Pending transactions/ real time import

Hi there, 

is there a plan to add a feature that allows to import pending transaction? I also wonder about being able to import transaction close to real time instead of every 12 hours. I am a former Mint user and that is definitely something I feel YNAB is missing and reducing its use for me. 

Thanks!

Nadja

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  • Hi Nadja! Sky Blue Flute

    At this point in time, there aren't any plans to start importing pending transactions. 

    Awareness of spending is a big part of why YNAB works and we're totally unique in that our method leans more heavily on active engagement. That means entering transactions as you spend plays a big role in that. 

    Using that in conjunction with direct import (for filling in where you may have missed), is what we had in mind when we introduced the feature. We know a lot of users rely on it quite a bit, so we’re always re-evaluating and exploring options based on feedback and customer research.

    You can submit a Feature Request to let our development team know why you'd like to see this option going forward! :)

    Reply Like 2
    • Faness Thanks! What about being able to import transactions close to real time instead of every 12 hours. Is that something that is being contemplated? 

      Reply Like 1
    • Sky Blue Flute We've actually cut down the refresh time to 8 hours instead of 12. We now check for new transactions every morning and when you access the app if we haven't imported within the last 8 hours. Transactions still won't import if they haven't cleared your account, but you should see them a bit faster if they're ready. :)

      Reply Like 1
    • Faness I submitted a feature request. Not having pending transactions show is a real bummer coming from Mint. It's 2018, no one wants to manual enter their transaction when we have computers to do these things for us. 

      Reply Like 2
    • Hi Powder Blue Horn !

      Thank you for taking the time to submit a feature request! Currently, we don't import pending transactions because we only want to show actual changes to your account. It's not that our Direct Import partner can't get this information, it's that we want to prevent any inaccuracies. If you eat at a restaurant and pay $15 for a meal and then tip $5 - your total is $20, it's misleading if only the $15 transaction imports. We do have workarounds for this if you don't want to wait (manual entry, scheduled transactions, file based import), but the transactions should still import within a day or two. :)

      Reply Like
    • Faness not to beat a dead horse, but I got the impression from the screenshot below that it was a technology problem, that your direct import provider cannot pull pending transactions. 

      Reply Like
    • Powder Blue Horn Beat away - I think it's best to get things fully hashed out when we can! :)

      I said that our Direct Import partner can import pending transactions because we've seen it a few times in the past - a bank would make a change to its files and it caused pending transactions to import. We then reported the issue to our Direct Import partner and they were able to update things on their end to prevent the pending transactions from importing. That makes me believe it's possible, but not something we can properly support for the time being - I think this stresses the *will* part in that screenshot. It's not that they can't, necessarily, but that they won't/shouldn't.  

      Reply Like
    • Faness 

      Hi Nadia - importing pending transactions is an integral part of being fully engaged in budgeting.  Importing pending transactions eliminates the tedious step of manually entering each and every spend. Does YNAB agree?

      Reply Like 2
      • jenmas
      • jenmas
      • 8 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Turquoise Banjo the YNAB method is to enter everything manually and use import as a back up to catch mistakes. 

      Reply Like 1
    • jenmas 

      So, when my family members, during a busy weekend, are off here or there buying gum or McDonalds or gas or here or there, they are to call me so that I can take out my phone and log these transactions hoping that I get it right and then re-reconcile after 3-5 days when pending transactions are logged? 

      Reply Like 3
      • jenmas
      • jenmas
      • 8 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Turquoise Banjo I was simply stating the official YNAB methodology. Why are you the only one doing data entry? They can have the app on their phones and enter their own transactions. I only enter transactions on my phone about 50% of the time. The rest of the time I do it in the evening on my laptop. I rarely spend more than 3 minutes a day doing data entry.

      Reply Like 1
    • jenmas 

      Ok. I'll give it a shot. I really think YNAB has such a thoughtful method. I'll give it a college try - a real good faith try - take your advice and see where it goes. 

      And - if you could please add my request to develop real-time data to the rest of the requests, I'd greatly appreciate it. I know that you are all working very hard to make YNAB the best....and it seems to be the case that it is. Thank you. 

      Reply Like
  • I would stop using direct import if they started importing pending transactions. They often change between pending and posted and sometimes never get posted at all. 

    Reply Like 6
      • Aritavashkai
      • playing with numbers makes me happy
      • aritavashkai
      • 11 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Herman I'm in agreement. There's way too much room for error with pending transactions. Just now, Sam's Club has some pending transaction for $1 that I assume was to check if my card was working for my yearly renewal. Since I'm sure it won't go through, it would be a major problem figuring out what category that would come from, and possibly moving money on the categories around for something that doesn't even really exist. 

      Reply Like
    • Same here. Pending transactions are often incorrect since they don't reflect tips at restaurants. It would be actively unhelpful if those were imported before the actual charge was posted.

      Reply Like
      • JoeDid
      • Remember: It is To Laugh
      • Purple_rain
      • 11 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Herman Likewise. My grocery delivery service enters pending transactions every time I change a standing order. I start the order on Friday, and by the following Thursday there might be 5 or 6 "pending transactions." Those would screw up my account royally if they got imported. Two days after the delivery, the final true amount is posted and eventually the pending transactions go away, as they should.

      Reply Like
      • Rick
      • Mvelopes to YNAB Convert
      • ricka47
      • 3 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Herman I agree and would only like to see real transactions imported and not pending ones.  Pending ones do not always become real transactions.

      Reply Like 2
    • Gray Admiral they can be easily updated lol

      Reply Like
  • Pending transactions aren't real transactions. You do not want them imported.

    As someone who works with multiple payment systems in ecommerce, pending transactions can just create a lot of noise at best, and inaccuracy at worst. They are not official until they've been captured/settled/posted. A simple programming issue that does not reverse an authorization if there is an error could cause multiple pending transactions of the same amount for a single purchase, though only one of them will ultimately get captured/settled/posted.

    And of course, then you have the issue of authorizations where additional top is added, as mentioned above.

    Reply Like 2
    • nolesrule actually, I do want them. Most people do. It should put a placeholder in for spending activity against the budget. Even if they get deleted and replaced by the reconciled transaction, having that hit your budget asap is expected. Mint doesn't seem to have a problem. 

      Reply Like 3
      • Herman
      • herman
      • 11 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Powder Blue Horn  I don't agree most people want them.  The response here alone has shown most people do not.   Mint? Seriously?

      Reply Like 1
    • Herman search the forums and it's littered with people wanting it. Even if it didn't affect the budget, seeing it grayed out in the account page would suffice. And yes, Mint. Mint does some things better and YNAB does some things better. Mint has a better provider that provides that information. From my understanding YNAB's provider isn't able to get that information. So it's not a product decision, it's a technology gap. If they could get it, there's no reason there couldn't be a settings toggle to enable/disable for those who do want it. 

       

      On the tip issue, that's a minor consideration. Being able to reflect the fact you have an $80 transaction pending for "Dining Out" is enough to make further judgements. If that goes to $95 when finally settled it doesn't really matter. 

      Reply Like 4
      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 11 mths ago
      • 4
      • Reported - view

      Powder Blue Horn Sorry. There's no place for inaccurate transactions in YNAB that may never become real. If you want them faster, there's already a solution called manual entry.

      Downloading pending transactions creates inaccurate noise at best, and could result in messed up and difficult to reconcile account registers at worst.

      Mint and YNAB are not the same thing. Mint just aggregates the pending and posted transactions into a report. It's a snapshot. They don't create actual transactions in an account register.

      Reply Like 4
      • Aritavashkai
      • playing with numbers makes me happy
      • aritavashkai
      • 11 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Powder Blue Horn "If they could get it, there's no reason there couldn't be a settings toggle to enable/disable for those who do want it."

       

      This seems like a fair compromise as long as the default was off, since YNAB is about reflecting reality, but this is obviously important to you. 

       

      Congratulations being in a place where a $15 discrepancy wouldn't mean anything! I'm still at the point where a $1 pending charge were it to actually go through would seriously mess up my budget. 

      Reply Like 2
    • Aritavashkai I definitely understand not wanting to have inaccurate things import, but something like a tip could be manually added to supplement the directly imported pending transactions to keep yourself on track until the transaction clears and then delete the tip transaction at that point.

      Not having this import feature is such a buzzkill! Having gone back to Mint (I used it years ago and when I picked it back up a couple of months ago, they had improved their service a lot), this was crucial to see exactly how much I had available at any given time. There is still a lack of planning capability in Mint, which is where YNAB obviously excels, but there is no reason not to have this as an option for people who would really prefer to validate their purchases this way rather than manually add every one. I'm with you Powder Blue Horn !

      Reply Like 2
      • RIP_MSMoney
      • FinTech Programmer
      • rip_ms_money
      • 2 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      nolesrule +1. I am in the boat for don't import pending. An easy example would be RedBox. They charge X dollars for rental but I find the day of return they ding me again (probaby incase I don't return.). Later that second pending transaction gets cancelled. I would hate for that to be imported and then remain.

      Reply Like 1
    • RIP_MSMoney it would be deleted

      Reply Like 1
  • I realize that not importing pending transactions is currently a "feature" of YNAB, but could this not be added as an optional feature in the future?  As manually entering all transactions isn't realistic for me (due to multiple family members and not everyone would be up for that) I would rather have a more up-to-date budget and fix the occasional mismatches after a pending transaction is cleared (or deleted) than be 2-3 days behind (or have to manually login to all accounts and enter pending transactions).

    Reply Like 2
    • Magenta Colt I try not to say "never" because things can always change, but this isn't in the plans for the foreseeable future. You can let our development team know you'd like to see the option, but in the meantime have you given File Based Importing a try? It's a lot easier than you may think and you can import your transactions at will. :)

      Reply Like
  • I hate to necro a thread, but it's positively ridiculous that YNAB doesn't import pending transactions. When I go to a restaurant, spend $80, and leave a $15 tip, I would much rather see that I spent $80, and have it later change to $95. Isn't that the whole idea of "roll with the punches"?

    What happens now is: the transaction doesn't show up for 3-4 days, and during that time, it looks like I have more money than I really do. I would much rather YNAB error on the side of being $15 richer than $95 richer! That means my budget is more inaccurate, and leads to overspending because I think I have more money than I actually do.

    If I wanted to manually input everything, I'd just make my budget in a Google Sheet. Guess I need to try Mint before my YNAB trial is up.

    Reply Like 5
      • Herman
      • herman
      • 10 mths ago
      • 4
      • Reported - view

      Cornflower Blue Saxophone .i'll be honest I have little patience for attitudes like yours. Luckily I don't represent ynab.  Find a different tool.  You don't want ynab.  Go with mint if you want to do nothing to improve your finances and just want a tracking system. 

      Reply Like 4
  • It is my opinion that you should say that "pending transactions" fall under the "uncleared" category. Why not just leave that option for people?

    Reply Like 1
    • Hi Gibson !

      Do you mean the option to import Uncleared transactions? The way direct import works with YNAB is that transactions don't appear until they've cleared, then YNAB imports them. There isn't a way to toggle the options to have direct import see transactions before they have cleared.

      Reply Like
      • Gibson
      • gibson
      • 7 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Gibson I'm trying to give every dollar a job here. I cannot do that painlessly unless I see the pending transaction of the gas I just bought. Having to write it in manually really defeats the purpose of having a piece of software with bank import features. More likely than not, that transaction is exactly what I want to happen, so a pending transaction is just as accurate as a cleared transaction in most cases. Why not just have that feature to be able to import pending transactions? In what way does it go against the YNAB philosophy? 

      Reply Like 2
    • Gibson In some cases, gas transactions especially, the initial charge is not the final charge. When purchasing gas, the transaction usually appears as $1.00 until the transaction is cleared and the actual price is verified. This also happens with restaurants, where the initial charge does not include the tip, but the final amount is verified and adjusted before the transaction is cleared. There are other cases where this takes place, but these are the most common.

      Waiting until a transaction has cleared before importing it, prevents YNAB importing incorrect information into your budget.

      Reply Like
    • Faness said:
      Waiting until a transaction has cleared before importing it, prevents YNAB importing incorrect information into your budget.

      I disagree. By not importing the transaction, your budget is less accurate than if it was imported. Think about it: $80 meal + $15 tip, I would much rather see that I spent $80 than $0.

       

      Faness said:
      the transaction usually appears as $1.00 until the transaction is cleared and the actual price is verified

      In that scenario, here's what should happen:
      As soon as the pending transaction comes in, it should show up in YNAB with the pending amount (like how a cleared transaction does today).
      User can then go in and categorize/approve the transaction, optionally putting in the actual amount if they know it.
      (up to this point, it's just like a cleared transaction)
      When the transaction finally does clear, it should update the amount in YNAB, adjusting the category's available budget a second time. If it never clears, it disappears from YNAB, and the money goes back into the category.

      Maybe as an added bonus, show a special icon on that category to show that there's pending transactions, similar to how it tells you you've over-spent on credit (see attached images for my proposed solution).

      This solution would even benefit those who want to input things manually:  now they only have to input the amount (not the date+payee+amount). 

      Faness Why can't YNAB work this way? Is the technology too complicated? Does the vendor you use for bank integrations lack a way to correlate pending transactions with future cleared ones? Or maybe they just charge too much to import pending transactions..? I've yet to hear a convincing reason why this can't work, given adequate development effort.

      Reply Like 1
    • Cornflower Blue Saxophone When a transaction takes place, your bank assigns it an identification number. That identification number stays the same while the transaction is pending and after it clears. In order to prevent duplicates from importing, identification numbers are only imported once in YNAB (after the transaction clears). If we were to import that pending transaction, YNAB wouldn't import it again once it cleared. If we were to remove this block and allow transactions with the same identification number to be imported multiple times, all transactions in your budget would be duplicated. This would cause a lot of trouble for incorrect information that we don't want to import.

      I don't want to say this will never be an option, because all things are possible, but for now the option to import pending transactions isn't in our game plan. :)

      Reply Like 2
  • Regardless, I still appreciate the free trial.

    Reply Like
  • Faness said: That identification number stays the same while the transaction is pending and after it clears. (...) If we were to import that pending transaction, YNAB wouldn't import it again once it cleared. If we were to remove this block and allow transactions with the same identification number to be imported multiple times, all transactions in your budget would be duplicated.

    If the transaction ID is the same, why can't YNAB just check and see if it already knows of a transaction by that ID, and update it (instead of creating a duplicate)? In pseudo-code, something like:

    if ynab_already_imported_the_transaction( with_this_id )
        then:
            update_the_previously_imported_transaction( with_this_id, to_this_dollar_amount )
        else:
            import_the_transaction( with_this_id, to_this_dollar_amount )

    I think what I'm hearing is "implementing such a feature isn't worth the effort to us" -- and that's OK -- I can understand that. What I still can't understand is why anyone would want to not import pending transactions in real-time (assuming that YNAB would reconcile them, as I've described above).

    For now, I'm making due with my budget always being 72+ hours behind reality. I'm lucky to be at a place in life where I can do that, but not everyone is... Wouldn't it suck if your kids can't eat lunch for a week because mom and dad were making grocery purchasing decisions based on an outdated budget?

    Reply Like 1
    • Cornflower Blue Saxophone We want direct import to be more of a safety net and less of a sole updating option. We suggest manually entering transactions or using File Based Importing in order to avoid that delay, and then allowing direct import to Match all of your transactions and confirm they were accounted for in your budget. That keeps your budget up to date at all times and prevents any issues with lunch money. :)

      Importing pending transactions isn't the bar we currently want to set here. We want transactions to import correctly the first time. You can submit a Feature Request to run that replacement option by our development team, but changing how transactions import isn't on our roster for the immediate future.

      Reply Like
  • Cornflower Blue Saxophone said:
    What I still can't understand is why anyone would want to not import pending transactions in real-time

     Because we're entering our transactions manually as intended by the product design to keep our budgets instantly accountable to our spending and we don't want to deal with the crap of having incorrect amounts imported at all?

    Reply Like 2
      • Tobias
      • Toviathan
      • 7 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      bevocat  So much this. This whole conversation really boils down to the fact that we should be entering the transactions manually as they occur, full stop. YNAB is meant to be a very hands-on tool, and trying to adapt it to be automatic seems like it would completely defeat the purpose.

      Reply Like 1
    • bevocat Tobias  If you're inputting transactions manually, my proposed solution benefits you too: it means all you have to do is verify (or correct) the amount, and set the category.

      Presumably, right now, you must enter: the date+payee+amount+category.  Date and payee are superfluous details anyway. The only things that affect your budget are the amount and category. Why do you want to do extra work when automation can do it for you?

      I get the part about being hands-on. I think it's pretty hands-on to get a push notification on your phone: "YNAB sees you spent $30 at Walmart. Press here to set the category.". I agree that it's a little less hands-on than doing everything 100% manually, but I fail to understand the benefit in the manual option.

      Does doing it manually really change what/how you budget/spend? It wouldn't for me, but to each their own I guess ... What am I missing here?

      Reply Like
      • bevocat
      • Sometimes, It Just Sucks to Be You
      • bevocat
      • 7 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Cornflower Blue Saxophone I don't think pending transactions come through to YNAB immediately. What I'm suggesting is that I put in a transaction at the register at Grocery Store #1, and I already know that I can't spend more than $X at Grocery Store #2. I don't have to wait until the pending transaction comes through YNAB.

      Also, not everything is out of an account that has direct import. For example, SNAP benefit cards. If you don't put them in manually, they'll never get input, and your balance and budget will never be right. I'm sure you can imagine how this would likely be far more disastrous to someone who uses SNAP benefits and probably lives closer to the edge.

      So if I have to do manual input anyway, I might as well use one workflow instead of two.

      Reply Like
      • Tobias
      • Toviathan
      • 7 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Cornflower Blue Saxophone All I see in that setup is that I would constantly be babysitting the automatic imports instead of just handling my transactions myself as I incur them. In the scenario you just laid out, you still need to categorize those transactions. How is that saving you any time from just popping in the full transaction really quick? As long as you don't have any crazy splits to do, entering a full transactions takes seconds.

      And I still don't like what I would see for both restaurant and gas station charges where the amount will be completely wrong until the charge settles. If I just put the charge in myself right then and there, then my budget is accurate immediately. No surprises when the transaction settles. 

      And any time you have to provide a card for something and they do a preauth for $1 to make sure the card is valid will need to be found and deleted since they never actually settle. Now I have to make sure I'm deleting transactions that never should have made it to my budget to begin with.

      At the end of the day, if you are relying on direct import to enter your transactions, you are not using the system as it was intended to be used. If you're relying on automation, then you are trying to take yourself out of your budgeting, and that is missing the point of YNAB. You are supposed to be immersed in your budget and use it to make spending decisions, not spend and see what the damage is later after it's too late. Because I guarantee if you just let the import take care of your transactions, you will check your categories far less than if you're in there anyway and seeing exactly what's happening as you enter.

      Reply Like 3
      • Herman
      • herman
      • 7 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Cornflower Blue Saxophone Actually other than the first time at a particular location, all you have to do to enter a transaction is enter the amount and save.  ynab will add the date, the payee and the category based on the location and you add the amount and you are done. 

      Reply Like
      • Herman
      • herman
      • 7 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Cornflower Blue Saxophone  Also I think you have unrealistic expectations for the speed with which the merchant info ends up on the financial institutions database, would get picked up by the import partner and added to ynab.  Ynab and the import partner would both have to be constantly pinging your  financial institution accounts to make this even close to real time.

      Reply Like 1
  • Cornflower Blue Saxophone said:
    YNAB sees you spent $30 at Walmart. Press here to set the category.

     Sounds cool, but most payment networks and banks don't have that kind of real-time capability (as of today.) Perhaps your particular card issuer or financial institution supports something like that, but there's no industry-wide standard that a 3rd party like YNAB could leverage and integrate with.

    And even if/when that kind of thing becomes more standard, there are complexities with "auth-only" transactions (e.g. hotel reservations), transactions where the posted dollar amount doesn't match the originally authorized amount (e.g. tips), voided transactions, and a slew of other scenarios where the real-time authorization doesn't match what is ultimately posted to your account. All those things would create extra opportunities for errors and diminish the value of what you're proposing.

    And, as others have repeatedly insisted, automation is not a design-goal for YNAB. The creators (IMO correctly) believe that manual data entry is worthwhile and will lead to greater success in the long run.

    Reply Like
  • Tobias said:
    I guarantee if you just let the import take care of your transactions, you will check your categories far less than if you're in there anyway and seeing exactly what's happening as you enter.

    Yeah, I must admit this is accurate about me. Y'all have convinced me to give manual entry the good 'ole college try, tedious as it may seem.

    Reply Like
  • Won't be renewing my free trial.  Takes far to long and the company seems to have a their way is the best way to use the tool and any user feature requests are ignored.  There are multiple ways to get things done.

    Reply Like 1
      • bevocat
      • Sometimes, It Just Sucks to Be You
      • bevocat
      • 6 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Aquamarine Python Good luck!

      Reply Like
    • Aquamarine Python We're sorry to hear that but we understand if YNAB isn't what you're looking for at the moment. We do take feature requests seriously (our development team logs all of them in a database and codes them so none of them are lost), but I'm sorry it doesn't feel that way. We hope you'll give YNAB another try in the future! :)

      Reply Like
  • I get why you don't automatically import pending transactions, but at the very least, could you at least show pending transactions in the account screen and make it easy for me to manually enter them?

    Because otherwise you're telling me when I do my weekly budget check in, I need to check my 8 accounts independently to make sure my budget is up to date. I get that your philosophy is based on manual entry, but you should also be doing everything to make that manual entry process as easy and painless as possible. Clearly there is value in automating some portion of it, or you never would have implemented automated import to begin with.

    If you just allowed me to see what pending transactions existed, then I could chose which ones are not going to change and I can pull in manually (which to be honest, is the majority of them), and which may change (card holds from gas stations, restaurants with tips, etc., which are edge cases).

    Reply Like 5
    • Lavender Boa  reasonable compromise idea right here!

      Reply Like 3
    • Hi Lavender Boa !

      We're actually looking into this idea! I can't say for certain if, or when, it will be available to all users, but it has been considered as an option. :)

      Reply Like 3
      • WordTenor
      • I arranged the menu, the venue, the seating.
      • WordTenor
      • 2 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Lavender Boa  Hypothetically, would you find it useful if you could see the pending transactions so that you would know the amount, but you still had to manually create a new transaction in order to have the pending transaction affect the budget? 

      Reply Like 1
      • Voracious Reader
      • YNAB broke is not the absence of money, but rather the judgment that it has something more important to do.
      • Orange_Cheetah.3
      • 2 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Faness Please don't make it an option in MY budget. I track manually. If I ever need to see incomplete transactions for any reason, I log into my bank accounts and check them. I don't want all that extra noise stuffing up my reconciliation.

      Just the fact that a recent PayPal transaction processed as two separate debits recently caused me enough headache. I really don't want to play "is this cleared yet?"  with all my line items.

       

      ETA: also I don't see how it saves anyone anything. If you want to reconcile, you have to log into your individual accounts yourself anyway 

      Reply Like 1
    • Voracious Reader I completely understand! While researching, the option to hide pending transactions was also discussed. We're still looking into this option, and while some users want this feature, I'd leave pending transactions out of my personal, too. :)

      Reply Like
    • WordTenor that’s exactly what I was suggesting-just the option to see it, and then I can use that information to decide what to manually pull in or not.

      Reply Like 2
    • Voracious Reader You can’t understand why it saves time having information consolidated in one place rather than across 8 different accounts?

      Again, I’m not asking for it to import anything. Just for the option to have it show pending transactions somewhere. This doesn’t in anyway affect your ability to keep doing things the way you’re doing things. I’m sure there can be an arrow or something that’s minimizes it hides the list if the  presence of pending transactions is overwhelming.

      Reply Like 2
      • Tobias
      • Toviathan
      • 2 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Lavender Boa See, for me, I'm in all of those accounts pretty frequently anyway. I tend to reconcile at least once a week, so I'm there already. And I would rarely need the transactions since I enter everything near immediate anyway. This would be a dummy check feature for me. I would rather be on top of my accounts myself, not have a piece of software doing it all for me where there is too much potential for error.

      I can see the use for it, but also the annoyance. I personally would hate to have any of my account register filled with this information, especially at the beginning of the month when my register is busy enough with my scheduled transactions.

      Reply Like 2
      • Voracious Reader
      • YNAB broke is not the absence of money, but rather the judgment that it has something more important to do.
      • Orange_Cheetah.3
      • 2 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Lavender Boa 

      No, not really. If you are reconciling, you have to open your accounts anyway. So I don't see any benefit to it, especially not if you're only checking in with your budget once per week. If you're only importing and reconciling every 7 days, you pretty much HAVE to use daily manual entry, or how can you use your budget to make decisions about spending? Unless you spend money with far less frequency than I do...which I suspect is unlikely if you are managing eight accounts... I guess I can't envision what it is that you're doing with your budget, other than tracking your spending after it happens.

      But of course it's also possible that you are financially savvy enough that you don't need to interact with your budget daily. I am definitely not! And the longer that I stay in an Extended Stay hotel, the MORE I need to stay very on top of my pennies!!

      Reply Like 2
    • Voracious Reader You are correct, I check my budget on a weekly basis. I check in on Sunday and see how things are tracking for the next few weeks to get a sense of what "nice to haves" I can spend on. The rest of my spending is routine and accounted for. I don't see why daily management is mandatory for budgeting-I've been meeting my savings goals fine with my approach, but I also understand why some like to (or need to) have a "closer" relationship with their budget.

      I guess I'm confused why there is so much push-back on a feature that could make a big difference for some and could be completely ignored by those who don't need it. I don't see how this in any way runs contrary to YNABs philosophy (anymore than automatic import already does).

      Reply Like 2
    • Tobias I feel this is something that could easily be turned off or hidden for those who don't need or want to see it.

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

      Lavender Boa YNAB has said repeatedly that they do not prefer to create settings that users can turn on and off at will.

      Reply Like 1
    • jenmas Ok, filterable. Hidden by default. Marked as "pending". I'm not designing the feature, I'm just providing user feedback. If the die-hard YNAB users disagree, that's fine. I'm just an average user who thought this might be helpful, but I'm not going to take anymore time arguing with super users justifying how I use the tool. YNAB can decide if my feedback fits with their vision for the product or not.

      Reply Like 4
      • WordTenor
      • I arranged the menu, the venue, the seating.
      • WordTenor
      • 2 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Lavender Boa 

      What if you couldn't pull it in? What if it just showed up, but you had to create another transaction, just like you otherwise would, in order to have it affect your budget? Like, you could see that you have a pending transaction for $20 at the grocery store, but it won't be removed from "groceries" until you manually enter a transaction for $20 at the grocery store? Still useful? 

      Reply Like
      • Some Day
      • someday1
      • 2 wk ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Faness I really appreciate you guys looking into this. I would it really useful and the current lag between pending and cleared transactions is making YNAB less useful for me.

      Reply Like 1
    • Voracious Reader
    • YNAB broke is not the absence of money, but rather the judgment that it has something more important to do.
    • Orange_Cheetah.3
    • 2 mths ago
    • Reported - view

    My pushback is based upon:  I think for most people that have to track diligently and daily because they are either on the financial edge and could theoretically overdraft their accounts or are engaged in aggressive debt paydown mode and trying to figure out how they can squeeze out a few more dollars it will be, not a small inconvenience, but a rather large one. It makes it so much harder to eliminate duplicate transactions that pre-auth for a different figure than they clear for. And it's not just restaurants where that happens. If you order online and get several items and they end up shipping separately, many places will send through a preauth for the full amount, but then only clear the items as they ship...resulting in several smaller transactions that could post over as long as several months if you have a back-ordered item.  If you request a grocery pickup service, they will generally build in a few extra dollars in case your apples and pears weigh more than expected and then post the transaction for a different amount. Or you can have an out of stock item. Or you can pay at the pump and get a 1 dollar pre-reserve followed by the actual purchase. Etc, etc, etc. The point is that in every one of these scenarios, you can have the same transaction showing up twice in your bank account, with different dollar figures and dates. Your request would have all those transactions importing to YNAB as well. 

    In short, unless it defaulted to "off" and was not set up in a way that a newer user could inadvertently toggle it, I think it would present a huge obstacle to the very people that need YNAB the most. I also suspect if you typically only look at your spending once a week, you might not be noticing how often the transactions post for different amounts in your own accounts, since you're probably almost exclusively viewing cleared transactions. You might not enjoy this feature as much as you think you would if you actually had to deal with it.

    Reply Like
    • Voracious Reader you can push back based on your experience, that's fine. I'm just providing my point of view. YNAB can decide what they think based on all of their user research. I'm very comfortable with my budgeting approach, and I know this is something that I would find useful. It's fine that you don't agree.

      Reply Like 2
  • I've been following this conversation for a while. I, too, would like to see YNAB pull in pending charges in as real a time as possible, with the option to approve them or let them stay pending until further activity occurs. What I find strange about this conversation is that when someone new, who is trying to make YNAB work for themselves, steps up and asks for this feature, YNAB die-hards rise up and expert-splain the newcomer to "help" them see that that's not how YNAB is supposed to work. Well, I've been using YNAB for eight months now, and I still want it to import pending charges--whether that option is the default one or I need to change the settings to make it do so. But the larger point is that I get the impression that YNAB wants to expand, and I don't think that it's good customer service to only listen to early adopters. I think if you want to reach/satisfy the group of people who isn't using YNAB yet, you need to make it work in some ways like the things that non-users are used to using in other arenas online--which is to say, responsive in real time. Yes. Mint. If you sneer at Mint, how are you ever going to expand beyond the small niche of true believers? If you ignore/alienate newbies because "that's not how YNAB works" then you're never going to expand your pool of users and you're never going to develop the tool so that it meets the needs of the largest number of people. 

    Reply Like 2
      • bevocat
      • Sometimes, It Just Sucks to Be You
      • bevocat
      • 2 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Goodlandmama Your point is well-taken, but there is another possibility. People (like me) can come seeking answers for how to make YNAB exhibit Mint-like behavior, patiently learn, and then choose to change the way they look at it and practice budgeting since the way it was before clearly wasn't working for them.

      Reply Like 2
  • No one has made a convincing--to me--case that entering things manually is a crucial part of the system, and that claim is nowhere up front in YNAB's marketing materials. Nor do I have any personal experience that tells me that it is, either. And if you had to choose between someone doing YNAB without manual entry or someone getting frustrated and not doing YNAB at all, I think we'd both agree that offering YNAB with pending events showing and thus no manual entry requirement is better than losing someone altogether. I think if you survey the general population, ease of use is so important that purposefully inducing frustration in order to force someone to learn something of questionable value (manual entry) is not a good strategy if you want to expand your users. I can see the value of YNAB. I will use it either way, but I don't think that holds for most people who are initially drawn to the system. It is these people who YNAB needs to retain if they want to grow. I am an unusual user, but so are you. Patient learning is, unfortunately, in short supply. 

    Reply Like 2
      • Herman
      • herman
      • 2 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Goodlandmama The people providing feedback that you don't need or explaining why you don't/shouldn't want pending transactions are not trying to sell you ynab.  They are users that frankly don't care if you use ynab or not.

      Reply Like
    •  Hi Goodlandmama ! Importing transactions is one of the options we offer to bring in transactions. Entering transactions yourself in the web app or mobile apps, and File-Based Importing are the others!

      As you've heard, lots of YNABers don't use importing at all and they're still able to have and use an awesome budget. Which method you use is up to you! We're looking into pending transactions being available, and can't make any promises on if, or when, it will be available—but it is being considered.

      Data aggregation is imperfect. It’s an unfortunate truth, but it’s a truth nonetheless. It’s expected that there will be bumps in the road, and while we do everything we possibly can to fix connection issues as quickly as possible, it’s just not something we have the power to eliminate (and trust me, we really wish we did).

      That's why you see manual entry recommended so highly. When you're not waiting for transactions to come in, it helps you be more hands-on with your budget. This takes prioritizing, awareness, and decision making to the next level—which can help you succeed with the  YNAB Method.

      Reply Like 1
  • I get that. But thanks for the explanation. Because maybe I couldn't have figured that out for myself. But also, you may have noticed that YNAB reads the feedback. That's why I'm speaking to them. They are my audience. 

    Reply Like 1
      • bevocat
      • Sometimes, It Just Sucks to Be You
      • bevocat
      • 2 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Goodlandmama If you do more reading on here, you will see that they (YNAB) do not consider direct import a core functionality. Given that, they expect that the default behavior is manual entry at the point of purchase/transaction. Those folks who are going to get frustrated and give up because pending transactions don't import are really going to lose their *ahem* if direct import is not working at all for some reason (which happens with alarming frequency, so this is not at all an edge case).  And YNAB is totally cool with the fact that there are problems with DI all the time (well, they're working on it, but they'll be the first to tell you it's meant to be a backup to your manual entries); after all, most of the world doesn't even have direct import available.

      IF they can offer importing pendings as a strictly optional proposition, I'm all for it.

      Reply Like
      • Herman
      • herman
      • 2 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Goodlandmama I'll provide you with the likely ynab response(paraphrased)  "Thanks for that great feedback!  We love to hear what interests our users.  Please submit a feature request"

      Reply Like 1
    • Goodlandmama I replied to you up above, but as our friends have mentioned—submitting a Feature Request is a great move!

      We do have folks (like myself) to help out in the Forum, but we collect feedback via that form—so it can be collected in our system, and ends up in the hands of the right people! 😀

      Reply Like
  • Nicole Perhaps there is a middle ground here. It seems that some users are adamant that they do not want pending transactions enabled, while others are feel just as strongly about the opposite.

    I havent seen many (if any of these) but have you considered making this an account level setting? That way if you want to enable the download of pending transactions, theres a switch you can flip to enable it.

    I get that currently this goes against YNAB's methodology, but as times change methodology's should too. You want users to be engaged with their budget, so the problem seems to be: how do we get users to engage with their budget & money? The solution to this can have many answers but its the problem you should focus on, not the answers. If you fixate on the solution and sticking to the solution, you risk being left behind. 

    Think of it this way, 200 years ago imagine someone said "I want a way to get from the East to West coast as fast as I can." At the time, the solution was a horse. If we never re-evaluate the solution to that problem, we'd be stuck riding horses to get everywhere. As times changed so did the answer to the problem: horse, train, car, airplane, who knows what is next?

    How can we get users to engage more with their budgets? Technology these days is automating everything. Just because it is easy doesnt mean you're betraying your principles. Users can still be engaged with their money and budget if they import pending transactions.

    Just some thoughts for you to consider

    Reply Like 4
    • Hi Icestorm0141 ! Sorry for the delayed response here! We're looking into the possibility of importing pending transactions. This isn't a guaranteed future feature but, if we do implement it—we have confirmed that it will be an option users can toggle on or off.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this! If you’d like to send this off for consideration to our product team, please submit a Feature Request. 🙂

      Reply Like 2
  • I would love to have Pending Transactions as an option too! Just show them what they are and let me Manually Add them, with just a click of a button!🙂

    Reply Like 3
  • Too lazy to read through 82 replies on this topic, but I'll say this: If direct import stops being a reliable source of data and I have to carefully validate every imported txn against my bank statement, then I'm done with YNAB. It won't be worth the cost or hassle anymore.

    Frankly, after 3 years (!!!) of an unresolved Stealing from the Future bug, I have a pretty low opinion of YNAB's ability to implement a robust and reliable import solution that automatically handles all the complexities with authorization holds, reversals, adjustments, etc. Would love to be proven wrong, but not holding my breath.

    Moving from YNAB 4 to YNAB has forced me to adopt a bunch of clumsy workarounds to accomplish things that used to be easier. Manual workflows for "living on last month's income" and tracking reimbursements, extra category bloat to compensate for the lack of future-dated transactions, and various other annoyances. One of the only bright spots has been the convenience and reliability of direct import -- it's been a huge time saver, and so reliable that I only reconcile monthly (and I've only had one discrepancy in 2+ years.)

    Please don't screw this up, YNAB.

    Reply Like
    • Hi bret !

      We're still mulling over implementing pending transactions as an available feature. If we do, it will be optional and shouldn't interfere with the way transactions currently import! :)

      Reply Like 2
      • Some Day
      • someday1
      • 13 days ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Faness  I appreciate YNAB trying to accommodate those users who would appreciate a much more real-time view of their finances :)

      Reply Like 2
  • Faness Nicole Do you have any updates or timelines to share? This idea was originally posted almost a year ago. Please hurry up! Thanks!

    Reply Like 1
      • jenmas
      • jenmas
      • 7 days ago
      • Reported - view

      Some Day speed is not something I would expect from YNAB. They still haven't managed to fix Stealing From the Future that has existed since the soft launch in late 2015. Besides they haven't even said that they are actually going to implement the feature.

      Reply Like
      • Some Day
      • someday1
      • 7 days ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      jenmas I understand. I love YNAB, but unless they are responsive to my needs, I will switch to another product.

      Reply Like 1
      • Herman
      • herman
      • 7 days ago
      • Reported - view

      Some Day I'd go ahead and switch then. 

      Reply Like
      • Some Day
      • someday1
      • 7 days ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Herman Nice try, hah! SaaS software is supposed to evolve and improve over time. Myself and others would love to have new features like importing pending transactions. We're not going anywhere.

      Reply Like 1
      • WordTenor
      • I arranged the menu, the venue, the seating.
      • WordTenor
      • 7 days ago
      • Reported - view

      Some Day If you stick around this board, and even more so, the YNAB facebook group, you'll see one of the major issues facing import of pending transactions, which is that a large number of people literally have no idea that a working balance and a cleared balance are not the same thing.  Run a search for "reconciliation," and you'll see the number of people who cannot manage to match their cleared balances, don't realize they should be matching cleared balances, and have no sense of the idea that a pending transaction needs to be treated differently than a cleared one. This is of course in no way helped by the support materials and the UI which suggest that just punching the "make an adjustment" button is the right solution. Many, many people in this day and age, perhaps even a majority, have never balanced a checkbook. This is why banks used to be able to entrap people into overdraft fees--they would show the cleared balance, people would use the cleared balance for spending, and then overdraft because they weren't taking into account pending transactions. 

      Sure, some of us understand how this all works. If I look at my pending transactions from my day trip out of town yesterday, I know that my coffee at McDonald's is correct, that the $1 charge from Shell was actually more like $20 , that lunch was paid for on a Square device and included the tip, and the $22 for dinner was pre-tip. But a lot of people, given the option, would just click on all four of those transactions and go "approve!" and then wonder why Dining Out is overstated by $5 and Gas overstated by $20. This would make YNAB useless. 

      Yes, YNAB could and should do more teaching about personal finance. But the level of PF knowledge in the general population is frighteningly low, and while YNAB does help a large number of people learn and understand more, this particular issue has always been a problem for them. Since the venn diagram of people who don't understand pending vs. cleared and the people who want YNAB to automate every last little thing is probably close to a circle, this would be a dangerous addition to the software.  If you're on top of this stuff enough to know which pending transactions you'd need to change, you're on top of it enough to not need them downloaded in the first place. 

      Reply Like
      • Some Day
      • someday1
      • 7 days ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      WordTenor Thanks for your perspective here. It's very useful and appreciated.

      A lot of my of my pending charges would be useful to show up early in YNAB. I hate the lag which can be 2-3 business days and the idea of always manually entering transactions is not appealing to me.

      Reply Like 1
    • Some Day We aren't able to offer a timeline for future features. This thread is a year old, but testing the option to import pending transactions is fairly new (within the last couple of months). We've received quite a bit of feedback from our beta testers and, if we move forward with this feature, we'd need time to make further improvements and adjustments. It's still in consideration, but we can't make any promises just yet. :)

      Reply Like 1
    • Faness How does one volunteer to become a beta tester?

      Reply Like 1
      • Herman
      • herman
      • 3 days ago
      • Reported - view

      Some Day Guess it was just another empty threat to leave.

      Reply Like
    • Goodlandmama While we are not looking for beta testers at this time, we really appreciate your interest in helping out!

      Reply Like
      • Some Day
      • someday1
      • 2 days ago
      • Reported - view

      Goodlandmama Faness I would love to become a beta tester too. Beta testers could just create a "Test Budget" where they enable this new setting without messing with their real budget.

      Reply Like
    • Some Day Currently, we're not looking for beta testers, but if that changes we'll make an announcement. 

      Reply Like
  • Thanks. I'm wondering if a link to forum rules is in order? It seems to me that you want to create a friendly atmosphere here, where everyone is welcome to share their opinions, but not where the--say--taunting of other participants is encouraged? 

    Reply Like
    • Goodlandmama The Community Guidelines can be found here. If you feel a post that violates those guidelines, you can click the three dots in the top right corner of a post—to report it. And we'll look closer. 🙂

      Reply Like
    • Nicole Thanks! These look great. I'm hoping everyone will review them. It feels like things sometimes veer away from treating other people with respect and discussing the topic, not the person. Hope they can get back on track. :)

      Reply Like
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