"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:

  1. Some items that are in my “posted” window but not in YNAB have imported as “pending transactions” even though they have posted.
  2. 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.
  3. 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!

221replies Oldest first
  • Oldest first
  • Newest first
  • Active threads
  • Popular
  • 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.

    Like
  • 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?

    Like
    • Bruce In my experience - on the web - this is what happens:  Pending transaction comes into the Pending Transactions section. If you hide the section and ignore it (do nothing) these transactions go away once the cleared transactions come in, which you match, etc. per usual.

      If you don't hide the Pending Transactions section it gets a little messy (what others have described). The one helpful thing for me was that a Pending transaction came in that I hadn't manually entered - it asked me if I wanted to "enter" it, so I did. Now it's sitting in the register with a gray clock beside it waiting for the cleared transaction at which point it will behave like normal.

      The weirdest thing for me has been on mobile - because I have Android the Pending Transactions show up but they're "read only" so I can't do anything with them (including delete). As long as they'e pending I have duplicate transactions all over the place...

      Like
      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 1 mth ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Bruce I think the scenario that Support has primarily been discussing (and some users) is that the user has NOT entered manually. The pending would then show up in the separate section and can be ignored. Other users, however, HAVE entered manually, so the pending matches and stays in the normal register -- not the pending section.

      Oh, and that normal-register transaction is now bold and begging for approval -- which is useless to do since the cleared version will import shortly and want approval again.

      TLDR: it's merely 2 different scenarios being bandied about.

      Like 3
      • Bruce
      • Software Engineer
      • Bruce
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      dakinemaui That makes sense.  So since I'm doing manual entry and file based import, it doesn't affect me. I do it almost daily, so it's good enough for me.

      I can see how that would be totally annoying though!  If I went back to DI, I'd definitely want to be able to turn the force approval off for pending.

      Like
    • dakinemaui Yes, the past few days I've mostly been approving transaction matches on my phone from the comfort of my bed in the morning :)  And as mentioned above, I can't do anything about Pending Transactions on my phone...

      Then I went to the computer and, lo and behold, there were more matched transactions waiting to be approved - which turned out to be imported pending transactions. Which you only find out once they're approved and the gray clock appears instead of the green "c".  What??!

      Like 2
    • Periwinkle Flute Are you using iOS or Android? When you log in, it can take a few minutes for new transactions to pop up. Next time, try to tap Accounts, then the blue import banner.

      Then check for any new pending transactions! On iOS you'll see a separate section, on Android they'll appear in the register—like these screenshots.

      Like
    • Nicole I use Android and the Pending Transactions come in fine, the craziness is I can't do anything with them. Wrong category? Can't change it. Duplicate of manually entered transaction? Can't match it or delete it. Seriously, what's the point?

      Like
    • Periwinkle Flute Right now on Android the Pending Transactions feature is mostly a way to see what's coming (as it's read only). We're working on feature parity, though, so you should have the ability to edit them on this platform soon in the future! 🙂

      Like
  • 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).

    Like 2
      • Annieland
      • I was told there would be no math.
      • Annieland
      • 1 mth ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

       Oh, and another silly thing... I found if you try to change a category in a Pending Tx it automatically enters it, so there's another clock staring you in the face. 

      Back to Amazon, 6 pending transactions show up, all gray with the category Pet Food.  Now my dogs aren't THAT hungry regardless of what they may say, so let me go check on what these actually are.  As soon as I change the category, boom it enters.  I'd be fine with just leaving the transactions alone if they aren't something I already entered, but I don't want to look at a bunch of erroneous categories worrying I spent somewhere I didn't, but there's no way to edit the category without entering the transaction.

      Like 1
    • Annieland Yes, when you modify a pending transaction it will move to the register. The category shown is based on your auto-categorization rules which updates to the most recently used.

      In my personal budget, I prefer to turn auto-categorization off for Amazon because there is a such large variety. You can use Payee Management to do that. That way, pending transactions will show as uncategorized and when they match your entered version, it will keep the category you've selected.

      That may help with the category piece, but I do agree that the extra approval step in combination with entering transactions was an adjustment.

      Like 1
      • nolesrule
      • Been waiting 5 years for the Stealing From the Future fix...
      • nolesrule
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      Nicole So let me get this straight. There's an option to be able to disable auto categorization, but not an option to disable pending transactions.

      Like
      • Annieland
      • I was told there would be no math.
      • Annieland
      • 1 mth ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Nicole Well that's a cool tip, I actually never considered doing that before. Thanks!

      Like 1
    • nolesrule Yes, in Payee Management, you can turn off auto-categorization for any specific payee. Right now, there is no way to disable pending transactions, only a way to "Hide" them.

      Like
      • nolesrule
      • Been waiting 5 years for the Stealing From the Future fix...
      • nolesrule
      • 1 mth ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Dela Might help to read the whole thread. Try to keep up. 

      If you enter manually, the pending transaction will be automatically matched with no way to differentiate they are pending or posted. In this scenario they can't be hidden.

      Like 1
  • Quick thought.  It looks like some users don't like that they go through the effort approving what appears to be a valid match only to find out that it was only pending. 

    What about different approval Icons for pending vs standard matches? 

    Like 1
    • glynab I like this idea a lot. May I ask you to submit it as a Feature Request? Thanks very much!

      To everyone: I want to clarify that you can't simply ignore pending transactions if you enter manually—if a pending transaction matches one you entered, YNAB will ask you to approve the match. However, that doesn't affect your budget, because there's no net change to the account register.

      Like
      • nolesrule
      • Been waiting 5 years for the Stealing From the Future fix...
      • nolesrule
      • 1 mth ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Matthew it's not about the budget. It's about the workflow. It's forcing an unnecessary workflow on people who manually enter transactions.

      Even the above suggestion does not change the fact that there is a Call To Action put in place. the purpose of a CTA is right there in its name... it's designed to nag you to not ignore it.

      Like 1
  • What about this in the account linking screen?

         [  ] Import pending transactions if available?

    Like 2
    • dakinemaui I specifically asked the team about this one. It's not quite that simple, apparently and there is a technical limitation. Specifics on that aren't details I have (or expect) to share. They're looking at other areas for improvements, though!

      Like
  • BUG REPORT??

    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?

    Like
    • Annieland Great attention to detail!! 💪 Transactions that are directly imported will match up with manually entered transactions that are a) the same amount, b) the same payee, and c) dated within ten days of one another. So, the behavior you noticed is exactly as designed.

      It seems that these two transactions fell into that tiny collection of transactions where they look like matches to YNAB, but aren't.  Hopefully this situation will be rare!

      Like
      • Annieland
      • I was told there would be no math.
      • Annieland
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      Dela Dude, no.  Not as designed, can't be.  I bought two of the same shirts in one transaction at the end of Nov. for $20 total and manually entered that transaction.  They billed and shipped separately, one on Dec. 3 and one on Dec. 4 for $10 each and showed up in Pending as ONE matched $10 transaction.  Unmatching them showed the 2 separate $10 transactions from Dec. 3 & 4.  My $20 manual entry had nothing to do with it.  

      You're saying 2 similar pending transactions are designed to match each other irrespective of anything entered or cleared in the register?  Uhhh... 

      Like
      • Annieland
      • I was told there would be no math.
      • Annieland
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

       I can think of no reason, even a misfired match should match two PENDING transactions to each other.  If there are two pending transactions, then there are two pending transactions.  No further activity by YNAB needs to be executed, especially if they don't correspond to anything actually entered into the register.

      Like
    • Annieland Thanks for the additional details! Sorry for the confusion due to my misinterpretation of what happened! Yep--this is totally a bug. Will you please report it when you have the chance?

      Like
    • Annieland If you've already unmatched and resolved this in your budget, there is no need to submit a Bug Report. To save you some time! I did mention the behavior to our Bugs team, so they can keep an eye out. Thanks for bringing it up!

      If other folks come across the same issue, the form above will let us gather details and reproduce so our developers can work on a fix! We appreciate it.

      Like
      • Annieland
      • I was told there would be no math.
      • Annieland
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      Nicole Oh, I’m glad you reported it to them, thanks. Sorry, but that bug report form is whack.  It really doesn’t need all those bells and whistles, I got a headache before I could submit it. 
       

      My budget and register is fine, but yeah, it’s still definitely something that should be looked into. It’s obviously performing the same ME matching function on its own pending imports.  I’ll take a screenshot for them if it happens again.

      Like
    • Annieland Sorry about that! You can always send us a message from your budget or via email instead. Our Support team will follow up and request any extra details that are needed for troubleshooting a bug.

      I have an upcoming purchase that I'll do separate orders for, to see if I can recreate it. 😂 

      Like 1
      • Annieland
      • I was told there would be no math.
      • Annieland
      • 1 mth ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Nicole Just be like me, buy a bunch of expensive shirts on QVC with 5 easy pays. I can make plenty of recommendations! 🤪🤪

      Like 1
  • I absolutely hate the pending transactions "feature"

    Like 1
  • 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.

    Like 1
      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 1 mth ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Nicole  YNAB may be forced to get the entire list from the provider, but it certainly can ignore any of those transactions it wishes after that. That's not a "technical limitation", it's a lack of programmed functionality.

      I do, however, appreciate you asking about it!

      Like 2
      • glynab
      • glynab
      • 1 mth ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Nicole Just followed the link to provide a bit of feedback supporting this feature, it works great for me as is.  I had 5 pending transactions this morning.  3 were were already entered and took all of 2 seconds to match them.  Well worth it to discover the other 2 which were not already entered. 

      Like 1
      • nolesrule
      • Been waiting 5 years for the Stealing From the Future fix...
      • nolesrule
      • 1 mth ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      dakinemaui 

      dakinemaui said:
      YNAB may be forced to get the entire list from the provider, but it certainly can ignore any of those transactions it wishes after that.

       I know, right? if you can programmatically recognize them as pending transactions, you can just program a way to exclude them.

      Like 2
    • nolesrule Here is the thing not sure if you are a programmer.  I happen to be one and sometimes it's not as easy as people think to turn something on or off (especially if you did not build that in from the start).  Though I will admit in this case it seems like it could be but here is the thing we don't know the underlying structure of the codebase.  They might have to refactor a lot of code to make this work or they added a lot of code for this either way what I am saying is that as a programmer I know sometimes it's not that easy.  On the other hand, sometimes I'm just lazy and don't want to do it as I don't think it's in the best interest of the program but ultimately it does come down to what the client wants.  In this case, it seems like a lot of people want an option to turn it off.

      Like 1
      • nolesrule
      • Been waiting 5 years for the Stealing From the Future fix...
      • nolesrule
      • 1 mth ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      VoltaicShock Yes, I am a programmer. Additionally I have written many data import and export processes between systems, with data formatted in all sorts of formats, HTML, XML, JSON, flat file with character separated fields. Quite frankly, if it takes a ton to refactor then they are doing it wrong. It's fairly simple, 1) parse the data from the incoming source (and depending on the file/datasource format and available parsing libraries you can just loop through each record in the datasource and do steps 2 and 3), 2) aggregate (and massage) the data for each record to match the needed incoming data format, 3)insert each record into whatever storage mechanism is required . When doing step 2, you can decide if a particular record should be, well, recorded or discarded.

      Like 3
    • nolesrule I have done that a lot too (I find it fun to import and manipulate data). I love CSVHelper and Newtonsoft JSON package from Nuget.org. You are right it shouldn't be that hard and maybe they can do it but it doesn't fit in with what they are trying to accomplish as a budgeting tool. I get the point of pending transactions and I just ignore them. Now maybe it is simple for them as they have a section at the top that shows them so why not just offer us the ability to turn that off. They could still include them just don't show them or import them and match. As for refactoring maybe they used some of the existing code from YNAB 4 and didn't really start fresh (though I don't know why they would do this). I have to deal with legacy code a lot and it's a nightmare to incorporate new features into an existing codebase that was written so many years ago while the client doesn't understand it at all and thinks it is "easy". They need to just run the legacy app while we build the new one but that will never happen.

      Like
  • Pending transactions are making me lazy with Manual Entry 😬. 

    Like
      • Superbone
      • YNAB convert since 2008
      • Superbone
      • 1 mth ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Annieland Join the club. But I was like that before. Now my laziness is being rewarded. 😄

      Like 1
    • Annieland My husband and I treat it as a game, to enter as many transactions as possible for Geo Payees on mobile. Gotta enter (catch) them all! No habit change yet... but I'm watching. 

      Like
      • Annieland
      • I was told there would be no math.
      • Annieland
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      Nicole Bahaha if only we went anywhere!  I haven’t used the Geo Payees in years, other than being amused at where it thinks I am in bed every so often. 

      Like
  • 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.

    Help?

    Like
      • Annieland
      • I was told there would be no math.
      • Annieland
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      Ooooh... you know what? I just went back to my budget and undid 5 steps to see what it looked like before, in case a screenshot would help.  And that gave me more insight:

      When I made the purchase, it showed as pending -$25.96.  I categorized and entered it, I did NOT directly type it in, I remember that now. Probably similar with Amazon, but I'm not sure how/when the price changed.

      So basically, when a pending charge changes, and you've matched or categorized it (thereby entering it), YNAB doesn't know what to do with it afterwards.  I would guess restaurants and tips may potentially create issues with this, though I haven't been to any restaurants in a long time!  

      Like
  • 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?

    Like
  • Agree!  I'd really like the option to turn this OFF!

    Like
  • 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. 

    Like 1
    • Alice Blue Chef For me I just leave them then have them import.  I know I am not proactive with my budget and that is my plan this year but make it easier on me to not have to do double work.

      Don't you have to approve transactions that you put in before they sync even without pending?  Trying to remember the process.

      Like 1
      • Budget_NC
      • Tomato_Snow_237e7f17927
      • 4 wk ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Alice Blue Chef Fortunately it appears to be only deposits and transfers coming through from our bank as pending so it has thankfully not been as big of a pain as I feared that it would be.  At any rate, entering transactions manually when they occur has proven to be the right way for my wife and I to stay on top of our budget.  I'm not going to stop doing that even if the latest "feature" from YNAB makes it less efficient to do so.

      Like 2
Like3 Follow
  • 3 Likes
  • 3 wk agoLast active
  • 221Replies
  • 2330Views
  • 26 Following