AMEX Impossible to Reconcile

Hi!

I am into my third month with YNAB and struggling to keep my AMEX card reconciled. I pay my card off every month but most expenses go on it. I always budget for the spending or cover the overspending so my balance on YNAB and my amount available for a payment always match but those have never matched what American Express says online.

I started fresh in March and made sure to enter my starting balance and budget for what was already on the card first thing.  Because I had had issues with reconciling it in January and February, I turned off auto import on all of my accounts. All of my other accounts are reconciled and working as expected. All transactions and payments are entered on the AMEX card. 

I have searched for a feature that has a rolling balance on AMEX so I can compare the balances after every transaction but I don't think that's possible. If I try to add in a corrective transaction to reconcile it, I'm afraid it will throw another account out of balance.

Please help!

Thanks!

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  • On the web go to the AMEX account register. Near the top on the right you will see a View option. Click on it and you can choose to show the running balance. 

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  • Hello, Rogue06 !

    How often are you reconciling? If it's just once a month, I'd recommend doing it much more often than that, at least for a little while. Try twice a week. One of two things will happen:

    1. It'll just start working semi-magically. (Probably because you're less likely to miss entering a transactions.)
    2. If you're still having reconciliation mismatches, you'll quickly notice a pattern that will lead you to the culprit.
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  • Thanks Matthew. You’re exactly right. I have reconciled every day this month so far after starting fresh on the first. All the accounts are reconciled except for that one card. Any recommendations on how to at least correct it and try to move forward?

    I’m afraid I’ll have to be continually entering in corrective transactions and that those while throw other balances off. 

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    • Rogue06 Sorry for the delay! If you reconcile the Amex daily, are you having to enter adjustments each time?

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  • Hi, I have the same question that Rogue06 has. Did you get it reconciled? The problem I am running into is American Express doesn't have a running balance on their website, so where do we match to?

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    • Tomato Violin You want to reconcile the cleared balance in YNAB with the cleared amount on the card. I don't have AMEX so can't help directly with where to find this information. For all of my cards, the first number I see when I log in is my cleared balance.

      If you're not able to reconcile the balance amounts, there's one of three reasons: 1) AMEX has a charge that YNAB is missing; 2) YNAB has an extra charge that shouldn't be there (or shouldn't be cleared yet); or 3) The amount(s) of transaction(s) in YNAB are wrong (for at least one transaction - could be more than one).

      Go through the transactions your AMEX has and your YNAB register for the AMEX has and see which of the above things are true. It could be multiple of the above.

      There's usually a pending label for transactions that haven't cleared the credit card yet; don't include those in the reconciliation for now. (Those amounts can change, which is why we don't count them in reconciled transactions.)

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      • Rogue06
      • ROGUE06
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      Tomato Violin 

      Once I got it reconciled the first time, I haven’t had any issues. If you can’t figure it out, you may consider using the feature that adds a “ghost” transaction in the amount you are off by and starting fresh from there. That’s what I did and then tried to reconcile once a week at a minimum. The longer you go between reconciliations, the harder it gets. I’d do it once a day for the first week just to get into the practice of it and boost your confidence that it works. 
       

      Keep in mind, YNAB is comparing your CLEARED transactions only so if it says “Pending” on AMEX, YNAB is not calculating that transaction in your cleared balance so make sure the little “c” at the far right of those transactions is gray, not green. 
       

      Another technique I use is using the checkboxes on AMEX and YNAB on each transaction. If the transaction is on both places, I check the box next to it on AMEX and YNAB. Once I’m caught up, any transactions left unchecked on AMEX still need to be added to YNAB. If there’s a transaction unchecked in YNAB, it’s likely a duplicate or I just made some mistake. If I’m still reconciling but it’s not complete, I’ll flag those checked transactions in YNAB yellow or green so I know I’ve double checked them even though they won’t have the lock icon until I complete the reconciliation. 

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    • Tomato Violin Finding the exact right balance to reconcile against can be a trick - this Help Doc might help!

      I have heard that AmEx represents the cleared balance as "Total Balance." That said, it's important to note that I do not have an AmEx CC, and how AmEx represents balances can change! But that might be a good starting point for working through the reconciliation process - here are the comprehensive steps for doing that, too 😊

      Once you know your cleared balance at AmEx, you'll reconcile against that. You may need to make Reconciliation Balance Adjustment the first time, but you'll need to less and less as you get into a good rhythm! 

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  • Hi Rachel, I was able to get it done. Thanks!

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    • Tomato Violin Oh, yay! So glad to hear it 😊

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