Credit card balance doesn't equal payment amount available
I'm wondering why in YNAB my credit card balance is not the same as the amount in the Payment field (upper right corner of web app, just to left of Reconcile button). My credit card balance in YNAB matches up with my online credit card account, but is $128.50 more than what's in the Payment field.
Shouldn't these figures be the same?
Hi there! As you know, if you pay your credit card in full, you should have the exact amount in the Credit Card Payment category that you need to pay the working balance down to zero.
If those two amounts don't match, you know you have some investigating to do, and there are four scenarios that are the likely culprit.
These two are the most common:
- Overspending. Look for any credit overspending in your budget in the current month, previous months, or in any Hidden Categories at the very bottom of your budget. If you have credit overspending that you never budgeted to pay back, the amount “Available” for your payment will be lower than the balance you owe. Budget to make up that difference!
- Starting Balance. If you have an outstanding balance on a credit card when you set it up in YNAB, and do not budget for it in the Credit Card Payments category, you’ll end up without enough in the Credit Card Payment category to pay your account balance in full. Budgeting for that Starting Balance in your Credit Card Payment category lets your budget know you plan to take some of the money you have and use it to pay off that existing balance. Here’s a video with more details on how this works.
These two happen less frequently:
- Overpayment. If your payment creates a positive balance on a card, the positive balance is treated like cash and is added to To be Budgeted. You might not have noticed those funds show up in To be Budgeted and given them another job, but budgeting them directly to the Credit Card Payment category will bring it back into balance.
- Inflows. Your payment amount might be low if you have any return/refund inflows that you categorized back to a spending category. The inflow removed money from the credit card Payment and put it back into the original spending category. Depending on the timing of when this happened in relation to your credit card payment, and your other credit card spending, you may need to move money back to the Credit Card Payment category to make up the difference.
For all of the scenarios above, the solution is ultimately to budget or move money directly to the Credit Card Payment category until the Available number matches the full balance you owe. If you don’t have any dollars To be Budgeted, you'll need to move it there from other categories.
Let me know if that helps you track down the culprit in your budget. I'm happy to work with you on it until we get all of your questions answered and your budget and credit cards are running nice and smoothly!