Currency Exchange planned?

Hello fellow YNABers,

I really love that YNAB supports Swiss Francs. But as you may know, Switzerland, where i live, is a really small country. Therefore, I often buy stuff abroad in the EU (Euro, yay) and the US. Also, I have a german bank account and some investment accounts in the EU with currency Euro.

What Id' love to see would be a multicurrency option. Like if you transfer an amount from an account in one currency to an account in another currency, there should be an option to set another incoming value on the target account. Of course, it must also be possible to define the currency per account.

As a workaround, i simply add an outgoing transaction on my main account in swiss francs and an incoming on the target euro account. Sadly this messes my repoorts a bit up.

So, now the question :). Is such a feature planned? If yes, is there an ETA?

Kind regards

Orchid Beat (nice name, maybe i keep it xD)

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  • Multiple currency support within a budget would be great.
    Just the ability to select the currency of an account/card in the budget would be sufficient for me. 

    I would not want the currency "exchange", though,  as it would overcomplicate YNAB IMHO.

    Like
  • I have that issue as well.  My workaround has been to define an operating currency (in my case USD) and a nominal exchange rate to the other currencies (e.g.  1.3 CAD = 1 USD or 4 NIS = 1 USD).  Since the point of budgeting is not so much to have super accurate balances but rather to have a sense of how much money I have, I find that doing it this way maintains sufficient accuracy, and then I make an adjustment every now and then.

    This has worked better than defining multiple budgets, one in each currency, because then the amounts in the various accounts don't participate in the same budget categories anymore, which for me defeats the whole purpose of YNAB.

     

    I don't mind sticking with nominal exchange rates, so what I would like to see is a feature that either supports multiple currencies fully, or that supports nominal exchange rates.  That is, I could enter an amount and the nominal FX rate, and YNAB would record the transaction with the amount in the operating currency.  For example:  I would say 43NIS and 4 NIS = 1 USD, and it would enter 10.75USD for the transaction amount (perhaps with a note somewhere about the 43NIS).

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  • Hi there!
    Thanks for letting us know you'd like to see this option! I'll make sure to pass your feedback along to our design team. They go through feedback data almost daily, and in regular research cycles they analyze all this collected feedback to plan for what's next in YNAB. 

    For now, you'll need to create a separate budget for each currency you use. For example, you could have one budget for your main currency accounts, and one budget for your secondary currency accounts. In both budgets, have a category called ‘Currency Transfer'. For our example, let’s say that you have accounts in US Dollars and Canadian Dollars. If you were to send 1000 CAD to your US account, record a transaction in the CAD budget for 1000, categorized to the Currency Transfer category. That 1000 has now left the CAD budget.

    When it arrives in your US account as 600 USD (or so), add it as income and budget it to your US budget categories. When you send money the other way, the process is the same but reversed. It uses the Currency Transfer category in the USD budget, which is then Income arriving into the CAD budget. 

    We like this method because all the currency fluctuations and charges are simplified. You record what you send, and you record what you receive.

    Like 2
    • Janelle - YNAB Team I do exactly what You just described and it works. It's just bothersome a bit to have two budgets instead of one. 

      But I understand that there is probably less than 0.1% of people using YNAB who uses multi-currency ;)

      Like
      • Marilla Wex
      • Full-time actor with highly fluctuating income!
      • marillawex
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Alice Blue Elk (16e44ea38143) I dunno - I bet a bunch of us Canadians who have accounts with TD Canada Trust in US and Canadian funds would love this!

      Like
  • Cornflower Blue Tape (dd59d94b3343) said:
    Since the point of budgeting is not so much to have super accurate balances but rather to have a sense of how much money I havE

     Why would you not want super accurate balances?  The point of budgeting in YNAB is to use your categories to make spending decisions. If they only give you a general sense of your money, you can't do that. 

    This is also why I doubt there will ever be meaningful multi-currency support. Because currency fluctuates, and an exchange rate is not guaranteed, you can't have a zero-based budget in multiple currencies. My $250 budgeted for dining out is worth 1657 Chinese Yuan today, but tomorrow it might be different. Even crazier, it's worth a little less today if I decide to take that money out in cash and happen to do it at the airpprt. So if I want to eat out today in China, how much do I actually have to spend? I can't know. 

    Pretty surprised to see a support person say they'll pass this on without at least addressing that issue, to be honest. I could ask for YNAB to automatically give me a new kitten once a year and someone could say they'll consider adding that feature, but saying "we'll consider it" doesn't mean that feature is possible to add. 

    Like 4
    • Tan Major : you make a good point--balances should be accurate and variable exchange rates makes it hard to convert all value into a single currency.

      I guess my situation may be more unusual than most in that my daily transactions occur in multiple currencies, so splitting them into separate budgets doesn't work for me (no way to meaningfully keep track of how much there is for a given spending category overall).

      In my case, using a nominal exchange rate (which I adjust every 6-12 months) doesn't lead to huge discrepancies, and I make sure the balances don't get way off by adjusting every month or two.  That's worked so far.

      Would love to know whether anyone else runs into the problem of wanting to track a single budget category when spending in different currencies.  (For example, you spend cash in local currency while credit card purchases are in a foreign currency.)  Any expats care to weigh in?

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  • To do multi currency budgets, you would have to have the currency nominated for each category, and tbb would need to be split by each currency.

    And yes I have done it manually before in a single budget.

     

    I honestly don't see YNAB implementing this, it introduces a large level of complication that only a small section of the user base would use.

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  • I am so glad I found this topic, and thank you all! I am new to YNAB and am converting from Banktivity which has a multy-currency support. It is not a piece of cake there, but I am shocked to see that YNAB cannot do this at all. It makes sense that not everybody actually has accounts in multiple currencies (however I do, like people above), but I cannot believe that nobody uses PayPal which has a quirky system of posting transactions in the currency they were made, resulting in me having USD, EUR, GBP and more interesting currencies within the same account! 

    Having separate budgets is a workaround, but, as perfectly explained above,  I lose the 'other budget' categories from my reports. Also, budgeting for a category 'Currency transfer' in my USD budget when I want to set aside money for family support in Russia is, well, weird. 

    For me, that's a major drawback, especially since I have a few thousands of transactions with transfers between accounts in different currencies. Nominal exchange rates for all major currencies are so stupid easy to get for any given day, you can do that in Excel with a simple formula - why not here?? *puzzled**

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      • WordTenor
      • I have the honor to be your obedient servant
      • WordTenor
      • 2 yrs ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Nastia O because to have a zero-based budget where your category balances are accurate, you need the exact exchange rate, which can fluctuate with as little as whether you grabbed cash at an ATM or went to the money changer. To have YNAB work for multi-currency the way it works for single currency (account independent), you need a perfect, one-to-one mapping of your category balances all the time. 

      But the new line from support is "don't worry!" So I suppose, pick your favorite feedback. But I wouldn't hold my breath for an impossible feature, no matter how cheerily it is promised to be passed on.

      Like 1
      • Orchid Beat
      • On my way back to a Linux Geek
      • Orchid_Beat_b30dcd93535
      • 2 yrs ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      WordTenor The fluctuation doesn't bother you at all time. It bothers you when you exchange money. And only then. In my situation, i have a main bank account in swiss francs, my base currency, the one that will always remain 1.

      Now lets say i transfer 100CHF to an EUR Account. To make things easy, we assume an echange ratio of 0.90€/CHF. This means, i get 90€ on my EUR Account.

      All i need is a further field for this transfer with the new incoming amount of €.

      DATE          | Payee                           | Category                      | Outgoing | Incoming

      23.01.2018| Transfer:EUR Account|<no category needed>|-100CHF  | +90€

      Of course, another Incoming Value must only be possible when the target account is held in another currency. This variable must be defined during the creation of an account in YNAB.

      All further bookings from my EUR Account will be held in EUR and therefore remains within the EUR Account on factor 1. With this solution, you don't have to bother with the frequent changes of the exchange rates. When I exchanges CHF to EUR, i don't want to know the exact value of the 2€ i have left in a week in CHF. I just want to know that i have 2€ left on my EUR Account. When i transfer this 2€ back to my CHF account, then I'm interssted in the exact value as I have the two € on two account statements at this point and particular moment.

       MoneyManagerEX, GNUCash handles currencies like this, and, as i know now, Banktivity too...

      Like 1
      • WordTenor
      • I have the honor to be your obedient servant
      • WordTenor
      • 2 yrs ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Orchid Beat (b30dcd935351) 

      • The problem with explaining this is that you have to begin with a pretty sophisticated understanding of the interaction (or rather, lack thereof) between accounts and categories. Just because you have money in two accounts doesn't mean it's not available across all your categories. So if you're looking at your "shopping" category, you need to know at any given time, what it is worth in EUR and also what it is worth in CHF. Because when using YNAB, it shouldn't matter which account you use to spend. Your category balances give you the information about how much you can spend on thing x, and your account balance tells you whether or not you can use that account. You don't not have the 2EUR just because it's in a different account. You have it, and you could spend it in CHF if you wanted. Case in point--if you had an emergency in the EU, you could quickly exchange a whole bunch of CHF to cover it. The money is still part of your overall financial picture even though it's in a different currency. But keeping that straight requires every category to be marked to an exchange rate all the time. And if that exchange rate happens to be slightly different than the real exchange rate you use, your categories give you bad info. 

        They might someday do one where there are budgets side by side. But it won't be the same product as YNAB.  You can't ever have the same flexibility that single-currency users have--you will have to rely on accounts matching categories, at least in part. Since that independence is so fundamental to YNAB, the likelihood they'll ever actually do a workaround for multi currency is pretty small. But if you don't like that answer, hey, I'm not official and the official answer is "Thanks so much! We'll pass it on!"

      Like 2
      • jenmas
      • jenmas
      • 2 yrs ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      To illustrate what WordTenor is saying. Right now I have an on budget account called Euros (I'm in the US so the USD is my default currency). I have a 50Euro note in my wallet right this second. The account balance for the Euro account is US$54.74 because that is the exchange rate I got when I took out some cash at the airport in Amsterdam in April. So that $54.74 is in my budget. Is it in the grocery category? car insurance? mortgage? Netflix subscription? It's in all of those and none of those. And if I have a coworker who is going on a business trip next month and I say hey, do you want to buy some euros for the layover in Frankfurt, I'll hand colleague the 50 euro note and ask for the exchange rate on that day rounded to the nearest whole dollar. Let's say that's 50euro=US$55.23 and colleague will give me $55. I'll record it as a transfer of $54.74 from  Euro account to Wallet account and create an income transaction of $0.26 with payee "Exchange Rate Gain/Loss" and assign that $0.26 to whatever category in my budget I think needs it. This is a pain in the butt amount of work, but it's how I keep it absolutely zero-based.

      Like 1
    • WordTenor I understand the apparent challenge of having fluctuating exchange rates and that budget categories will increase and decrease slightly every day.  But surely this is a solved problem in the world of accounting, right?  International companies—and I don't just mean huge multinationals but anyone doing cross-border business or import/export—must be able to budget across accounts in multiple currencies.  Isn't the promise of IT that lowly little me can begin to benefit from the same body of knowledge and practice that has been the domain of larger organizations heretofore?

      And honestly, unless I become a millionaire, or even a billionaire, I doubt that the slight day-to-day changes will have a meaningful impact on my $20 or $100 or $1000 monthly budget.  If an exchange rate does happen to vary a lot in a short time, then I'll have to readjust my categories.  Which is our reality.  Perhaps one day the world will have a single currency, but until then we have to find ways to live fiscally prudent lives in a multi-currency world.

      I have faith in the YNAB team's ability to think this through, and I'd be happy to consult with them about this anytime.

      Like
      • WordTenor
      • I have the honor to be your obedient servant
      • WordTenor
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Cornflower Blue Tape (dd59d94b3343) accrual accounting != zero sum budgeting. That companies operate in multiple currencies is a strawman. 

      The person who took YNAB from Jesse's spreadsheet and made it into software lives throughout the course of the year in several different countries. Have all the faith in YNAB you want. I'm pretty sure if he could figure out how to make YNAB work in multiple currencies and still be YNAB, he would've done it by now. 

      I wouldn't hold my breath on this one, were I you. 

      Like
  • Marcelo has developed a little tool (Python script) that might be helpful to some of us, if only as inspiration for a similar "hack" 😄
    https://support.youneedabudget.com/t/631vh4/adjust-transactions-amount-in-different-currency-in-ofx-file

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  • I also would like to see multi-currency suppprt.  The two budget approach seems too cumbersome. I have figured out a different way to meet my objectives. 

    I  have bank and credit cards dominated in both CAD and USD (and run company expense accounts in both currencies, but that’s a different issue). 

    The majority of my spending is in CAD, so my budget file is CAD.  However, the accounts I keep in the respective currency of the account.   To keep the budget straight, I do something fairly simple when posting transactions... I added a budget category call ‘FX on Foreign Purchases”.   When I enter a non-CAD transaction, the total is the foreign currency amount (i.e. USD) - since that is the real transaction amount. Then I use a split category.  The real category I enter the converted total (i.e.  USD 10 * 1.3 = CAD 13) and then use the FX category for the offset of  CAD 3. 

     

    US Visa:  ABC Store  -10

         Grocery -13

         FX on purchases +3

     

    US account balance is accurate. CAD budget balance is accurate. 

    And I have created a budget amount where I am putting aside money to cover the exchange cost when I need to convert currencies. 

    What doesn’t work is the net worth reporting  since I am commingling different currency balances. Since my US balances are relatively small, this isn’t a problem for me  

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