I will give up on YNAB if I can't understand credit cards.

Seriously, I am about to give up on YNAB because I can't figure out the credit card function. I pay my card off every month.  Why do I have a positive amount in activity? My actual payment was about $2,000 so why is the payment showing only $833.43?

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  • If you click on the activity figure, it will tell you what is going into that number. In general, the activity number is not of great importance, so if that's the only part of credit cards that's confusing, it's safe for you to just ignore it and keep using YNAB.

    The activity is the sum of spending and/or payments and/or returns.  This is what shows up for me, when I click on activity, for two of my cards:

     

     

    It looks like the number that shows up in the activity column is the sum of the positive funds that have transferred to available (funded spending) minus any payments made this month (which would subtract from available).

    Like 1
  • Your screen shot shows the budget view of your credit card. It is showing in the activity column that $833.43 has been assigned to that payment category in the selected month, due to transactions you have entered for that credit card. The Payment column shows the net of that Activity plus the $0 in the Assigned column, meaning that you have $833.43 ready to pay your next bill.

     

    If you want to see past activity, go to that credit card's account register (select it from the column on the  very right of your screen, assuming you are NOT on mobile). There you can all the activity on the card (including your prior $2,000 payment). That view will also show the $833.43 available for paying your next bill, up at the top of your screen.

     

    If you haven't yet, it would be worth reviewing the supporting materials on how YNAB handles credit cards.

    Like 2
  • Gold Jackal said:
    My actual payment was about $2,000 so why is the payment showing only $833.43?

    Your screenshot is telling you that at the moment in time that it was taken, you had $833.43 set aside in your budget to make a future payment to your credit card. The amount in the right hand column does not reflect the amount of a previous payment.

    Like 4
  • Hey, there! As @jenmas said, right now, it looks like you have $833.43 set aside in your Credit Card Payment category that can go toward a future payment. That money got there through what we call budgeted spending. That is, you made purchases on your credit card, categorized those purchases, and then assigned money to the categories—when you do that, the money will automatically move to your Credit Card Payment category to be set aside for payments.

    If you want to see what activity your credit card has already had this month, click on the Activity number as @fuzzballmeows suggested. You'll see all of the transactions that told YNAB you have that $833.43 available.

    I just sent you an email to ask if you'd like personalized one-on-one help. I'm happy to look at your budget and answer specific questions over email. :)

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  • So many people struggle with this - you're not alone. And LOTS of people have figured it out, and I know you can too.

    So here's what happens when you make a purchase and enter the transaction in YNAB:

    When you enter a purchase on a credit card, you assign it to a category, say you spent $50 on groceries.

    As long as you have $50 available in your grocery category, YNAB will automatically deduct $50 from the available funds in the grocery category, and move it up to the Credit Card Payment category under the appropriate credit card that you spent it on. You'll see $50 in green next to the credit card (where you currently have $833 in your budget). Each time you make a purchase this happens, the money moves from the category you applied the transaction to up to the credit card payment category, which is how your $833 got there.

    When you are ready to make a payment, you simply make the payment and enter the transaction as a transfer between your bank account and your credit card. YNAB will deduct the funds out of the Credit Card Payment category and they will leave you budget. Your account balance (on the left on the budget screen, at the top on the individual account screen in a browser) will show the reflection of the money applied to the credit card account.

    The only time you need to add funds directly to the Credit Card Payment category is in the instance of outstanding debt. If you have outstanding debt from prior to beginning YNAB (or spending that you were not able to cover completely) then you need to move funds from Ready To Assign directly to the Credit Card Payment category. Otherwise, all of your payments for your credit card will be automatically calculated according the what you have funded in your budget when you enter the transactions and categorize them.

    So if you have paid $2000, but your credit card payment category says you have $833 that has been applied from your budgeted transactions, and you have entered the payment transaction correctly in your budget already, then you likely have applied money directly to the Credit Card Payment category instead of allowing the budget to transfer the money there for you.

    This would be a good time to reach out to the help support and double check what you have going on to figure out how to correct the situation. You may be able to move the $833 back into your budget, but to be sure you don't over budget yourself it's probably a good idea to check in with the help support to make sure. Just click the little question mark in the bottom right hand corner of your screen, and you can live chat with someone who can help you get it straightened out.

    Like 2
      • Debt Free Take 2
      • Divorced at 57, starting again
      • debt_free_take_2
      • yesterday
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      farfromtheusual This is my first month of active use and I have 2 transactions to 'categorize' - the payment in the bank account and the payment in the Credit Card Category in the budget (or maybe it is in the CC Account too???).  Please can you tell me what your statement mean (maybe in T accounts or the order and location where I open a transaction to change the category to Transfer) - you simply make the payment and enter the transaction as a transfer between your bank account and your credit card
      I found one document that said I need to change the Payee (but didn't say what the payee should be).  I found another that said to create a scheduled transaction (but didn't say how to fill it in).   This is NOT intuitive for a newbie.  Please help with specific instructions to get me through this as I will have 2 more credit card payments this month.  TIA!

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      • Vibrant
      • No more counting dollars, we'll be counting stars
      • vibrant
      • yesterday
      • Reported - view
    • Debt Free Take 2 

       

      When you click Payee the group at the top is all of your other accounts. Selecting one of them will allow you to move funds from one account to another. If you are in your credit card account, then you select your checking account, and then enter the amount of the payment in the inflow category. (The reverse is true if you are working from your checking account, it would be recorded as an outflow to your credit card)

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    • Debt Free Take 2 You'll use the built-in transfer payee, as Vibrant and farfromtheusual showed above.

      I'd encourage you to check out our new credit card video

       

      for an overview.

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      • Debt Free Take 2
      • Divorced at 57, starting again
      • debt_free_take_2
      • yesterday
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      farfromtheusual  THANK YOU!   This description was the best and your picture was helpful.   I selected the credit card account and changed the payee of my imported transaction to "Transfer from Bank".  When I went to the Bank Account, the update had already been made to my automated entry.   In regards to the suggestion to make a scheduled transaction, would I input as payee Transfer and amount as the full payment (which I pay in full every month)?  Thanks again for explaining and showing it to me.

      Like 1
      • Debt Free Take 2
      • Divorced at 57, starting again
      • debt_free_take_2
      • yesterday
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      Marisa   I will watch it again.  It will probably make more sense now that I have some experience.  I had signed up for the Wednesday Credit Card class but it was cancelled.  I'll try that again next week.

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  • Hi. I just looked and there are several upcoming FREE webinars for credit card handling. I recommend you sign up. Credit card handling in YNAB is next level awesome. But it does take understanding how it works. I haven’t attended this webinar but I am sure it will be helpful. Here is the week schedule. 
     

    Like 1
      • Yes I can
      • yesican2020
      • 2 days ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      I have done the credit card webinars @MXMOM (although I may have just watched the recordings) and found them excellent. But I'm actually someone who likes how the credit cards work in the new YNAB. 

      Gold Jackal it is a bit of an effort to get your head around it, but you'll get there! 

      Like 1
      • Debt Free Take 2
      • Divorced at 57, starting again
      • debt_free_take_2
      • yesterday
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      MXMOM That was my plan.  I had signed up for the Wednesday Credit Card class but it was cancelled.  I'll try that again next week.

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  • This answer might be cheating, but I would use the web version in these instances with the YNAB Toolkit installed.  Then you simply need to:

    1.  Select the credit card category

    2.  Click 'rectify difference'

    3.  De-select the credit card category or select another category

    Works 99% of the time for me.  Granted, understanding how it works under the covers is, I think, valuable to learn so you truly understand what is going on and why.

    Honestly, it works so well I'm not sure why YNAB does not have this feature natively.  Perhaps the new auto-assign feature has a function for this (I simply have not used auto-assign yet).

    Cheers!

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  • You mentioned you pay your credit card balance every month.  If you are indeed a payed in full CC user then you might consider converting your credit card accounts to checking accounts, this will bypass all of the CC babysitting performed by YNAB.  A lot of us old time users that used the previous desktop version of YNAB have adopted this work around as that is how the older version worked.

    I do not like how credit cards are handled by the new YNAB either, it can get real wonky if you overspend a category in cash that had a previous CC purchase and have already paid the credit card off.  You would expect the category overspend to turn red but it turns yellow, YNAB assigns that overspend to one or more credit cards.  The reason for this is that YNAB prioritizes cash spending over credit spending, this would be OK if YNAB had the fidelity to differentiate transaction order but it does not, it only has a monthly fidelity.  By converting them to checking accounts all over spending is red, all under funding is yellow-simple.  I like to think of my credit cards as debit cards, I only use them for protection and rewards.

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      • Superbone
      • YNAB convert since 2008
      • Superbone
      • 2 days ago
      • Reported - view

      I concur. If you really don't care to learn how YNAB handles credit cards then just convert them to checking accounts and be done with it. I do understand the credit card handling but as a PIF user, I prefer to run without the middleman and the babysitting required to keep the payment category in sync.

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    • This works IF you are not on the credit card float, which I don't think the OP has clarified if they are or aren't (my hunch is that they actually are running the float and just don't know it yet, having just started with YNAB, and the "pay the cards in full" comment...)

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