Available Credit

Has there been any thought to showing the available credit and interest rates on a Credit Card account?  Sometimes I need to make a quick purchase for something like Airline Tickets and I need to know which credit card to put it on.   Also when budgeting it is helpful to know the interest rate so that I can pay down the highest interest rates first.

I think these would be two very helpful features.  

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  • Hi ImmerTech !

    YNAB doesn't include the credit limits on your credit card accounts because we don't want to focus on how much you can spend on your credit card, but how much you've already spent. That way YNAB can help you plan to pay that amount off. :)

    If you want to have that information available in your budget, you can include it in the name of the account or in the account notes section. We don't suggest putting any private information in these sections, because anyone you allow access to your account would be able to see it (so no account numbers or anything of that nature).

    Like 2
  • Worst. Answer. Ever. The whole purpose of YNAB is to focus on category balances so you can spend money without guilt. This concept was repeated in Jesse’s book. Furthermore, just because someone has a credit card balance doesn’t mean they don’t have a plan to pay it off. I have several paid in full cards that I use for points. 

    Money in YNAB is fungible so it shouldn’t matter which account a budgeted expense is paid from. I’d say the lack of credit limit is more a shortcoming than a planned feature.

    Like 3
    • Hey jayne_m !

      I agree that focusing on those category balances is very important - a credit card limit shouldn't affect this priority. If you have $300 Available in a category, you shouldn't go over that amount whether there's $1,000 available on your credit card or only $100. 

      Available balances reflect your available funds that already have jobs. If the funds are available, then they can be used to cover credit card purchases. If your credit limit isn't high enough to cover the $300 available amount, that transaction can be made in cash since those funds are in your checking or savings accounts.

      I'll pass this feedback along to our development team, but we don't want to focus on how much more you can spend on a credit card, we want to focus on how much you've budgeted. :)

      Like
    • jayne_m I re-read this and believe there was a disconnect. Yes, we want to focus on how much we can spend based on our categories, but never on a credit card limit. Credit limits aren't important because we never want to think, "I have $400 of Available credit on my card, so I can buy this new TV." If there's only $200 in your New TV category, that's the amount we want to focus on. You can check your credit limit and decide to buy the TV and then make a plan to pay off that new debt, but we prefer going off category balances first and foremost while credit limits should be less of a factor.

      Like 1
      • ImmerTech
      • Immertech
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Faness at YNAB But aren't you totally discounting the cost of money?  And knowing which place the money is stored?  Here are two examples that I think show my point.  1st, I have budgeted for two Airplane tickets a year.   There first ticket costs $600. When it comes time to buy it, I have two credit cards with $300 each left in credit.  I don't realize this since I have no visibility into available credit.  So I try the first card and it is declined.  Then I try the second, same thing.  There is no easy way to know the problem.  And I may have to do a costly balance transfer to solve the problem.

      My second example is a cost of money example.  Same scenario, but this time I have two credit cards with plenty of credit.  Without knowing interest rates I may grab one that has a 19.99% interest rate instead of one that has a 5% rate.  I just hurt my budget by quite a bit over the year pay off time.

      Any thoughts?

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      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 2 yrs ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      ImmerTech Available credit can and will often change... not just because of account balances but because of credit limit changes which may or may not be communicated to you. YNAB has no way to verify that your credit limit is accurate (nor your available credit), so it's relying on human input.

      If your credit usage is really that tight, you should probably be checking your credit card website, which usually has your available credit ("buying power") on display in big numbers somewhere on the home page.

      Like 1
      • WordTenor
      • I have the honor to be your obedient servant
      • WordTenor
      • 2 yrs ago
      • 9
      • Reported - view

      ImmerTech  the long answer is that you need to know what matters to you and track it. YNAB doesn't give that info because for a lot of people, the cycle of checking their available credit to determine what they could afford is exactly what drove them to want budgeting software to begin with. So it isn't included (and never has been) because a card is just a way for you to spend budgeted cash.

      In your example, if the airline tickets are budgeted for, and the rest of the card purchases were budgeted for, you would never need to make a balance transfer because if you need more room on a card, you just pay off the amount you need in order to make the room. And if you can't pay it off because it's old debt, you don't use the card--you pay for the budgeted item from checking. It's budgeted, so the money is there to be spent.  

      That's the end goal. No, every person isn't there right away. So there are places for you to put the info you need to track, like the notes or the account name. But it's not built into the software in part because what's relevant differs from person to person, and, over time, as your credit and budgeting improves, neither the limit nor the interest rate is typically among those things you need to have readily at hand. 

      Like 9
  • I propose another reason for adding limit tracking: fees associated with over-limit cards.  Lets say a recurring charge is declined due to over-limit.  That is a fee which could have been avoided with some deft transfers before hand.  Tracking credit card limits would allow for alerts when the available credit is too low.  Also there could be budget warnings when into offers are about to expire to remind the user to budget for payoff or arrange a balance transfer. 

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    • TS79  A lot of banking and credit card websites let you set alerts to do this type of thing and receive an email or text when you only have a certain amount left or if you charge something over a certain amount. That's where I get this type of information since I'm balancing my accounts weekly I'm generally aware of what's left on any particular card and the notes field works well in YNAB to remind me of the actual limit of the card.

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  • I can definately see the benefit of ynab tracking the available credit. Ynab should be able to get that with the transaction details for linked accounts or optionally if ynab's download system doesn't get that info,  or for unlinked accounts if you could manually tell ynab cc x has a credit line of $1000 and it subtracts the current balance to provide an estimste of your available credit it could be done that way too.  But i can also see why for users who don't have the self control to only spend what they have budgeted and keep the card PIF how that could be problematic and so why ynab doesn't want to do that. 

    Perhaps the best option is a setting a user can manually toggle to track that,  but the default setting would be to essentially hide the available credit.  Unfortunately i doubt ynab would add that feature,  perhaps it could be added to the web version though a 3rd party browser extension like the ynab toolkit? Though that wouldn't help those on the mobile app sadly.

     

    As far as taking the interest rate account notes is probably the best way to go.

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  • There’s a bigger better reason to include credit limits & the amount left available. 

    First let me say, I don’t think people need ynab to babysit their impulses by making it difficult to budget their credit card spending. If they’re using this program they are likely to be past the idea of buying new toys, dinners & vacations on credit cards.

    I’m seeing arguments for using points effectively, buying plane tickets that are budgeted for etc, & these are good reasons. And to hear someone mention  “Credit limits aren't important because we never want to think, "I have $400 of Available credit on my card, so I can buy this new TV."” Is insulting. 

    I’ve had to use a credit card every month & I don’t remember the last time I bought a new anything. 

    The truth is some people will find themselves in a financial mess & will hope to improve their situation starting here at ynab. And these people may NEED to use credit cards to get them through to the next paycheck. Paying for the electric bill, a car repair, fuel to get to their job, diapers for a baby. 

    This is obviously not a cycle to condone, & I doubt anyone in this situation is ok with living it & that’s why they’re here, but I think ignoring the need to use credit cards this way, at least at the beginning of a process of improvement that is a necessary evil for some, does a disservice to the most in need of a budget. 

    Like 2
    • Hi Coral Sander !

      Thank you for weighing in here! :)

      We're not trying to ignore the need to use credit cards, but we are trying to step away from it. Rule One of the YNAB Method is the foundation of your budget - Give Every Dollar A Job. Including a credit card's credit limit would enable YNABers to give jobs to dollars they don't have, which is something we want to avoid. While credit cards can be a necessary evil, or a helpful tool, we don't want a budget to be built on credit.

      I, in no way, meant for my remarks to be insulting. Whether it's buying a new TV or something crucial, like paying a utility bill, doing so in credit means paying with funds that aren't yours. YNAB understands this can happen, and thus categories can be overspent on credit and paid back over time.

      If you want to keep track of the credit limit for an account, you can include it in the account name in your budget or as a note. We currently don't have plans to incorporate credit limits into YNAB, but I'm more than happy to answer any questions you have about them!

      Like 1
  • I would also like to see credit limits and interest rates incorporated into YNAB.

    I deliberately use credit cards where possible (the exception being places that don't accept credit cards as a payment option or for cash withdrawals). It's more secure and offers various consumer protections as well as helping to build up a good credit rating. As long as you pay it off in full, it's not really a problem.

    I want to see things like my credit card utilization for each card as this actually affects your credit score. Also, being able to add in things like interest-free promotional periods, charges and the interest rate is useful to know when making transactions. Further, it would be good if YNAB could show how much interest you will accrue if not paying off the card in full and other related scenarios - if nothing else, it may actually encourage you to pay off as much as possible.

    Like 1
  • I would like to add my thoughts on this topic:

    I too would like to see this implemented. My wife and I use our credit cards daily as they are more secure than a debit card and offer great rewards for the spending we already do. We have several that we never carry on our person which are used monthly to pay individual bills (e.g. Netflix, Comcast, Google Fi, etc) to keep them active.

    We never carry a balance on any of our cards. I pay every balance in full on a weekly basis. 

    We are working on building credit and saving for a future home loan. As such we are paying close attention of our credit utilization and scores. Tracking the amount of available credit we have vs what portion of it is being utilized is an important part of that. 

    I am absolutely loving YNAB; However, having an accurate accounting of total available credit, in addition to net worth, expenses, spending, and income, is an important part of having a complete understanding of your financial situation. 

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  • It's a lovely idea, but we're now approaching nearly 4 years without a fix to the major fundamental flaw in the budget calculations.... aka Stealing From the Future. If they aren't going to fix something as important as that, I don't know what they are spending their development dollars on, because there hasn't been anything oft requested that would be helpful to the vast majority of their customers, and this is not something that will be a direct benefit to the majority.

    Like 2
  • Faness said:
     I re-read this and believe there was a disconnect. Yes, we want to focus on how much we can spend based on our categories, but never on a credit card limit. Credit limits aren't important because we never want to think, "I have $400 of Available credit on my card, so I can buy this new TV." If there's only $200 in your New TV category, that's the amount we want to focus on. You can check your credit limit and decide to buy the TV and then make a plan to pay off that new debt, but we prefer going off category balances first and foremost while credit limits should be less of a factor.

     How is this any different Then having $200.00 for a TV in your category.  And looking at your savings account with $400.00 and saying "i have the $400.00 in savings so I will buy this TV and make it up later"?  With a credit card you and saying I will pay it later which is the same thing and making it up later. We are suppose to spend based on categories and not balances. yes

    Spending is two fold.

    Do I have the money in my category? $400.00 in the TV category so YES

    Which account should I use? I need the info in front of me. I run my credit card close to my limit. but I don't want to go over my limit. and yes I pay it off monthly.

    Like 1
    • kevman479 You can include credit limits in your account names, but we don't want to focus on them in the budget. Making up an account balance is different from making up a category balance, since a category is for a specific purpose while an account can contain multiple purposes.

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      • WordTenor
      • I have the honor to be your obedient servant
      • WordTenor
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      kevman479 If you run your card close to its limit, you should probably ask for a limit increase, unless you’re planing to finance a car or house in the next six months. 

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    • WordTenor if your running you’re  cards close to your limits- don’t you think a person in this situation likely wouldn't be able to get an increase? I don’t think this is a “why didn't I think of that!” solution. I’m guessing you don’t often run your cards close to their limit 

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    • Coral Sander Paying off the balance monthly? Almost guaranteed they could get a credit increase. It is a potential solution until someone tries it and is denied.

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    • dakinemaui these problems are not existing in a vacuum. They are not hypothetical. If someone is struggling with having to use credit cards this way in the real world  while at the same time trying to begin a more responsible strategy out, I think it’s safe to assume it’s not because they haven’t thought of paying their balance off every month or asking for a credit limit increase. If someone is struggling with this part of their budget, I think we should consider that the entirety of their budget situation is probably up against the wall. Sometimes there just are no easy solutions. It may just be a hard slow struggle in which a budget program’s tools could consider. 

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    • Coral Sander I was replying to the post that said this:

      J Bradford Puckett said:
      We never carry a balance on any of our cards. I pay every balance in full on a weekly basis. 

       I actually voiced my support for having the remaining credit shown for the more general situation. However, I would also NOT be surprised in such other situations to hear, "good idea, I don't know why I didn't think to ask for a credit increase." 

      Like 2
      • WordTenor
      • I have the honor to be your obedient servant
      • WordTenor
      • 1 yr ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Coral Sander  My answers always assume that, given this is a YNAB forum, the person is successfully using YNAB, which as @dakinemaui  pointed out, is the case here. If they are not, that's a different question. But if they are, the credit card is a financial vehicle, and so then we're just asking a financial vehicle question, not a "Help my financial situation" question. A successful YNABer who is hitting their limit is hitting their limit because the limit is too low for their spending needs, not because they are in dire financial straits. The solution is to enable oneself to do more (budgeted) credit card spending by increasing the limit on the existing card, or getting a card with a larger limit.  Or by paying it more often, but given how easy it is usually to just get a larger credit line, that's the less burdensome solution. 

      Like 2
    • WordTenor I think the point is we are not Congress, we cant choose to raise our credit limit. Can we ask, yes. But for a variety of reasons a bank may choose to say no, even if you pay your balance in full every month. 

      But getting an increase is not going to fix everything. Take my cash back cc for example. I got a high enough limit that my regular monthly expenses go though just fine until my auto pay for the statement balance hits the account.  That is until I make an unusually large purchase like a new computer, which I have been saving for and is a budgeted expense. It's an extra step to have the visibility to see when I need to make an extra manual payment to keep using the cc to get the most out of it.  It seems to me ynab should be making these things easier...

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    • Navy Blue Foal said:
      But getting an increase is not going to fix everything[...] It's an extra step to have the visibility to see when I need to make an extra manual payment to keep using the cc to get the most out of it.

      Sounds like you just need an increase. 🙂

      Look, I get your frustration, and you really don't have to convince me. I'll just go out on a limb and say it's far more likely you can get a credit increase than YNAB will implement a remaining credit display.

      Like
    • dakinemaui like I said. I'm not Congress not my choice.

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      • WordTenor
      • I have the honor to be your obedient servant
      • WordTenor
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Navy Blue Foal You’re right. It’s your bank’s choice. Have you asked them lately? 

      Either way, dakinemaui is right. The odds that YNAB will inplement such a thing, even if they felt it was the right thing to do, which they don’t, before even someone with terrible credit could clean up enough to qualify for a limit increase are basically zero. They’re not going to change this any time soon. Might as well try another solution. 

      Like 1
    • WordTenor So funny story on this. I have a Citi Doublecash card which I use for everything, budgeted for and PIF of course, I even got it on auto pay for the statement balance (no autopay option for the account balance sadly) but that's enough to avoid the interest while getting 2% cash back. Last month I asked once again unsuccessfully for an increase. About a week later I was at Best Buy getting myself a new bigger TV I have been saving for. The sales guy convinced me to sign up for a Best Buy Visa card to get 10% in store credit back on my purchase. Seconds later I was approved for a $1000 limit on that card issued by...you guessed it Citi who just a week prior refused an increase on my existing card with them.

      I really don't understand their decision making process when they won't increase the credit line on my existing card but they will issue a new card. And for the record I have a high 600s score with no delinquencies. And the only reason AFAIK it's not higher is my credit history only goes back 5 years and it's all just credit cards and one small auto loan, nothing significant like a mortgage.

      Like
      • Badpear
      • Slate_Gray_Vacuum.6
      • 9 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Navy Blue Foal My wife moved here from China 2 years ago. She has three cards in her name. The first was a no rewards cap one with a $500 limit. half a year later her score was high 600s and i got her an Am Ex blue cash for the 3% cash back at the supermarket.  6 months later I got her the Citi double cash for the 2% everywhere else. I canceled the first card. PIF every month, she has never carried a balance, and she has nothing else on her credit history (other than a hit for prequalifying as we are looking for a house now) and she is at 730 per our mortgage co. 

      Balance utilization has a big thing to do with it I know. When her limit was 500 we never let the balance get over ~$25-30. When AmEx gave her the Blue Cash card they gave her a $5000 limit and the balance has never gone past ~$200.  Now that she also has the Citi card her total limit is near 10k but again her balances never go past $200-300 at any given time. 

      I reconcile and pay everything weekly. Everything on my credit had dropped off while I was overseas. I've done a similar process with building my credit back over the last two years. The only real difference is that I also have an open line of credit (5k) with our credit union that I never touch. My score is currently at 748 per the mortgage co. 

      So I'm not sure your age or other factors, but it is definitely possible to build credit from nothing in a relatively short period of time.

      Like 2
      • WordTenor
      • I have the honor to be your obedient servant
      • WordTenor
      • 9 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Navy Blue Foal If you’re denied a credit increase (or any other credit or loan product), you are entitled to request that the reason for the denial be given to you in writing. If you don’t know why Citi is refusing on one product but allowing on another, they have to tell you if you ask.

      But the good news is now you have another $1000 of available limit, so your utilization is going to go down. I would definitely pull your report and look at it carefully if you think you really haven’t ever screwed up in 5 years. 600s (even high 600s) is low for someone who has a 5 year perfect history even if there’s not very many types of loans. I confess I don’t know what mine was when I was in about the same place because that would’ve been the early 2000s when it was impossible to get a score without paying for it, but when my credit history was 4 years old I asked for my credit union to quintuple my limit from $1K to $5K after four years of perfect payments on my card (the only card I’d ever had) and they did it at once, although again that was the early 2000s easy-credit years. But it strikes me that there’s something more than just “too few accounts, too short” affecting your score, and so if you’re sure it’s not something you did, I’d be loooking for a mistake on the report.

      Like
  • I dont understand how this is not a feature. I mean that's like ynab refusing to show your savings account balance because you are supposed to focus on your category balance not account balance. While true the account balance, or in the case of credit cards the available balance is a necessary price of information when deciding from which account to pay for a budgeted expense.  There is no reason I should have to use my bank's app to get this. I should be able to tell ynab in the account setup what the limit is and it subtract the balance. Yes this is dependent on my account t transactions being accurate and up to date but the balances on my checking and savings accounts are only as accurate as my transactions as well.

    Like 1
  • I see several valuable reasons to include available balances. And the reason I've arrived here is because I'd love YNAB to be my goto spot for my financial fitness. Financial fitness for me means having debts wrangled, budgets in order AND being aware of things like credit utilization and things that can impact my score.

    It's deeply helpful to quickly see if my amex is at 30% utilization (even if ALL of that is backed up with a legit budget and I don't carry a balance to the next cycle) vs my Chase that's only at 10% - since credit scores and credit fitness relies on credit utilization - I'm often calculating this with pen and paper alongside ynab. Having it in the app is intuitive. Whether it's to see if you have enough to "cover" an expense (on a specific card in addition to the budget category) or as a means of balancing credit card usage to keep utilization percentages in line.

    Either way - EMPOWER YOUR USERS. Give us more transparency and insights into our accounts - not less. If you don't yet have the development resources to build this or it's not as high of a priority as another feature work, I get it (software engineer here) - BUT don't patronize us and imply that keeping us in the dark is "for our own good." We're grown-ups.

    Like 1
      • WordTenor
      • I have the honor to be your obedient servant
      • WordTenor
      • 9 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Cornflower Blue Piranha Utilization is not a backwards-looking metric. If you need to have your utilization low so that you can apply for new credit, pay your cards to zero the cycle before you apply. 

      Like 3
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