Credit Card to Card Transfers

I have been YNAB-ing for a number of years and, thanks to YNAB, my Credit Scores have gone from in-the-toilet to nearly excellent (in just a couple of years of "seriously" following the rules). This years' resolution was to use the software to govern the CC payments - my transaction memo fields contain "[email protected]" every time I schedule payments - and to try to only spend from the budget, more budgeted spending and less "rolling with the punches" spending, which has helped growth of the True Expenses categories immensely. 

Anyway, my question, I opened a new CC account - for the 0% APR-for-14-months offer. I then transferred funds from 2 different cards (approx. 25% APRs) so I can now pay those cards' statement balances every month. 

In the software, I added the new account (with starting balance $0.00) then transferred from the high interest accounts into the new account. Now, in the accounts side, my new account has an orange flag saying "Overspending (Jul) $2073.74" which is the total transferred.  I also entered a separate transaction for the transfer fees and those were funded in the budget so it showed up in the payment bubble.

I think I understand the "why" of this flag - YNAB is interpreting it as un-categorized spending (maybe?). But I can't figure out how to get rid of it. Or should I just ignore it (a prospect which really doesn't sit well with me - will it follow me all the rest of my days?) I tried moving funds in the budget side (from the corresponding CC categories) but that didn't do it - not to mention there aren't enough funds to do it completely...

Does anyone have any suggestions?

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  • Hi Maroon Leopard !

    You're right! Since balance transfers are Transfers and don't require a category, the "spending" can't be budgeted for in your categories.

    Here’s a quick video that walks you through the balance transfer process..

    When you make a balance transfer between credit cards, you’ll add the transfer transaction between those credit card accounts in YNAB (like you mentioned). Then, your Credit Card Payments categories will also need to be adjusted — move money between them to show that the debt is now on the new card.

    Give that a try and let me know if you still have questions! :)

    Like 1
  • Hi Faness, thank you for your quick reply. I tried the things in the video but it doesn't seem to address the problem.  Nor did moving funds in the budget help - this only increased my available payment amount (in the account side) but it did nothing to the overspending amount.

    My problem is that on the new CC account, next to the 'Reconcile Account ' and the 'Payment' button/balloon, there is an orange balloon that says that I've overspent this month the total amount that I transfered from my old CC accounts. (Apparently the video is older as it doesn't have the payment button/balloon). What I can't figure out is why it's there as I only moved money from one account to another (or in this case 2 accounts). The new account still shows my correct payment amount as it was all budgeted spending (I had an emergency plumbing repair before the transfers). And the respective CC account balances are correct, I just can't get it to recognize that I haven't, in my opinion, overspent anything!  (OK... confession time... through the months (specifically last year) I didn't always pay the entire available payments, just the minimum plus some, and as the funds grew, I "borrowed" them to cover other overspent categories... did that lapse into bad habits come back to bite me in the you-know-where?) - or...

    Could this be a programming glitch?

    I thought that maybe if I adjusted the beginning balance... this got rid of the overspending balloon but the balance wasn't correct! Thanks for that undo button! So then I tried opening a Line of Credit account but that seemed to REALLY mess things up so I deleted it and started typing! Help! Please?

    • Maroon Leopard Is it okay if I take a closer look at things? I sent you a quick email requesting permission to access your budget. If it's alright by you, respond to that email and I'll dig in! :)

      Just to make sure I'm understanding correctly, it's the Available amounts for the credit card category that isn't adding up, correct?

    • Faness 

      No it's not the available amounts, it's the account side - the "Discover It" account shows that I overspent (in the upper right corner, by the "Reconcile Account" button). All I did was open the account then transfer money (pay with my Discover card) from other CC accounts. The paid accounts reflect the transferred balances but the Discover account says I overspent those funds.

    • Maroon Leopard Got it! I took a look and that Overspending is due to the credit card payments you made. It looks like you used your Discover it card to pay down the balances on your Chase and Capital One cards. When a credit card is used to pay a credit card, it's seen as a balance transfer and can't be budgeted for in your categories. If you plan to pay your credit card off in full, then you'll need to budget the amounts of those transfers towards your Discover It category to cover the difference.

    • Faness Thank you for the post. I tried doing that, I highlighted my entire budget categories and quick budgeted them to zero available balances. Then I clicked on the available to budget bubble and put it all into the Discover category.  Then I went over to the Discover account and it still says that I overspent the same amount... even tho I now have more than enough funds in the green payment button to cover it. If I budgeted it, why is it still showing an overspending? (This is pretty much what the video said to do...) difference is that in the video there was $1000.00  in the to-be-budgeted bubble that she used to fund the CC category and move back and forth. 

      I still contend that the problem should be looked at as a "moving money" situation. Would it be any different if I had made the Discover card account 'type of account' a line of credit (as in a loan) instead of a credit card?

    • Maroon Leopard 

      Credit cards and lines of credit are handled the same way in your budget, so changing that account type wouldn't change the amount you're seeing. 

      Since there isn't a way to budget for balance transfers, that Overspending amount is going to remain present. Budgeting for it in the credit card category adjusts your Available balance so that you have enough Available to pay off the balance transfer if that's your intention, but it won't update the "Overspending" amount.

      I understand how this can be confusing. I'll pass this along to our development team for consideration of a change going forward. :)

      • Keith Warno
      • yada yada
      • warke
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Faness I ran into this same issue just today and I'm curious if anything came from the development team.


      I just came back from a trip to Disney World.  Disney uses a room charge setup coupled with their "magic bands".  You charge to the room and at the end of the trip they hit your CC with one lump charge.  So it's effectively a balance transfer:  I have an actual CC account in nYNAB and another "charge" account I use for room-charge scenarios like this.  Both are obviously on-budget accounts.  I only charged back to the room one time for 23.19 so I had that budgeted balance in the charge account.  When Disney hit the CC, I logged the "balance transfer" of 23.19 in nYNAB from the CC account to the charge account.  That 23.19 shows up as "available for payment" on the charge account.  I manually move that back to the CC account where it belongs to be available for actual payment -- but as noted, that 23.19 balance transfer still shows up as "overspending" in the CC account even though there's plenty of funds in the CC account "available for payment" to bring the balance to zero.  This is more than a bit misleading because any time I see that overspending alert I frantically go hunting for the offending category -- but there is none.  We're in the green all around, and all CCs (I have only two) have enough funds to bring their balances to zero.

      I hope this gets addressed.  Thanks.

      • Jannelle
      • jannelle_ynabsupport
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Keith Warno There hasn't been any updates recently, but I can certainly add your feedback alongside the others! You can also submit your feedback/feature request via the Feature Request Form as well. 😊

  • Good morning Faness!

    I slept on it and figured out how to "fix" the overspending problem...

    I deleted the transfer transactions and manually adjusted each accounts' balance to reflect the correct balances. This got rid of the over expenditure in the new account - in effect, telling the software that there wasn't any payments (which there weren't), only money movement. 

    Not sure this was kosher, but it worked. Thank you for your help and I hope my last evenings' post didn't come across as rude... I was just frustrated.

    Like 2
    • Maroon Leopard Not at all! I understand the want and need to get things ironed out when it comes to finances! :)

      Entering the transactions as adjustments will prevent the overspending notification, just make sure you adjust the balances of all three accounts (both credit cards that received payments, and the Discover card you made the payment from). 

      I'm still going to pass this along to our development team, but thank you for sharing your work around!

    • Maroon Leopard 

      ok... that didn't work exactly like I had hoped... :(  Seems just reset the balances made threw off the transactions and reconciles. So I think I wa able to undo all that - at least the balances got restored to their previous amounts.

      What I think I needed to do was a fresh start (which I did). This allowed me to reset the balances to what I wanted them to be AND I didn't "lose" my accounts' transaction histories, should I ever need to dig them up.  Didn't really want to do the Fresh Start - I usually do that around New Years Eve - but oh well...

      Aside from losing the age of my money in the corner of the Budget screen, which was s-l-o-w-l-y creeping up to 30 days (I was staying above 16 days before the fresh start), there DOES seem to be a silver lining... after entering all my accounts' starting balances, I had enough money in the To Be Budgeted box to get all of my categories in the green (with a little to spare)! So I'm ending July with money to pay all of my August utilities, grocery money for the whole month and etc etc etc.!!! 

      And, since tomorrow is payday, the credit cards get restocked too!

      Woo Hoo!

      I LOVE YNAB!

      Like 1
    • Maroon Leopard This sounds great! I'm sorry you had to do a Fresh Start, but I'm happy it turned out for the better! Categorizing those transfers as regular transactions (categorized as Inflow: To Be Budgeted), should have adjusted all of the balances without causing issues between the accounts. However, it sounds like the Fresh Start was the best option anyway! :)

    • Maroon Leopard I just ran into this same situation. I ended up entering the transactions to each card account as Inflow: To be Budgeted and then I transferred the Payment amounts on the budget to correlate to the new balances. I now have a "Credit Card Transfer" line in the income section of my reports, but it is 0.00 and it also takes care of the orange Overspending notification on the new card.

      Like 1
    • Gordon Patterson Jr  and Maroon Leopard ; I encountered the same scenario.  I took the 0% APR balance transfer offer and moved the balance from CC H% (High APR) to CC 0% (0%APR).  I am keeping both cards open.  Here's what I did.  [Step 1]  Added and linked  CC 0% [Step 2] In Budget, created a category called "CC Transfer" [Step 3] once the transfer transactions were imported on both CC H% (showed up as inflow) & CC 0% (showed up as outflow), I assigned both of those transactions to the newly created category "CC Transfer".  It zero'ed out (and it should).  I can now 'hide' this category since it was a temporary placeholder.    CC 0% now has the transferred balance. 

      Like 2
    • Green Guitar I like your solution a lot better. It's more elegant and less work. Thank you. I'll do this with any future transfers.

    • For all those using unlinked accounts Purple Amethyst 's suggestion does not work. 

    • Navy Blue Battery This HelpDoc on Credit Card Balance Transfers has a quick video on how to handle it in your budget. All you need to do is set up the account, and make a transfer between them. An extra category isn't needed. Just make sure to move the money between the Credit Card Payment categories to the new card.

      Let me know if you have questions!

      Like 1
    • Nicole Thank you! Worked! This was what I originally did but I got thrown off because it tracks this as over spending in the "New Credit Card" account. I assumed this would transfer to my budget tab as overspending and didn't even does not. The overspending in the credit card category technically isn't really there but since it is activity on the card I get why it is listed that way. Thanks again for the prompt response!

      Like 1
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