Need a Credit Card Expert: Positive Balance
I overpaid my credit card, and followed all the steps in the support article to get YNAB to reflect everything accurately (https://docs.youneedabudget.com/article/728-credit-cards-with-a-positive-balance).
Here's the problem:
The Ready to Assign Dollars (from the positive credit card balance) does not say that they are specific to that positive credit card. So, if I assign all the dollars to my Grocery category for example there is a caveat: I have to spend those dollars with that specific credit card.
This might be something that's easy to keep track of for a very small overpayment. But if I spread out the ready to assign dollars over a variety of categories, YNAB is lying to me.
I use multiple credit cards to take advantage of rewards, etc. If I use a different card to spend from categories where YNAB tells me I have money, it's false.
Are you going to stop using that card? Unless you stop using that card, you'll spend something that uses up that positive balance. It doesn't really matter *what* you spend on that card, so it doesn't really matter in which category you assign the money from the positive balance.
Just like it doesn't matter to your categories whether the dollars for a particular job are in your checking or savings account. A positive balance on the credit card is the same thing, because category money is account agnostic.
The easiest way to illustrate the problem is by doing this:
Assume the following (I set this up to test it).
1. Checking account is $0.00 (for simplicity).
2. Credit Card A has $1000 positive Balance, and it shows up to Ready to Assign.
3. Assign $1000 to Groceries.
4. Spend $1000 on Groceries using Credit Card B.
5. Notice that $1000 will move from Groceries to the Credit Card B Payment Category (SCARY!)
6. Pay off Credit Card B using the Checking Account; you just overdrew your account.
Now obviously, you would never do that in THIS scenario, but imagine a real scenario where there is money in the checking account, and ready to assign dollars were split into multiple categories. How do you normally know how much to pay on your credit card? You check the credit card payment category because you can trust it! But when dealing with positive credit card balances, you would not be able to trust the YNAB software to make spending decision. I used this example as the easiest way to demonstrate the problem. This illustrates a fatal flaw in the software. YNAB teaches us to use spending categories to make decisions, NOT your checking account balance. The fact that YNAB treats a positive credit card balance as the same pool of money as your checking is scary.
This is a great illustration of how YNAB views all of your cash as one pool. If you have $50 in checking and $100 in savings, and then go to the grocery store and spend $150 using your card, you'll overdraw your account. Keeping an eye on account balances is necessary if a transaction will bring you close to $0.