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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.