Credit card Available Payment does not match actual balance

My amount available for payment is less than the card balance and I can't for the life of me figure out why. I went back through all budget months to see if there was any overspending or other negative amounts. I went through the last couple of CC statements to make sure the balance is correct and reconciled.

My Total Available is greater than the total of all on-budget accounts, by exactly the balance on the CC – so the money needed for the CC payment is hidden somewhere in the budget! How does this happen? I realize I can now just move money from other categories to the CC to balance it out, but I would still like to find out where I've gone astray.

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  • Hi tobiv !

    When your Credit Card Payment category is red, it can take some investigating to find out why.

    By chance, was there a positive balance on your credit card at any point? When this happens, the positive balance is treated like cash. It'll appear in your To Be Budgeted to be allocated to your different categories and budgeted spending won't move funds to your credit card category until the balance is negative again (because there's no debt to pay off).

    If that's not the case, have you entered any refunds for that credit card?

    Let me know and we'll go from there! :)
     

    Reply Like
      • tobiv
      • tobiv
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Faness Hi, thank you. I did have a positive balance on the card. I also had some refunds that I categorized back to the original category the money was spent from. I have now budgeted the difference to the CC Payment category. 

      Reply Like 1
  • I have similar issues. My payment is also in red and the balances never seem to match for some reason. I don't touch the credit cards at all in the budget. I only make sure all the transactions and payments are added and categorized properly. Could there be an issue because the card's cycle begins and ends in the middle of the month. 

     Since I pay the balance off every month, I'm thinking of just reconciling it and starting at $0 to see what happens.  

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      • WordTenor
      • Arranged the menu, the venue, the seating.
      • WordTenor
      • 1 yr ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Violet Cheetah If you have never touched the credit cards but you pay the statement balance each month, the probable culprit is that you did not budget for the initial opening balance. When you start a new card in YNAB, you have to budget for any spending that is already on the card, because your budget will include only spending you do after you add it. So when you start, you have to begin by adding enough money to the card's payment category that at that moment, the category is equal to the total amount charged on the card. From then on, as you do budgeted spending, the money you've budgeted will get set aside for making future payments, but that first payment you have to budget for yourself. 

      Does that make sense? 

      Reply Like 2
  • @wordtenor  Thanks. That completely makes sense. I can't remember if I did that or not. I do know that I went through and reconciled the accounts at one point to make sure everything matched, though. I thought that it would have continued to match as we went along. 

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    • Hi Violet Cheetah !

      When you say you reconciled to make sure everything matched, did you compare your credit card category Available amount to your credit card balance? As long as those two numbers match, then you can pay your card off in full at any time. If they don't match, you'll need to budget more towards the credit card category until the Available amount matches the amount you intend to pay.

      Does that help clear things up?

      Reply Like
    • Faness I don't remember going through to actually compare them. I just went and did the reconciliation transaction thinking it would clear things up. 

      You guys have all been great with the suggestions and solutions! I'll give it another go once the December budget gets rolling and see where I am. 

      Cheers!

      Reply Like
      • jenmas
      • jenmas
      • 1 yr ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Violet Cheetah the reconciliation transaction makes sure that your account register matches what your bank says, but then you have to go into the budget and deal with the impact of the reconciliation transaction: This transaction either adds or subtracts money from the budget. If I'm reconciling my wallet and what's in my wallet is $1 less than what is in the account register and I do a reconciliation adjustment, I then have to go into my budget and reduce some category (any category) by $1 to make the budget balance. However, if my account register said $25.47 but when I opened my wallet there was $27.47, that means I get to add $2 to some category. Same thing happens when you do a reconciliation adjustment transaction in your credit card account.

      Reply Like 2
  • Reasons the account balance and category balance may differ:

    • starting balance on a paid-in-full card - category is lower
    • overspending - category is lower
    • uncategorized transactions - category is lower
    • outgoing transfers to other on-budget accounts (e.g., gift card account, mixed funding splits) - category is lower
    • purchase/cash-back rewards (should be categorized to TBB) - category is higher
    • categorizing item returns as TBB (should use the original spending category instead) - category is higher
    • reconciliation adjustment - category is lower for an outflow adjustment, higher for an inflow adjustment
    • taking the account balance positive - category should be $0 in this case
    Reply Like
      • Coral Tape
      • Coral_Tape.8
      • 2 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      This would be more helpful if I knew what TBB stood for; however, it was helpful.  I just added the amount the two differed and put as a credit card payment.  It does not make sense as I am not overspent in any category and pay in full but I want the two to match and cannot find what caused it to be off.  UPDATE:  I found it!  I went to September budget and saw the amount in "hidden categories".  I had just mistakenly used old category for two transactions.  Once I fixed those, I'm back in balance between the two w/o hacking a payment to credit card.  Thanks all!

      Reply Like 1
      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 2 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Coral Tape TBB stands for To Be Budgeted. It's the big number at the top of the budget screen that tells you how much of your money has not been put into categories yet. Hope that helps.

      Reply Like 1
  • Can YNAB please make this information part of the training for credit cards? It’s important and not taught in any lessons I have seen. Maybe I missed it?  

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      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 10 days ago
      • Reported - view

      Beige Filly YNAB wants your subscription money. There's a fine line between documentation that is helpful vs. airing dirty laundry that would drive you elsewhere. That's why training focuses on the "sunny day" scenarios and often glosses over "edge cases". This is not limited to YNAB, of course.

      I don't speak for YNAB, though, so perhaps you can weigh in, Faness (or direct this to someone who can answer)? This list of "issues" has been circulating in the user community for about 4 years now. Any plans to add it to the documentation?

      Reply Like
    • dakinemaui Beige Filly We do have a list of reasons similar to nolesrule 's in the public-facing documentation to answer the question, "Why is my Credit Card Payment category red?" Here it is.

      When the Credit Card Payment category is still green but short (i.e., not enough money to pay in full), the reasons are the same (because that's the state that immediately precedes a red category if you pay in full), but I don't know if we have a doc that makes that clear—I will put in a request for that.

      I don't think we have a single doc where we address reasons the Credit Card Payment category is too high, but it's not a bad idea.

      You're right that we're not likely to make this part of the credit card training per se (e.g., the online workshop), but there is a wealth of info on YNAB and credit cards in our documentation here. Please let me know if there's anything else you'd like to see there.

      Reply Like 1
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