Credit Card Balance Never Matches

Every month I have an issue with one of my credit card balances never matching up in YNAB.  I pay all of my cards in full at the end of each month, there's never a balance left over yet YNAB never can quite capture the correct balance.  This past month my balance in YNAB for my main credit card was $315.40 greater than the actual balance due on the the CC.  I checked all of my charges against what was recored in YNAB and checked through past months budgets to see if I over budgeted anywhere.  I could not find the difference. So I did a reconciliation to get YNAB's balance to the correct balance and recorded a payment.  Now the CC in YNAB has a positive balance of 315.40, which is inaccurate.  Any ideas on how to correct? 

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  • How did you do the reconciliation ??  Did you enter a payment that didn’t happen in real life??

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    • satcook I used the reconcile account function on YNAB. Once I determined I couldn't find any relating charges, YNAB entered an adjustment transaction for $315.40. 

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      • satcook
      • satcook
      • 5 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Spring Green Memory it sounds like you didn’t need to enter the adjustment transaction if your account is not positive that amount. I would delete the adjustment transaction and reconcile again

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

    The most likely culprit is that you are reconciling to the wrong number. 
    But that is me making a lot of assumptions about what you mean by “balance in YNAB” (account, or category?) and “pay in full” (to zero, or the statement balance)? 

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    • WordTenor I mean account balance in YNAB not category and paid in full as in zero, not to statement balance. 

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  • Your bank may be including pending transactions in the balance you give to YNAB.

    Also, it's not clear whether you're talking about the YNAB account balance or the payment category Available. (The category should cover the entire account balance for a paid-in-full card.)

    Lastly, there is some ambiguity with your phrase, "balance due". The balance due is the statement balance, which is the account balance in the closing date. This will be different than the account balance today if you've since used the card. Are you wanting to pay the statement balance or the account balance as of your payment date?

    Sorry for what may seem like unnecessary distinctions. These have been frequently misunderstood by others in the past, and I just want to get you completely sorted.

    Like 2
    • dakinemaui Understood. I made sure not to include pending transaction when determining how much to pay towards the card. I'm talking about the YNAB account balance for that credit card.  I paid the account balance as of today which did not include transaction that had not posted yet.

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  • Bottom line is either the value you provide to YNAB's Reconcile function is off, or the total of cleared transactions is not accurate. It's fine to have to make an adjustment once, but if it's happening thereafter, there's a process issue. Issues I've seen before:

    • Pending transactions included in the balance from the bank website. I've also seen banks change the balance shown from the actual cleared to be cleared+pending. So what used to work just fine now doesn't.
    • Clearing a transaction that doesn't exactly match. I know, sounds obvious, but it's easy to transpose or not check the final digits as closely. Import (direct or file-based) fixes this problem quite well, and FBI is my go-to option on my primary CC (typically more than 10 transactions to clear).
    • Systematically going down YNAB's list looking for matches on the statement / website.
    • Clearing everything as a matter of course. There are entire threads about people who want YNAB to change this to the default.
    • Not clearing anything.
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  • I suppose there's one question that's not been asked: is your account linked for Direct Import? I've been assuming that you are manually entering all transactions and manually clearing things.

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  • Hey Spring Green Memory   Did you ever make any headway with this? The exact same thing is happening to me. Some pertinent info, for comparison sake:

    • We pay our card in full every month—to zero,  not statement balance.
    • We use direct import in YNAB and don't enter anything manually.
    • Our credit card total does include pending transactions but also totals those for us, so we always subtract those before comparing to the YNAB balance (since they aren't showing in YNAB yet).

    So for this month, the difference between the CC total minus pending transactions is $130.48 lower than the YNAB total... so that makes me think that there's some kind of extra transaction in YNAB to account for the difference, but there's no transaction matching that amount—and we also don't enter anything manually, so that makes no sense. Would love some help or input! Doing adjustments like this every month doesn't seem like the desired outcome.

    Like 1
      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 1 mth ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      wcb could have imported an inflow instead of outflow. Import sometimes has glitches.

      Also, there is a 15 day window on import. If you don't log in more often than that, you can miss transactions.

      Regardless, you should reconcile and make an adjustment transaction if you can't (or don't want to) find the cause of the discrepancy.

      Like 1
    • wcb so I found that there were two reasons why this kept happening to me. One of them was a credit my cc had given me for a disputed charge a few months back. It never showed up as an actual transaction on my cc or YNAB which was why I kept missing it. Another reason is because there were transactions I hadn’t budgeted for in past months that I hadn’t realized. So I went back and looked at each month just to make sure each transaction was properly covered. At the end of the month I’ve found things can get wonky. You may already have moved to next months budget but there’s a late transaction that has posted to last months budget you haven’t accounted for, so it’s helpful just to go back and make sure. 

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      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 1 mth ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

       You make an excellent point that late-month overspending is easily missed, which leaves the CC Payment category short. This wouldn't cause the account balance discrepancies wcb is seeing.

      The account balance needs to be fixed first. Then any issues in the budget can be addressed. 

      Like 1
      • wcb
      • wcb
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      dakinemaui Thanks for these thoughts—we're definitely logging in multiple times a week and had been in a good system for a while with no changes (and have already gone through and matched every transaction to our statement), so it's definitely inflow. It just seems like doing a manual adjustment every month seems wrong... we had to do one last month too.

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      • wcb
      • wcb
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      Spring Green Memory Hmm interesting. Yeah, I wouldn't think that the credit card payment category would have anything to do with it, since it does seem to be the account balance itself, like dakinemaui mentions. Thanks so much for sharing those details though. We often do have unbudgeted spending that we cover at the end of the month, so we'll fully close out August and compare again.

      We decided to let the dust settle and see what happens—we paid it in full yesterday and we're going to try to make no additional charges for a few days to let all of the pending ones come through and they double check it again.

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