Lack of working Account Linking is going to drive me away
The ability to link my accounts and import my transactions automatically is 100% vital to my use of this product. Yes, I know YNAB is supposed to be different in how you manage things, and I do manage things the YNAB way, but I am far too busy, far to scatter brained, and far to "fragmented" to manually keep up with entering and importing transactions manually.
Lately the import side of YNAB has been a complete mess, and as of today I now have more accounts that don't work than I do accounts that do work.
Apple Card - Can't link
Capital One Accounts - Needs to be manually reauthorized every day
RBC accounts (US and Canada) - Haven't worked in like a week
Chase Accounts - Now being told will need to reauthorize manually once a month
Literally at this point the ONLY account I have left that works properly is my Citibank account. That's it.
I love YNAB, and I've never found any other software that is near as good in letting me pro-actively manage my finances, but automatic import of transactions is a non negotiable feature for me. I absolutely must have it, and if YNAB can't offer that anymore I'm sad to say I will have no choice but to find another product, even a worse one, that does.
First off, that isn't automatic which is the point.
Secondly, I did try to use file based importing to "full the hole" until things were fixed, but the file based importing imports things with completely different names than what was already imported via link and just made a mess that took me hours to fix.
You have a few choices:
- Stay the course.
- Start inputting manually as things happen.
- Use file based import.
- Change banks and credit cards to ones that are YNAB friendly.
- Move on.
I personally chose 4. None of my accounts have issues most of the time. The only exception is Apple Card but I decided that it's worth it as it doesn't get much use and I just handle it manually.
Mint has world class direct import but unfortunately, their budgeting isn't very good and you have to deal with a bunch of ads. Good luck.
I used to manage Digital Operations for a major bank and we used Yodlee. Yodlee is the big player in this space and I don't know if it's a price point issue or what. I have suggested before that YNAB look at Yodlee.... Sorry so many people are having issues. One more reason I stay on YNAB 4 for now.
Just agreeing here. YNAB was life-changing - but the import issues have made budgeting and classifying things a nightmare. I log in less now and get more frustrated when I do. Yes, I'm doing file based imports, but when it's for three accounts, it takes time. Really annoyed and desperately hope this gets addressed.
Just to add that that the import issue is a huge problem, other than not working or require resyncing all the time it often also produce the wrong balance for me in my accounts that I'll have to manually reconcile.
I lol to the people suggesting changing accounts and card for a financial service that doesn't do what it's supposed to do. You do realized your account history and length does impact your credit score right?
I guess I'm definitely in the camp of moving on, if there're reasonable alternatives, please share.
Slate Blue Case said:
You do realized your account history and length does impact your credit score right?
You also realize that you don't have to cancel your credit cards when you start using another, right?
Slate Blue Case said:
I can never get everyone to always input their transactions in a family setting.
this is a whole other problem. I feel your pain on this. For years I was the only person keeping track of this stuff. Fast forward to today and hubby enters (almost) every transaction in real time. And I am not going to say that it is ok that a feature that is supposed to be part of the software doesn't work. But a couple of things to mention that I have found helpful.
- you say "everyone". That sounds like a lot of people. Generally people are in a 2 user setting. Do you have more than 2 people spending money from your accounts? None of my business I know but it would help me understand.
- I do 100% manual entry with import to confirm the transaction, fix any mistakes in the amount entered, and catch any transactions that have not been entered. I will admit I get a sweet pleasure when I import and the link appears. Most often, all of the transactions are already there and the import confirms it. That is a 2 click process to finish it off. That said, some banks take FOREVER to push those transactions through. (I am in Canada so I can't speak to other countries). I find this in particular with credit cards which we use for 95% of our non-automated transactions. The way it works is the charge goes to pending and then sits there for several days, especially over the weekend. If I wait for the import to reflect the expenditure, my budget could be way off for days leading to potential issues. By entering right away, the budget category is updated immediately and I know that I can't order $50 takeout dinner because the restaurant budget is done for the month. If I were to wait, it is possible that I think we have the funds available when in fact we don't.
- How did I get my husband to enter transactions? Well, that is a whole long saga with various stages but I will try to keep it short.
First we got YNAB on his phone.
Then I got him to check available funds BEFORE spending.
I pinned the categories that he uses most often to the top of the budget.
In the meantime I was still entering his transactions from the receipt when he came home. Time used - 60 seconds.
Then I taught him how to enter a basic transaction for a purchase that he makes often - groceries. 90% of the time we shop at the same store so when the transaction is started and he starts typing REAL the rest of the payee (Canadian Superstore) pops up. And since it was a transaction before, YNAB makes the assumption that we are again buying groceries and using the same payment method. The date also auto populates. So in reality he has to open the app, click enter transaction, enter the amount that he just spent, type REAL and save. Takes 10 seconds (well maybe 30 because he is a slow texter). Does he make mistakes? Yes. sometimes the amount is off or the payment method changed (when we changed our main card). Do I use the import function to match and catch these? Yes. But I don't have to since most of the time they are correct and even the "wrong ones" are close enough that the budget is accurate.
- If other people are spending money, they need to be an active part of the budget. The best way to do this is to have them enter transactions. Sometimes my husband goes over budget. But he gets "warned" right away and usually lets me know. Then I can move funds immediately to resolve it. (no one moves money but me!!!).
- for the other 5% of transactions that are pre-authorized or recurring, I enter these as scheduled repeating transactions in YNAB and they enter automatically on the date. This also help me with the quick budget process but that's another subject for another day.
- there are widgets available to put a transaction entry shortcut right on the screen. I am using iOS and hubby is on Android. I do have a shortcut that I click and it opens up YNAB and the add transaction screen. All I would have to do is enter the amount and the payee (although I am sure I could probably set something up for a regular payee).
I would suggest that YNAB actually works better as a budget tool when transactions are entered manually. It makes every transaction a conscious decision point. Luckily we are now at the point where are budget amounts are pretty accurate so there is usually enough there to pay for the regular stuff without reallocating. But that took a very long time. I reconcile every couple of weeks and that usually is a 2 minute task (due to import) but if I had to do file based then I would do that and it would take a bit longer. But technically if your balance is accurate you should be able to clear all and reconcile without any import at all. Or (gasp) not ever reconcile.
Again, my answer is very long but I would hate to see someone not use YNAB because of the import issues. To me it would be like not driving my car because the keyless entry didn't work. Nice to have but not necessary for the primary function.
I agree with MXMOM. OP keeps saying they do not have discipline to either enter transactions manually or to do file based import. I think that perhaps YNAB is not the right software for them. YNAB simulates the envelope method and the best way to keep a handle of your money is to manually enter transactions, so that it simulates the feeling of taking cash out of an envelope.
Look, I'm a RBC customer too and don't like that my manual transactions don't import anymore. It's more of a convenience than a necessity though.
PS. Having said all that, I do think YNAB needs to reconsider their pricing if they can't get it to work.