve to pay. (Any future budgeted purchases on the card will increase the Available payment in lock-step with the debt incurred, so the amount reserved for payment always be too high until you do something about it.)

      So yes, you should move the excess 379 (= 779-400) elsewhere in the budget (or to TBB, then elsewhere since Rule 1 is to make TBB = 0).

      As for how it works, you might try a test to illustrate things: look at, say, the Groceries and the CC Payment categories and note the Available amounts. Then enter a transaction for $10 of groceries (make sure there's at least $10 in the category Groceries, though!), then look at those two categories again. You'll see Groceries has decreased and the CC Payment has increased. This is correct, because you still have the same amount of cash. YNAB has merely (helpfully) changed the job of $10 of your dollars from "buy groceries" to "pay the debt incurred when I bought groceries".

      Don't forget to delete that $10 test transaction afterward.

    • Slate Gray Leopard Another thing to consider is one of the free workshops on credit cards. A teacher will demonstrate the workflows and hopefully point out common errors. You'll have a chance to ask questions as well. I think you'd find it very useful!

      There's one scheduled to start about 5 hours from now.

      Like 1
    • Slate Gray Leopard I second everything   dakinemaui said (especially about taking a credit card workshop!), but I'd also be happy to take a look at your budget. If you’re up for it, go ahead and enable Support Access for your account. Once you’ve done that, let me know—and mention whether you’d like to continue the discussion here or via email instead.

  • I am having the same problem and I think it's because I paid off a card to early. Which is really annoying, because it makes me feel like YNAB is punishing me for being responsible. 

    I have read a bunch of support threads and here is the thing I persistently do not understand.

    • Overpayment. If your payment creates a positive balance on a card, the positive balance is treated like cash and is added to To be Budgeted. You might not have noticed those funds show up in To be Budgeted and given them another job, but budgeting them directly to the Credit Card Payment category will bring it back into balance.

    Why add this extra step?

    All the money on my credit card was funded by purchases from my budget categories. I already budgeted money for payment when I budgeted in the categories. There's no special transaction that appears in my queue to represent just the overpayment.  What happens is that my credit card category appears inexplicably negative, even though it should be positive because I OVERPAID IT.  Why wouldn't the balance just live in my card category and apply to the next month? Why would I budget extra money to the credit card when I have the same amount of money I always did?

      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 8 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Turquoise Tugboat Is your CC account positive or negative?

      If the account is negative... I'm not sure you understand what the CC Payment category represents. That is the amount of cash you hold (in checking/savings/wherever) reserved for your next CC Payment. By sending the CC more than is Available in the category, you sent them money that is reserved elsewhere in the budget. Clearly it can no longer be used for a budgeted purchase (as it's no longer in your possession), so it doesn't belong in the budget. Move funds from the CC Payment category to clear the overspending. EDIT: There are more details in your other thread about this scenario.

      If the account is positive... YNAB would have increased the To Be Budgeted as well as decreased the CC Payment category. Use these seemingly new funds to clear the overspent Payment category. It does it this way so you see the warning. Because your cash hasn't changed, though, this negative category has to be balanced by an increase somewhere else (net $0 impact to the budget).

      Like 2
      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 8 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Turquoise Tugboat YNAB is a forward-looking plan for the cash you have on hand, and the credit card payment category is no different in that regard. If you send a payment larger than what you have available to make, then you have overspent the category by removing more cash from your budget than the category had contained.

      Like 2
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