Reconciling including pending transactions
I'm probably overthinking this... But the balance shown in the American Express app apparently includes pending charges. To reconcile I have to mark them cleared. But the amounts on the pending charges could change, right? When they are finalized, will they import with the new amounts? And will they be matched with the cleared YNAB transactions?
Find the cleared balance on your Amex screen. When the consumer financial protection bureau was formed, they made a change that forced most banks to make more obvious the working balance. For many banks this has resulted now in the working balance being the most obvious thing on the screen, to the effect that you have to hunt a little further to find a cleared balance.
But I assure you, it’s there. Try looking at the running balance for the account.
This was a big mess. There were actually errors earlier in the timeline that just happened to almost equal the pending transactions. I just spent almost an hour straightening it all out.
The starting balance was off; there were two transactions from the day before I added the account to YNAB that had to be entered to make it right. There were also 3 or 4 that I had to delete (probably the pending ones that I marked cleared). And since I had marked all of these reconciled, everything in YNAB was wrong or suspect; I had to print the Amex transaction list on dead trees, check things off with a pencil, and calculate by hand what my Amex balance actually was two weeks ago. (Never lie to the computer or the doctor; it will come back to bite you hard.)
If I had started out reconciling every couple of days I would probably have caught it properly, but I was just using the app and didn't find the Reconcile button until I had a lot of history (that card is our main spending account). And I guess I was lazy because I thought I was right.
(For the record, the Amex website shows the cleared balance and the pending amount. The app shows only the cleared balance, but pending transactions are clearly marked.)