What does the import button do?

Hi all!  I'm looking to understand what this button is supposed to do.  I've read that you cannot currently make YNAB sync bank transactions on command (an unfortunate limitation, especially when you are trying to troubleshoot something), but instead that it will sync each morning around midnight and otherwise once every 8 (or 12?) hours.

However, that leads to some confusion about why this import button exists on a linked account.  It seems to have no purpose other than to tell me that there are no transactions to import (which it doesn't actually know, because it isn't checking with my bank on click).

So it begs the question, what does this button actually do?


5replies Oldest first
  • Oldest first
  • Newest first
  • Active threads
  • Popular
  • When there are transactions available to import, it will change to indicate that and you will click it to bring in the imported transactions for approval.

      • James
      • james
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view


      Hmm.  But when YNAB imports from banks, this seems to happen automatically and there is already a dedicated banner to go and approve the transactions.  I've never seen a time where clicking on the import button is necessary, since once the bank sync happens, those transactions are already imported (just not approved).

      Import as a concept means to bring in data that isn't here yet.  When i click this button, it doesn't go retrieve any data, and so far (almost 2 months of YNAB), the bank sync already triggers what you are talking about. 

      Are you saying that by design it is simply another way to get you to the unapproved transactions similar to the banner i described above?

  • James said:
    Are you saying that by design it is simply another way to get you to the unapproved transactions similar to the banner i described above?

     Yes, here is a screenshot I just grabbed (I luckily just had a couple of transactions pop over). See how the number is now after the "import"? They do the same thing, but in different ways.

    Clicking the banner takes you to a screen where you approve the transactions, and that's all you see on the screen.

    If you click the import button, it will just throw the transactions down into your account register and you approve them there.

    It's a "more than one way to shear a sheep" kind of thing.

    Like 2
      • James
      • james
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Tobias Ah, okay.  So really this is just a filtering mechanism.  Import shows you only the transactions that are awaiting approval, whereas that top banner will filter for transactions missing approval or categorization.  Thanks for helping me understand how it works!

      I've read some forum posts asking for enhancements that basically allow on demand importing from the bank.  It would seem more intuitive that this import button would perform that function (if and when they introduce such a thing).

      Like 1
    • Hi James !

      The banners, or the Import button to bring in transactions are a manual trigger for an automatic process, which gives you control over your account register. YNAB is all about awareness, so we've designed it that way! Like Tobias said, there are a few ways to accomplish that. Another use is for File-Based Importing.

      Once transactions clear your bank, we expect those to be available import within 24 hours. Our system checks for newly cleared transactions every night during a nightly refresh, and it also checks again when you log in to the web app, if it has been more than 8 hours since your last import.

      The speed can vary based on your financial institution and their practices. For example, some banks don't process transactions over the weekends, or might limit the amount of times your account can be accessed in a period of time. Too many attempts and you might get locked out! We'll continue to explore options and possible improvements with our import partner. 🙂

Like Follow
  • Status Answered
  • 1 yr agoLast active
  • 5Replies
  • 97Views
  • 3 Following