"Payment" field for credit card keeps coming out of balance

For all but one of my credit cards, they work as they should.  The "payment" column tracks with my spending so that when it comes time to pay off the card, enough money is already set aside and I do not have to budge anything.

For one card though -- an Amex if it helps -- occasionally after I pay it, there is a massive discrepancy and I get several thousand dollars of a red number in the "payment" column.  I have no idea where this difference is coming from as I have not overspent any of my individual categories.  Yet I get a message that "Your credit card payment was greater than what you had available in your budget."

This is massively inconvenient and takes away the predictability I hope to have by keeping a budget, as I then have to raid my other categories to bring the Amex category up to the green.  But I am not even sure where this money is going, as in theory I already set it aside in my individual categories.

Any help with this would be greatly appreciated.  Thank you!

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  • It would be helpful to know: 

    1. The balance in "available" before you make the payment

    2. How the payment is categorized (or rather not categorized)--what it says in each field

    3. What the available says after you make the payment. 

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    • WordTenor Thank you -- the payment is categorized as a transfer, so it says "Category not needed."  That appears to be working as it should.

      As to #1, it seems like the "Available" field is around zero before I make the payment.  Then it goes very negative when the payment processes.  So it seems like the issue is that when transactions are being logged, it is not moving the amount to the credit card's "available" field like it does for my other cards.

      After I make the payment, to get the "Available" column out of the red, I have to budget the same amount as the credit card payment.  But all my other credit cards have a budget of zero with no issue.

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      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      Sky Blue Network Sound like you never budgeted to pay the balance on the card when you started YNAB.

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    • nolesrule Is there a way to fix this?

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      • WordTenor
      • Arranged the menu, the venue, the seating.
      • WordTenor
      • 1 mth ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Sky Blue Network Yes, but depending on how much flex you have in your other categories, the result may not be very pleasant. What happened was that in your mind, of the cash you had on hand when you started, some was reserved to pay back the card for spending you'd already done. But in YNAB, you didn't make that intention explicit by budgeting the money. You budgeted the money to other categories. So it now may look like you have plenty of money for thing Y, but in reality, thing Y's money should be reserved for paying the card back. 

      Remove money from other categories and move it to the payment category for the card until the category is equal and opposite to the card balance. At that point, your budget correctly reflects the money that is needed to keep this card in balance.

      Reply Like 2
  • The most common cause is neglecting to reserve money to pay off the balance on the card when starting YNAB. You must budget to the Payment category if you wish to pay anything over and above that covering recent budgeted purchases.

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    • dakinemaui Thanks for your response.  I pay the full balance every month, and this issue keeps popping up, which makes me think it is an ongoing problem (as opposed to an initial balance that has not been fixed).  I rebudget to get it back to zero, but it always spikes back up when I make a payment.

      The confusing thing is that this does not happen with my other cards.  Could this be a problem with how I set up the import/account?

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    • Sky Blue Network In other words, for card A, when it comes time to pay and the balance is $1000, there is already $1000 in the "Available" column -- so everything works out.  But for this card, when if the balance is $2000, when I pay it the "Available" column jumps to -2000 and I have to go find that money in my other categories to cover it.

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      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 1 mth ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Sky Blue Network It's on ongoing problem simply because you've never fixed it. It has been an issue from setup, and it won't fix itself.

      As previously mentioned, fix it by moving funds from elsewhere in the budget to make the CC Payment category Available equal to the account balance (as a positive number). I would do this in the current month, as it's less work.

      You should probably check your other CC categories as well. 

      Reply Like 1
    • dakinemaui the issue is that I’ve had to do this manually every month for the last several months, whereas it does it automatically for my other cards. Is there a way to make it so it is automatic here?

       

      In other words, I do bring it in balance as you suggest, but most months it pops back out of balance  

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      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 4 wk ago
      • Reported - view

      Sky Blue Network If you make the Available the correct amount to reserve funds for the entire balance, then it will stay in sync as long as you are making budgeted purchases (and avoid credit card rewards, returns after making a payment, using transfers to fund gift card accounts, etc.)

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    • Sky Blue Network It is very likely you are overspending on this card. There are other reasons, but they are far less common:

      https://support.youneedabudget.com/r/63c56c

      Reply Like 1
  • A paid in full card should have a Payment category Available that covers the entire account balance -- not just the statement balance.

    It sounds like you've improved this discrepancy by budgeting funds after incurring the red error indication, but you may not be all the way there. 

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  • Have you reconciled your AMEX recently?  It sounds like it might be going positive when you make a payment.

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      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 1 mth ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      satcook I wouldn't expect this since OP has to raid categories to cover. A positive account would put money in TBB that can/should be used instead.

      However, reconciling the account is a great suggestion, as that might identify missing transactions that might explain why the Payment Category is too low.

      Reply Like 1
    • satcook Thanks for the suggestion.  Whenever this pops up, I check that everything is lined up, and the balances are indeed correct.  So it makes me wonder how if I budget out all my spending, I can suddenly have a large negative available field  I need to find extra money for

      Reply Like
    • Hi Sky Blue Network !

      I'm happy to help figure out what's going on with that American Express Credit Card! First, I would recommend reconciling your accounts—to make sure the balances are on track before we get started.

      If you’re up for it, go ahead and enable Support Access for your account. Once you’ve done that, let me know—and mention whether you’d like to continue the discussion here or via email instead.

      Reply Like
    • Nicole Thank you!  I enabled support access and would love to continue via email if possible.  I really appreciate  the help. 

      Reply Like
    • Hi Sky Blue Network !

      I sent you an email! :)

      Reply Like
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