Credit Card Payment Amount is less than current balance

Have been using nYNAB for over a year and understand how things work, but have suddenly run into a discrepancy in July with my credit card where the amount budgeted for a payment is $49.56 less than the current balance and cannot figure out why. I do not maintain a balance and pay it off at least once a month.

So the available balance in budget for June exactly equals the card balance at the end of June so everything was fine at the end of June.

I attached  the summary for the July budget for the credit card (yeah we use the card for everything to get the cash back). The numbers on the left are correct and agree with the card transactions. But as you can see the total spending and the budgeted spending disagree by the $49.56, but I cannot figure out why.

I know that if I have CC transactions in overspent categories that would cause the problem, but no categories are overspent in July that have CC transactions.

I know that I could also cause this by having a CC transaction with a category of to be budgeted, but there is no such transaction.

So I am at a loss to see how this happened and how to fix it.

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  • I tried budgeting extra money to each category that had a transaction on the CC in July and none of them changed the payment amount so it definitely is not overspending.

    Like
    • Hi dalewking !

      Did you try searching for transactions for the amount of $49.56? Did you have any transfers between that credit card and another credit card? Are there any hidden categories that have overspending? Was your credit card at a positive balance in YNAB as any point in July?

      Take a look at those areas and let me know what you find! If things still seem off I can take a closer look at things! :)

      Like
  • Yes, searched for 49.56 and no CC transactions ever for that amount.  All hidden categories had no xactions.  The only transfer between cards was in October of last year.

    But it looks like you may be on something  with the positive balance. I did have a positive balance because I made a payment based on the balance, but then later realized that one of the transactions was in the wrong account so moved it. Looking on the day of the payment I see the payment and another withdrawal. The end of day balance on that day was positive $49.56. I had further transactions in the rest of the month that took it back negative so didn't think the positive balance mattered. 

    Like 1
    • dalewking That's the culprit! When a credit card has a positive balance, YNAB doesn't move funds to cover the spending - because the transactions don't create debt. The $49.56 would have been added to your To Be Budgeted and treated like cash. To cover the difference, you'll need to budget $49.56 towards your credit card category.

      Here's a bit more information for when there's a Positive Balance on a credit card.

      Like
      • dalewking
      • dalewking
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Faness So the link about Positive Balance takes me to something called HelpScout which I don't have a login for

      Like
      • dalewking
      • dalewking
      • 2 yrs ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view
  • I remember that at some point in the month I had a positive TBB and did not know where it came from and ended up using it to cover some overspending. Now I know.

    So when the overpayment occurred I would have had a positive CC balance but a negative balance in my CC payment envelope. Would seem in that case it should go ahead and move the funds to make the negative go positive.

    Like 1
  • So I now know why this occurred. but this behavior just seems very broken to me. I certainly did not know this was going on. In the situation described in the article where the CC has a positive balance but the payment category has a negative balance then it should still work like a normal CC and move money to the Payment envelope.

    Like 2
    • dalewking Sorry about that! Yes, that was the article I meant to link before. 

      Even if the payment category has a negative balance, those funds won't be moved as long as there's a positive balance on the credit card. There's no debt to cover, so you don't need to take funds from your categories (the funds needed in this case were put back in To Be Budgeted). Sorry for the confusion there!

      Like
  • Could I jump in?  

    My credit card account says the working balance and the cleared balance is -$5243.03  but the payment amount is only $3475.11.  We pay our card off every month.  It's a southwest mileage card.  So I paid the monthly amount due of $3913.55.  Now it shows that the working and cleared balance is $1329.48 and the payment amount is -$438.54.  I did not have a positive balance so I don't understand what is going on here.  Any thoughts?  How do I fix it?  I went back to check that all the transactions had been imported and they have.

    Sue

    Like
    • Gray Door Hi Sue,

      Jump in whenever you have the urge - the forum is meant to be as helpful as possible! :)

      That $438.54 wasn't budgeted for - this could have taken place in the current month or a previous one. If you look at your Available balances, are any red or orange? That indicates overspending and covering those amounts should adjust the Available amount for your credit card category.

      If you don't see any overspending in the current month, then it took place in a previous month. You can budget directly towards your credit card category to cover the payment you made. 

      Like
      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 2 yrs ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Gray Door It could also be that your balance on the card when you started using YNAB was not budgeted for and you are riding the credit card float.

      Like 1
      • Gray Door
      • Gray_Door.2
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Faness 

      I have been using YNAB online since it started and I migrated from YNAB 4.  I have paid off my CC every month and have from the beginning.  Never overpaid.  Last month was fine.  Actually, when I pay it off every month, there is alway some left because I continue to use the card and YNAB stores the money there for payoff.  Until this month.  I have overspent categories but they are from my checking account.  Would that affect the credit transactions?  Is it a matter of the overall budget accounts together?

      Like
      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Gray Door If you overspend a category that has combined cash-based and credit-based spending, then YNAB will make the overspending credit-based to the extent that there were credit card purchases in the categories, even if the overspending was caused by cash-based purchases after credit-based purchases (whether this is ideal functionality or not is open to debate). If you only have a single type of spending in the category, then the overspending will be from that type of spending.

      Like
      • Gray Door
      • Gray_Door.2
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Faness 

      I think that the payment balance should be  the $1329.48 to account for each credit card transaction.  If not, where did that money go in the budget when I spent the credit card transactions?  Each was pulled from a budget account and stored in this account for payoff when due.  That is a huge amount to be off by: the 1329 and the negative amount of 438 that is also not there.  I could cover it with to be budgeted money but that is nearly 1800$ off.  Don't get it at all. 

      Like
    • Gray Door It may help if we took a closer look at things! I'm going to send you an email to request access to your budget. Once you respond their, we can investigate. If you'd prefer to keep this conversation strictly in the forum, you can post a few screenshots to help us see what's going on. :)

      Like
      • Gray Door
      • Gray_Door.2
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Faness 

      That would be absolutely fine. I really like YNAB and hate that I have no idea why this is all of a sudden messing up in a big way.

      Like
      • dalewking
      • dalewking
      • 2 yrs ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Gray Door 

      Here is the idiotic way that it works. Imagine an empty credit card and you make 2 budgeted for purchases of $100 each and make the payment of $200.

      So if we do it like this all is as expected:

      1st $100 purchase

      2nd $100 purchase

      3rd $200 payment

      Result:

      TBB: 0

      Payment for CC: 0

       

      But if we reverse the payment and the last purchase:

      1st $100 purchase

      2nd $200 payment

      3rd $100 purchase

      Result:

      TBB: +100

      Payment for CC: -100

      Somebody please explain to me in what universe that is what someone would want.

      Like 2
      • WordTenor
      • I have the honor to be your obedient servant
      • WordTenor
      • 2 yrs ago
      • 5
      • Reported - view

      dalewking A countervailing question would be why the user looked at their card payment category, saw that only $100 was reserved, and made a $200 payment. The software assumes that the only reason that would've happened is because the user is trying to have more in the CC account by overpaying the card. 

      Mind you, I think a lot of these are effectively bugs. A positive card balance should zero the card payment category and that it doesn't is a coding mistake that everyone is now trying to bravely pass off like it is intended behavior instead of an edge case that was missed. But I continue to be baffled why people think they can just ignore the number in that category and overspend it at will. You can't do that with any other category, so why would you do it with the CC category? 

      Like 5
      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 2 yrs ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view
      dalewking said:
      But if we reverse the payment and the last purchase:

      1st $100 purchase

      2nd $200 payment

      3rd $100 purchase

      Result:

      TBB: +100

      Payment for CC: -100

      Somebody please explain to me in what universe that is what someone would want.

       Why are you making a $200 payment on a $100 balance? In what universe would someone want to pay money to a credit card that they don't owe yet?
      You won't run into this issue if you pay the statement balance after the statement has closed and you've reconciled the account (and of course cleaned up any overspending issues).

      Like 1
      • dalewking
      • dalewking
      • 2 yrs ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      WordTenor

       Many different reasons.

      Most likely is they wanted to pay off the card and knew that the transaction would be happening the next day and just included it in the payment as well. I have done that a lot, but usually I will go ahead and enter the transaction.

      The way it happened for me is that I paid exactly what was showing in YNAB, but a day or two after the payment I realized that one of the transactions in the CC account was actually a debit card transaction and when I moved it to the checking account I retroactively created a positive balance which triggered a move of money out of the payment for CC envelope into TBB.

      Like 1
      • WordTenor
      • I have the honor to be your obedient servant
      • WordTenor
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      dalewking I'm sorry you're having trouble, but isn't it a tad unreasonable to expect the software to detect that you've entered a transaction in the wrong place? If you had entered the transaction correctly, $200 would have been in the CC payment category, obviating all the rest of the issues.

      Like
      • dalewking
      • dalewking
      • 2 yrs ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      WordTenor
       

      I am not asking the software to "detect" anything. I am asking it to STOP detecting that CC balance went positive and totally changing the way the CC accounts work. It is detecting a positive balance and moving money into TBB without notifying me and I don't think anyone when asked would call this behavior expected or reasonable.

      I simply want CC accounts to always behave like credit card accounts and not totally change how they work based on the current balance.

      Like 1
      • WordTenor
      • I have the honor to be your obedient servant
      • WordTenor
      • 2 yrs ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      dalewking I hear you on the treatment of the CC going positive.  I am firmly convinced for reasons both internal and external to the software itself that this is a big honking  error in how they coded the CC category to behave. But in the situation you describe, the working balance of the CC didn't go positive. The only reason it did is because you entered one transaction into the wrong account. Had it been entered into CC, the money would have moved, the CC working balance would have been correct, and paying the card to 0 would not have caused any problems. 

      I agree with nolesrule that the best scenario for a PIF card is to just pay the statement once per month. If one wishes to pay it more often than that, or to pay the entire working balance, the onus is on the user to check the accuracy of the budget before making that transfer. 

      Like 2
  • I  agree with dalewking.  This seems incredibly broken and unintuitive.  I've been trying to understand the credit card logic since migrating to the web version of YNAB.  Everytime I think I figured it out something else happens that has me scratching my head!

    I, too, pay off my credit cards immediately. Life was great in YNAB Classic.  It made sense. It worked great  

     I have gotten to the point of looking for another budgeting software but I really like YNAB and have been using it for many years.

    Last night I found a transaction from June that just Impacted my account balances this week!!!  And we balance weekly.  Why it showed up now is beyond my degree in math.  Oiy!! I guess I need an accounting degree!  Hahahaha

    There really should be a personal option for how  credit cards are handled.  I want the YNAB Classic logic back please!

    Until then I am going to move my credit cards so they are regular accounts..  I think this will work better for me.  Hopefully.

    Like 1
    • Hi Maroon Boa !

      Sorry for the trouble! We're working on a way to make the credit card logic easier to understand. A transaction from June shouldn't have been imported this late - that's odd. While we don't suggest changing those credit card accounts into checking accounts, some users do prefer it! If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask! 

      Like 1
      • dalewking
      • dalewking
      • 2 yrs ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Maroon Boa YNAB classic did not have the automatic envelopes for CC payments so no I do not want to go back to that. And as you said you can always make it a regular account if you want that.

       

      Now that I know about this extremely bizzare behavior where overpaying your credit card for even a brief instant in time leads you into going into credit card debt I can avoid it, but I struggle to find why any one would want this behavior.

      I could kind of see it on a month transition that any positive credit card balances at the end of the month are added to next month's TBB, but not this current behavior.

      Like 1
      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 2 yrs ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      dalewking If you pay your statement balance on or just before the due date and you continue to use the cards regularly, the odds of this scenario happening are pretty slim. (Side bonus is that it keeps cash in your bank accounts for nearly a month longer). It's the people who actually pay their full account balances to zero that are going to stumble on this.

      Like 1
  • nolesrule said:
    You won't run into this issue if you pay the statement balance after the statement has closed and you've reconciled the account (and of course cleaned up any overspending issues).

     And I don't want to live on the credit card float. Been there, done that, got into lots of debt (3 maxed out cards and no I wasn't budgeting then) and just last week am finally debt free again.

    To make sure CC balances don't build I prefer to pay off the card completely more than once per month and especially on the last day of the month. I use the credit card because of the cash back, but do not want to get back into debt.

    Does that make me susceptible to this totally stupid behavior of YNAB? Yes, but now that I know that YNAB is broken in this way I know to keep an eye out for it. But that still doesn't mean YNAB should have this behavior.

    Like
      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 2 yrs ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      dalewking If you are making only budgeted purchases on your card and you are not carrying debt, then you are creating extra work for yourself by paying your cards frequently. You can pretty much just set it to autopay your statement balance on the payment due date and be done with it. Making multiple payments per month and paying more than the statement balance does 2 things:

      1) Extra transaction churn that can cause issues depending on timing

      2) Your money sits in your accounts longer, so you earn more interest. Sure it may not be a lot of money, but it's some money.

      People tend to make their credit card payments ahead of time to hide cash from themselves that they need to cover their credit card purchases. But this is redundant when using YNAB because that's the entire reason for using YNAB in the first place, the allocation budget system and category balances tell you what the money you have is reserved for.

      Like 2
      • dalewking
      • dalewking
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      nolesrule I get it that there are ways to make it less likely to avoid temporarily avoid overpaying the credit card and I have actually turned on automatic payments of statement balance on the due date. In the past that could have lead to overdrafts.

      Interest isn't an issue as I don't have an interest bearing checking account although have thought about switching to MemoryBank.

      But the fact remains that the answer is not being extremely careful to avoid overpaying, the answer is for YNAB to turn off this absolutely ridiculous behavior.  

      Like
      • WordTenor
      • I have the honor to be your obedient servant
      • WordTenor
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      dalewking However, it still sounds to me that you are not actually overpaying the card. You are paying charges fast, but you aren't paying the card to a positive state. In YNAB, this should work just fine, except for the rare occasion when you make a purchase and the cleared transaction comes in lower than the one the paid. The reason it screwed up this time is that you put a transaction into checking that should've gone to the card. This caused your credit card payment category to be short that amount, which meant that when you paid the card to zero you paid more than was in the category. 

      Next time, check the category first. If there's not enough there to pay the card to zero, you can't pay the card to zero until you find the problem and fix your budget. Or you can pay your card to zero and fix your budget later, but either way, the budget has a mistake that will need correcting.

      Like
  • WordTenor said:
    I hear you on the treatment of the CC going positive.  I am firmly convinced for reasons both internal and external to the software itself that this is a big honking  error in how they coded the CC category to behave.

     And that is all I am saying. This behavior is unexpected, is wrong, will actually lead to people getting into credit card debt even though they think they are paying off the credit card, and should be removed. Instead of people agreeing that this behavior is wrong I have people telling me to change my behavior and start living on CC float. Once again, been there, done that, got into so much debt I couldn't afford the T-shirt.

    WordTenor said:
    But in the situation you describe, the working balance of the CC didn't go positive.

     Well, yes it did. The balance in YNAB went positive because moving the transaction caused the payment to exceed the YNAB balance. This caused the money to go into TBB from the Payment for CC envelope. And it did this without telling me that this was happening.

    WordTenor said:
    The only reason it did is because you entered one transaction into the wrong account. Had it been entered into CC, the money would have moved, the CC working balance would have been correct, and paying the card to 0 would not have caused any problems. 

     And if YNAB did not have this broken behavior then no money would have been moved to TBB and there also would have been no problems.

    Like 2
  • WordTenor said:
    However, it still sounds to me that you are not actually overpaying the card.

     Not intentionally, no. But there are ways to accidentally overpay the card like I did. The question is whether YNAB should then act stupidly and move money into TBB, and the answer is no.

    I have in the past made a payment to pay off the card including transactions that would come out the next day, but don't remember this being an issue then.

    WordTenor said:
    You are paying charges fast, but you aren't paying the card to a positive state. In YNAB, this should work just fine, except for the rare occasion when you make a purchase and the cleared transaction comes in lower than the one the paid. The reason it screwed up this time is that you put a transaction into checking that should've gone to the card. This caused your credit card payment category to be short that amount, which meant that when you paid the card to zero you paid more than was in the category.

     I understand perfectly how I ended up in that state, so don't need any more explanation on how I ended up there. And it was actually the reverse of what you said, I put a transaction into the card that should have gone into checking and then paid off based on the balance including that transaction.

    My main point is that YNAB should not change the behavior of CC accounts when they go positive no matter how that happens, so we don't really need to discuss ways that it can happen.

    WordTenor said:
    Next time, check the category first. If there's not enough there to pay the card to zero, you can't pay the card to zero until you fix your budget. Or you can pay your card to zero and fix your budget later, but either way, the budget has a mistake that will need correcting.

     Categories were not an issue in my case, the expense was budgeted for, just in the wrong account. The only thing that I would need to fix is that extra money showing up in TBB from no where needed to go back into Payment category. But when the extra TBB showed up I had no clue where it could have came from so it got applied to other categories.

    Note I have argued for years (over in the old YNAB forums) that YNAB budgets need to have histories much the way mVelopes budget does. In mVelopes budget, each category has a register and you can see every transaction that affected that category's balance. When you transfer money from one category to another in mVelopes there is a transfer transaction that appears in each category's register. Do that in YNAB and you have no history at all, just the current balance. And no, I am not going back to mVelopes (though I did evaluate doing that before my last YNAB renewal).

    Like
      • Patzer
      • Retired at age 60. Thank you, YNAB!
      • Patzer
      • 2 yrs ago
      • 4
      • Reported - view

      dalewking 

      You can avoid all the nonsense with YNAB counter-intuitive treatment of credit cards by setting your cards up as checking accounts.  Unlike YNAB 4, there is no pre-YNAB debt category in nYNAB; so if the account is set up as checking, an initial negative balance automatically comes out of TBB.  Categorized transactions come out of (or go in to, for inflows) the appropriate categories.  At all times, the card balance is implicitly reserved for paying the card.  You just don't have the redundant card payment category to watch and fix whenever YNAB does something designed for people who are carrying and adding to debt.

      For someone who is able to pay the entire card balance at any time, setting up the card as a checking account is a no-brainer.  Things just work right, you don't have to worry about YNAB assuming a gift card purchase is a cash advance adding to debt, you don't have to worry about YNAB assuming that an overspent category means you wanted to add to debt, you don't have to make a budget page adjustment after getting cash back as a deposit to the card.  Things. Just. Work.  And you pay the card based on the card balance, just like you have been doing.

      For the amount of time that @nolesrule  spent figuring out what was going on in your situation, I looked at some investments and decided to sell a slightly overvalued holding to replace it with a slightly undervalued security with higher yield and similar growth prospects.  What is the better use of my time and intellectual capacity:  Figuring out how YNAB treats credit cards and fixing it to be right, one transaction at a time; or fixing the YNAB credit card treatment once by setting the cards up as checking accounts then using some of the freed up time to manage my investments?

      Yes, I agree with you that the YNAB treatment of credit cards has several features that make no sense and should be changed.  But they won't be changed, and that's the way things are.  Going forward, either you deal with the way YNAB treats credit cards, or you disable the YNAB credit card treatment.  @WordTenor  prefers to deal with the YNAB credit card treatment.  I prefer to disable it.  Being angry at it doesn't help any of us, though I spent my share of time mired in anger at the stupidity of how it works.

      Disclaimer:  I am not affiliated with YNAB.  The opinions expressed here are my own, and I have reason to believe they are in conflict with official YNAB guidance.  Setting the cards up as checking accounts will not work well for someone living on the float or carrying credit card debt.

      Like 4
  • Patzer said:
    You can avoid all the nonsense with YNAB counter-intuitive treatment of credit cards by setting your cards up as checking accounts.

     At first I was going to say no way since that gets rid of the payment envelope (something I advocated FOR back in the old YNAB forums in the pre nYNAB days). But the more I think about it if you are never going to carry a balance it may make more sense to use the checking account type.

    But since I am not sure there is an easy way to transition my existing account without losing or separating the history, I will keep it how I have it and just watch out for the problems that I know can now happen. I have also taken the advice of nolesrule  just set the card to auto pay the statement balance on the due date. I have also turned on the PIF warning in the YNAB toolkit.

    Patzer said:
    For the amount of time that @nolesrule  spent figuring out what was going on in your situation

     nolesrule did not spend any time figuring it out. That was figured out weeks ago between Faness  and I.

    Like 1
      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      For  the record, I wasn't trying to take any credit... just having a discussion. 😉

      I think you can transition without losing continuity. The steps would be

      1) disconnect the CC and rename

      2)create a second account as type checking account

      3)move all the transactions to the new account

      4) close/delete the old account

      5)connect the new account to the bank

       

      There are actually a lot of ways the CC balance and payment amount can get out of sync, and the majority of them are not due to any kind of user error. Some people are okay with it, some people find it beyond annoying to make the account type change.

      Like
      • dalewking
      • dalewking
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view
      nolesrule said:
      I think you can transition without losing continuity. The steps would be

      1) disconnect the CC and rename

      2)create a second account as type checking account

      3)move all the transactions to the new account

      4) close/delete the old account

      5)connect the new account to the bank

       I know those would be the steps, but I'm not sure it is that simple given that this card had not always been paid in full. It had a large balance when I started that later got moved to a heloc. Starting balances for CCs are handled differently. Also what happens to the money that got budgeted to that card's payment envelope? There were enough unknowns there that I was not going to blindly try that without knowing for sure that it would work correctly, so I think I will leave it be.

      Like
      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      dalewking There would probably be a small amount of cleanup needed in the budget, but only in the current month. The change in the starting balance handling will offset money budgeted to the CC payment category. In your situation, you'd probably see some overbudgeting in the months before the transfer to the HELOC.

       

      It wouldn't hurt to take 15-30 minutes to set up a clean budget with a simplified version of what you did and give it a try.

      Like
  • nolesrule said:
    It wouldn't hurt to take 15-30 minutes to set up a clean budget with a simplified version of what you did and give it a try.

     I'm probably going to switch to a new card (to get an extra 0.5% cash back) so don't really care enough to try.

    Like 1
  • I'd like to add +1 opinion that credit cards could function much better for those of us that pay them off every month. I don't overpay my balance on purpose, either, since I have autopay set up to pay the balance.

    I love YNAB, and have only ever used it in its online incarnation, but have had multiple problems each year where the money budgeted for payment of a credit card account does not match the balance. Yes, I can usually go the the big list of causes (purchase is a transfer to other tracked account such as PayPal, transaction shows up late in a previous month and then puts a category over balance, etc.) and spend a lot of time tracking down where the inconsistency came from. But not always! In which case I give up on tracking down the problem and just adjust the numbers to work, but that always feels dirty. Thinking back on it, I might have run into the overpaying balance issue in situations where credit card refunds caused me to enter a positive balance state temporarily. I never would have expected that to cause money to appear in TBB out of nowhere, and for new transactions to not get added to the payment category as normal!

    So thank you Patzer for the suggestion to transition my credit card accounts as checking accounts in YNAB; I hadn't realized that would still work with direct import. I totally agree with you that I'd rather things "Just Work" than waste my time dealing with YNAB idiosyncrasies that are hard to keep up to date on, and that I shouldn't have to know in the first place.

    Like 2
  • nolesrule said:
    There would probably be a small amount of cleanup needed in the budget, but only in the current month

     Which would fall under my feeling that history would get lost. I'll leave it be and avoid overpaying the card now that I know about this stupid YNAB behavior.

    Like
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