"Pending Transactions" import feature breaking my budget
I have not posted in quite a while, but this new Pending Transactions feature is breaking my reconciliation process. I just sent the message below to the help email, but thought I'd share here and see if anyone has a similar experience.
It appears to be a new feature, so if not familiar here's the help topic: https://www.youneedabudget.com/pending-transactions/
I just started my daily morning check/import of my bank transaction in YNAB. I found the new “Pending Transactions” feature and it seems to have completely broken my reconciliation process.
I have already, for years even before YNAB, had the habit of recording my pending transactions for exactly the reasons you seemed to have implemented this “feature.” Then when I download new transactions, generally the new posted transactions will match my entered transactions, be marked as cleared, and I click reconcile and am finished. Then I compare any of the few remaining pending transactions in my bank window with YNAB and add any missing transactions. Occasionally 1 or 2 transactions get to posted before I enter them, and they get pulled in accordingly. These are easy to spot and recognize. Repeat the next day.
Now I see three things:
- Some items that are in my “posted” window but not in YNAB have imported as “pending transactions” even though they have posted.
- Items that I have recorded in YNAB but are still pending in my bank are marked as matched, even though they have not yet posted.
- NOTHING is marked as “cleared” automatically, the most important benefit of the transaction download process.
Combined this has changed at most a few minutes of my day and made it into a manual chore that I was using YNAB to eliminate. I now have to evaluate each transaction to determine which is posted or pending and determine it’s cleared status. This used to be automatic.
I was hopeful when the help document had a section on if I don’t like it, but it appears all I can do is hide that section. I want to actively turn it off so my bank transactions come in as they used to. If that feature exits I cannot find it.
Generally I’ve like YNAB since the move to web and have adapted to many of the changes, but this fundamentally changes how transaction import works to a point where it is all but useless to me. Is there any way to turn this feature OFF!
I was just granted Pending Transaction functionality 2 days ago. It's kinda better than I expected, but now my eyes are darting all around figuring out what is cleared, pending, manually entered, matched, or just imported. I'm so used to mindlessly approving matches and categorizing anything that came in that I missed, that now I'm like, woah, they charged me already?? Did it ship?? Oh it has a clock thingy. Oh it's gray, that must be the one I entered. I'm hoping the my cross eyes adjust as my workflow does, so that I can take advantage of the feature without hiding it.
I turned off DI more than a month ago, for other reasons, so I don't know how this works vs how it's supposed to work, but I keep hearing some people (YNAB support) say "You can minimize the pending section, and ignore it" and other people are saying, "It's asking me to confirm/match pending transactions every day anyway." Which is true? From the original explanation, it sounds like minimizing the pending section would (should) let you ignore it, but it doesn't sound like that's the case. If that is true, what's the point of minimizing that section, if it's still going to ask you to confirm them all?
I'm almost tempted to turn DI back on, just to see how annoying it actually is, and if my understanding is right. But if so, then why keep suggesting that closing that section is an answer, if it asks anyway?
I almost took and posted a screenshot last night of my Amazon account. A whole slew of transactions came in around midnight, just as all my scheduled Subscribe and Save transactions entered, plus a bunch of random Christmas gifts I had manually entered (and some I forgot to), and some pending transactions that matched or didn't match depending on marketplace or change to subscribe & save price.
It really looked hilarious. It'll be fine, but you gotta laugh at how insane it suddenly makes an otherwise pretty tidy looking account screen. And seriously, anyone who properly manually enters their transactions at or around POS will be constantly matching pending transactions left and right. Right now I have 11 little clocks in my Amazon account, and even if I wanted to hide them, I can't. If collapsing the Pending area is the alternative, then I either have to wait to enter my transaction (uhhh) or stare at bold text and blue icons (no).
Uhh I think I just found an unintended (I hope!) behavior. I just had one pending transaction match another. I almost NEVER unmatch but this one looked too weird so I did, and boom, two different pending transactions from the same payee in the same account for $10 a day apart matched each other. I still have to go find what this $10 was for as I hadn’t manually entered it, but it could be part of a larger total I did manually enter.
Is this normal or should I submit it somewhere?
Quick thread update! No matter what, it's important that our Product team hear your thoughts on this new feature. You can let them know here.
There is a technical limitation to Pending Transactions in terms of flicking a switch on and off. I wish it were an easy one! They import, or they don’t—and then if they're supported by your financial institution. Improving how they're hidden and interactions in the register are things our team will continue to explore.
Great points have been mentioned for workflow if you enter transactions yourself. Collapsing the Pending section doesn't stop matching. For this scenario, unlinking the accounts and using File-Based Importing will get you back to a single approval.
Pending transactions are another layer of awareness. The behavior is similar to Scheduled Transactions that ask for your approval when they enter the register. A pending transaction matching is entering your register, and prompts for approval.
Ok, can I add another behavior that I don't understand?
Once again, two of the same shirts, I entered $25.96 because they were $12.98 each (on easy pay...😬).
They shipped and billed in 2 transactions (Amazon isn't the only place that does this routinely...). So two $12.98's were just imported as cleared, so as I'm accustomed to, I delete the 2 imported and go down a few lines to find my $25.96 manual entry to clear it.
However, that transaction now has a gray pending sign. I manually entered it, I went around looking and there is no corresponding CC or manual transaction for that amount. There was no matching either. It just decided to say one of my random entered transactions is pending w/ my bank.
Furthermore, I just caught one of these on my Amazon card, from Dec. 2. A small S&S item price changed when it posted and for once I didn't realize it wasn't a match (probably because of all the Amazon card fireworks that launched as described in prior posts). I guess I approved it because I knew what it was and didn't notice the manually scheduled transaction sitting there pending. I just caught it now, and realized I have 2 entries for the same $6.xx purchase. And now have an extra $6 in TBB (yes, affected the budget).
Why are current and 2 week old manually entered transactions pending in perpetuity in my actual account? I so don't want to complain because I really don't mind the feature and even the extra clicky clickies, but this is behavior that is just not what I would expect and doesn't make sense to me.
My bank for some reason changes the name of the payee during the pending process. When I initially make a purchase it lists the transaction as "DEBIT AUTHORIZATION" a day or two later while still pending it lists the transaction as "DEBIT PURCHASE". YNAB sees this as two separate transactions. My problem is that I was categorizing the pending transactions right away, so the first one went into my register, when my bank changes the name it shows up again.
Additionally if I categorize a pending transaction, once it clears and I approve it, the payee still shows up as "PENDING" in the description. But the C turns green, it's a minor little thing but I have a long list of transactions with "*Pending" under the description and a green C on the right.
Would best practice be to just ignore and not categorize anything in the pending list and wait for them to clear? Then link with a manually entered transaction like before? Or just not enter manually, and not categorize pending transactions until they clear?
This pending transaction business just seems like more work for me. On one card right now I have 13 pending transactions that I've had to approve, then when they post I'll have to approve them again. Technical limitation or not, I bet the programmers at YNAB are gifted enough to figure out how to make this feature optional.