Importing loan interest weirdness

So my local credit union has a weird setup, when they charge interest on my credit card or on my auto loan they do not add a dedicated line item deducting the interest charge, instead when the payment is applied part goes directly to the interest and the remaining amount goes to principal and is imported to ynab as the total payment amount. The result of this is that when the payment gets imported the balance in ynab becomes incorrect by the amount of the interest charge, and I have to manually add a line item for the interest charge to get things back in sync.

Now I know when I login to my account the payment transaction includes a break down, see picture. So in theory this same information is available to ynab's import provider. So the question is is this: is this info ignored by ynab on import or is it ignored by the import provider and not even given to ynab?  If it is the former is there any way to get ynab to see the interest amount and make a separate transaction for that?

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  • Hi Slate Blue Sander ! The transaction data we receive is  the total payment amount. When you make the payment, you can set up a split,  Scheduled Transaction, to show the breakdown. And when it imports, your scheduled transaction will match up with the imported one!
     

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    • Nicole its not manually entered at all that's the problem.  Sure if I manually enter it I can do whatever I need to.

      Like
      • TheTabby
      • Just a common cat trying to budget uncommonly well.
      • TheTabby
      • 5 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Slate Blue Sander that's what everyone's getting at.   Since the credit union is only sending a single line item of the total payment, if you want to have the interest reflected, you'll have to manually enter it.

      For what it's worth, that's exactly what I do.  I have two scheduled transactions in my wife's car loan account.  One is the transfer from her checking account, which is the total payment.  The second is for the interest, and it's all filled out except for the amount, which I can't fill out until the payment clears. 

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

      TheTabby I do the same. Well, I do one transaction with a split.

      Like
    • eloquentz
    • Numbers Wizard (Accountant), Acoustic Artist (Musician) and Jill of all Trades (Wife & Mother)
    • eloquentz
    • 5 mths ago
    • Reported - view

    I consider my loan payment as my expense for the week/month and use the tracking accounts to maintain a decreasing balance owing on various debts. I simply make adjusting entries every so often that I label as "principal payment" and watch the balance decrease.

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    • WordTenor that post embodies the biggest single issue with ynab right there. Their were right and you're wrong do it this way or else mentality. 

      There best argument against it is having too many accounts to reconcile. But its auto imported from my bank and therefore does not need to be reconciled so that's really a moot point on my case...if the importing would work correctly.

      Secondly if I didn't track the auto loan I'd still have this issue on my credit card too or let me guesss...they have a blog post about how you shouldn't have any credit cards.

      My trial is ending in a couple of weeks I think I will kist move all my stuff over to another budgeting app before then.

      Like
      • mhornak
      • technologist
      • mhornak
      • 5 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Slate Blue Sander - couldn't disagree more.   Where did it say you were doing it wrong?  The post from WordTenor is pointing out reasons not to track those types of things.  You can still track them in YNAB, but wouldn't that energy be better spent on the 4 rules, making decisions and doing actionable things with your money?

      Like
    • mhornak yes I did read it but you dont have to get that far. Even the title is Pete tuous we know better than you when it says: Why You THINK You Want To Track Your Car Loan in YNAB But YOU Don’t Really Want To (emphasis added, so you can see what I mean)  I can assure you that I DO for my own reasons.

      The gist is dont do it it's bad and wrong. But it's not bad or good. Right or wrong it either works for you or it doesn't. Ynabs stance is too one sided. And for me I am firmly on the other side. 

      But the real problem isn't the blog post, its ynab pigeon holes every user into one way of doing things that may or may not work for that user.  If you need some examples I would gladly post some but I think you'll know exactly what I mean.

      I am not alone in seeing it this way. I could see very early on in my trial this IS ynabs reputation and after approximately 75 days or using ynab everyday (ok not everyday but often) I see evidence of the truth behind that reputation.

      There are some things that they need to be uncompromising on, like budgeting only the money you have. That's core to the product and the identity, also that is what sets ynab apart from every other budgeting system I've seen and I like that about it, but whether or not to track an auto loan? Seriously??? There are pros and cons and what weighs more for one user will not be the same as another and so to take a stance that THIS is the way you need to do it is counterproductive and alienates users.  Frankly it's bad business.

      Like
    • Hi Slate Blue Sander !

      There's no denying that we're big fans of simplifying. Here at YNAB, we’re always looking for ways to make your life easier. When it comes to tracking your auto loan, we recommend saving yourself the work and just budgeting for the full payment each month. That blog post mentioned above outlines a few reasons why! 😉

      Ultimately, you're the boss of your budget, and can certainly add the auto loan if you choose to do so! Here's a little more information on tracking loans—you'll want to look at Method #2.

      For importing, the data we receive from our import partner is limited to that full payment amount of $127.31. So if you want to track the interest, you'll need to enter the amount.

      Let me know if you have any questions!

      Like
    • Nicole too bad it's too one sided. It doesn't really show some reasons why you might want to. In fact the reason I have it tracked is to automate tracking the cost (interest) using bank importing, which is quite simple because its automated, when it works...hence the problem.

      It's just a technical incompatibility with how the bank records the transaction and how you import it.  But to say You're doing it wrong you're not supposed to tack that helps nobody.

      Like
      • mhornak
      • technologist
      • mhornak
      • 5 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Slate Blue Sander - You are set in your ways and will not be OK with their philosophy, and that is fine.  They never said you are wrong and we are right, you seem to be inferring that in the post.  He is providing you a means to keep it simple as Nicole said.

      Don't embrace it and track the loan.   You. Can. Do. That!  Or find something else that works better for you. 

      These uncompromising philosophies are straight out BaseCamp's Rework and Work Doesn't Have To Be Crazy.  Worth a read...

      Like 1
    • mhornak first off that is exactly what they are saying and to claim otherwise is just being dishonest about it. I call it what it is.

      I dont care about their "philosophy" as you call it. I'm using a peice of software not joining a cult.

      There any many legitimate reasons to track it. And it doesn't have to be at the cost of keeping it simple as I've already pointed out.  If the import works right it's a net zero add to complexity after linking the account and gains slot of useful visiblity.

      Like
      • mhornak
      • technologist
      • mhornak
      • 5 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Slate Blue Sander - joining a cult, that's a good one!  😂

      Like 1
      • Superbone
      • YNAB convert since 2008
      • Superbone
      • 5 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Slate Blue Sander This is silly. The choice is yours. You can track it or not. YNAB won't stop you. That's like, you know, just their opinion. (paraphrasing The Big Lebowski.)

      Like 3
    • mhornak spoken like a true cult member....🤔

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      • Superbone
      • YNAB convert since 2008
      • Superbone
      • 5 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Slate Blue Sander LOL. Whatever you do, don't drink the kool-aid!

      Like 1
      • jamesx4
      • Software Engineer
      • jamesx4
      • 5 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

       So this horse has been beaten to death, but here's one more thwack!

      Jesse makes some good points in his article, but also asks the question, why do you want to track that debt/loans?  Well, here my why...

      If you've been working your butt off to pay down debt it can be very useful to have some "situational awareness" with your finances.  Say you're close to paying a couple of debts off, but you're draggin', looking for that next cool drink of motivation.  Boom!  You get a bonus or you had a great garage sale...now what are you going to do with all that money? 

      Sure I can jump around to all the various lender websites, digging up passwords I've forgotten, dealing with all the new multi-factor authentication texts and emails, etc.,  finally, gathering up all my current balances...but that sort of interrupts my budget planning mindset.  How nice is it to just look in YNAB and see all my accounts in one place so I can plan my attack on this ghastly debt?!  You have that "situational awareness" to know where to throw that money to get the biggest bang for your motivational buck!  Perhaps, you can knock out a couple of small debts and get them off your radar, completely!   For me, it's well worth the (very) little extra work to keep those tracking accounts accurate.  

      Second, albeit, a minor reason...the Net Worth Report is hardly worth having if you're not considering your debt and retirement accounts.  

      As many have said, the option's yours and what may be worthwhile to some may not be worthwhile for all.  It's a personal budget, which is....you know, personal.

      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
      • 5 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Slate Blue Sander 

      I don't have a dog in this fight, but as someone that has worked customer service in both insurance and banking, I suspect that your financial institution does not provide the importer folks the same information about your interest that they provide to you. That information could allow someone to infer things about your interest rate, loan information, and credit score and could very likely be considered a privacy violation. 

      I admit I am incredibly new and have to bite my tongue when I find myself preaching with the fervor of the newly converted, where you clearly have had your act together for a long time and have your preferred way of doing things, but I theorize (based upon nothing more than some of the privacy guidelines that we were trained on) that this MAY be an issue where it's not that YNAB's partner won't cooperate but they can't.

      As always, it is possible that I am completely off base, and you have had it tracked the way you want by other software, in which case, you can, of course, ignore! :)

      Like
    • Voracious Reader its possible but I doubt it. I bank with a small local credit union so I imagine the direct import probably just uses screen scraping to login just as I do and take the resulting html and parse it. But I could be wrong.  Certainly there is no reason it couldn't be provided, Capital One for example lists interest as a regular line item which gets imported without issue.  I suspect it's just a technical limitation with the importers implementation that they could fix, if they wanted to.

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

      Slate Blue Sander Capital One actually posts interest as a charge on your account, which is why it can be grabbed. Your credit union is just sandwiching the information into the memo of your transaction for the payment. The import can only take the basic line details, and your interest isnt included in that. That is 100% on your CU's side, and there is nothing YNAB or their import partner can do about that.

      Like 2
    • Tobias you mean they won't do it. They could change how to import the data but they won't

      Like
      • Tobias
      • Toviathan
      • 5 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Slate Blue Sander Try any other software that does direct import (like Mint) and see if they do any better. Imports like this grab transaction data, that's it. If your interest isn't treated like a transaction by your financial institute, then an import can't grab it. They aren't logging directly into your actual account to get your transaction data. Your bank/credit union just gives them access to read-only data of the basics of the transactions (date, merchant name, amount). How can they give you data they don't have and that your bank isn't sharing.

      YNAB direct import isn't perfect, but the key functionality of it works as any other import feed would. But you've already decided to be offended and angry, so have fun with that. As it has already been pointed out to you, doing what you want the system to do is actually very easy and doable. You just didn't like the answer.

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

      Tobias Looks like for my car loan, Mint does something even worse; the loan transaction shows the principal and the checking account it draws from shows the whole amount, and the interest is just... in the ether? And while testing this, I discovered they're having an issue with American Express cards not reporting the correct balance; the current activity since last statement is being reported as the current balance(!), so that reaffirms my conclusion from 3.5 years ago that Mint doesn't work for my needs anymore. Hopefully Slate Blue Sander has better luck!

      Like
      • Tobias
      • Toviathan
      • 5 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      bevocat Does your car loan account (the account itself) post the full payment as a transaction (like above) or just the principal amount?

      And that all just demonstrates to me that no matter where you go, direct bank importing will never be perfect. Mint has the leverage of Intuit, one of, if not the biggest bank importer on the market. And they still can't get it right 100% of the time outside of basic checking transactions. Speaking as someone who has worked in the back of the house at a bank, everything is reliant on the software the bank itself uses for their internal accounting, and how it is set up to interface with the customers. People would be surprised that for a lot of the regional banks and credit unions, those systems are all ancient and being held together with chewing gum and spit.

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

      Tobias I'm not sure exactly what you're asking. If I log on to the CU's site and look at the account, I see one transaction for the full payment amount, and then the interest/principal split is information in the transaction details. It doesn't import into YNAB, because it's a tracked account. I have a scheduled transaction in my checking account that is a split with the last month's principal and interest, and when the transaction posts, I go and look up the split and correct the transaction accordingly.

      Of course, all of that busywork would be solved if I would just not insist to have everything so tracked to the last detail. I could just have a car loan category (which of course I already have), not have an account at all for the car loan, and record the full payment amount as an expense every month. But I don't, because I don't mind the busywork and I like data.

      Like
    • bevocat I couldn't even bring myself to try mint. But I'm a firm believer that if you aren't paying for the product you are the product.

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

      bevocat That answered my question, so the CU posts the payment like in the OP where it shows the full amount, but interest is more of a vague memo that just lets you know what's happening behind the scenes. So it's the same, and Mint has the same problems that YNAB does. That's basically what I was looking for.

      Like
    • Tobias precisely why I said I'm sure the i.porter just does a screen scrape as I doubt the bank offers an API. Which does mean the importer can see the breakdown I do. But that would require extra work on their end to capture that.

      Like
      • 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
      • 5 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Tobias 

      People would be surprised that for a lot of the regional banks and credit unions, those systems are all ancient and being held together with chewing gum and spit.

      I wouldn't be surprised. Regional insurance (and some not so regional) carriers were doing the same thing for a long, long time. Even the systems that got a nice pretty overlay of their customer facing stuff (and even that wasn't a high priority for many of them) still had agents working in the computer equivalent of an abacus! 

      Like
      • jamesx4
      • Software Engineer
      • jamesx4
      • 5 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Voracious Reader Just noticed your tag line...love it!!

      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
      • 5 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      jamesx4 

      Thank you! I was reading a YNAB discussion on another board one day and people were trying to explain YNAB broke to someone and suddenly the old FDR quote popped into my head. 

      Like
  • Slate Blue Sander said:
    the reason I have it tracked is to automate tracking the cost (interest) using bank importing, which is quite simple because its automated, when it works.

     I wanted to add a quick caveat that this is how direct import is currently designed to work. For now, loans and investment accounts have to be manually updated to account for interest or other changes. We highly recommend reconciling all accounts, even those using direct import, to make sure your accounts are up to date. Direct import is meant to be a safety net, while manual entry is the best means for maintaining an account.

    While we do want to help steer you in the right direction, we know that one approach won't work best for everyone. I'm sorry you found that blog post pretentious - it was only meant to help.

    We understand YNAB isn't for everyone and that's okay! If at the end of your trial you decide to go a different route, we still wish you well on your budgeting journey! :)

    Like
    • Faness helpful would be a list of pros and cons to each approach that's allow the user to think about aspects they might not on their own and decide what is right for them. That blog post is just says this is what you really want to do...and I can assure you that no that is not what I really want to do.

      Like
    • Slate Blue Sander We do have other resources that discuss tracking accounts. The The How and Why of Tracking Accounts article has more of the Pros and Cons approach you mentioned. The previous article is parsed specifically to discuss why you might not want to use tracking accounts, while other resources discuss both sides of the coin.

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