If you’re a direct import user, you are well aware of the black-box phenomenon of credit card transactions. You buy a Snuggie on Amazon, or a taco dinner at your favorite local spot and pay with your credit card. If you’re not entering transactions manually, you’ll swipe and promptly forget about that transaction…that is, until you open your budget multiple days later and it suddenly appears.
Maybe it’ll bring you back to that delicious salsa verde, or make you curse and go yelling around to family members about what was the $24.51 on Amazon? What was the $12.15? Either way, the transactions now eat up some dollars from Eating Out, or from your husband’s fun money (“But the Snuggie is clothing! Not fun money!”), possibly plunging the category into the red.
Well, with the release of our pending transactions update, we’ve cut down on that black box phenomenon to reduce the lag time between swiping and transactions appearing in your budget. That means your budget will be more up to date!
What Actually Changed in My Budget with Pending Transactions?
Whenever you have transactions pending, you’ll see a section at the top of your account register that will list them out. Just like if you have any “scheduled” transactions, on iOS and web these will appear in a gentle thundercloud shade of gray at the top of your budget.
If your account doesn’t support pending transactions, you won’t see this section, or if you don’t have any new or lingering pending transactions, you won’t see this section until the new ones become available.
What Do I Do With Them?
If you’re familiar with scheduled transactions, pending transactions work virtually the same way. They give you a look into what’s coming.
If you’re on iOS: you can treat these just like your other transactions by categorizing, entering early, or matching to a transaction you entered yourself. Any edit to a pending transaction will move it to the register (where it’s counted in your budget).
If you’re on Android: for now, these transactions will be a read-only look into what’s coming, but they won’t “count” toward your budget until they clear the bank. But don’t worry, Android users! We won’t leave you hanging. There will be feature parity in the future for pending transactions!
Um, Wait, I Didn’t Have These Before?
Nope! This is actually cutting-edge budgeting innovation. Because banks are banks, they weren’t exactly playing sharesies all too well. But now, thanks to some advancements, you can “see” these pending transactions for some banks before they process. Less lag time, more budget up-to-date time.
What if I Enter Transactions Myself?
Pending transactions can automatically “match” with transactions you enter yourself so you don’t have duplication. The match will appear linked, and you’ll just need to approve if it’s correct once it clears the bank. And how do you know when it clears the bank? The clock icon will disappear next to the transaction and it will appear in the regular section of your account register to approve.
How Soon Will I See My Transactions?
Before: 2-3 days
With pending transactions: 24-48 hours
When Will These Come in Handy?
This feature is helpful not only to put your budget more up-to-date, but for flexibility to handle transactions with amounts that may change between pending and posted statuses—like when you go out to eat and then a tip gets added to the total bill.
Does Everyone Have These?
Not every bank makes pending transactions available, and you might even have a credit card with a big bank where you can see them, and a debit card at a small credit union where you can’t.
Right now, pending transactions are only available to customers in the US and Canada who use Direct Import (and will depend on the banks you use).
I Don’t See Them Yet.
Depending on your spending habits and the banks you use, it may take a few days for pending transactions to first display. Just hold and count to 2,129. Or 13,214. Or…I’m not sure. Is this our permission for your to go and make more transactions? Maybe.
What If I Don’t Like Them?
We will pretend not to have our feelings hurt, but for real: we prepared for you to do you. On iOS and web, you can opt to hide pending transactions from your register with the click of a button and change your mind anytime (Android users, you’ll have this option too in the future!).
Why Does It Still Take 24 Hours or More?
Gather close as we tell the tale of what we refer to as “bank time” around here. Bank time is like no other time you know.
Whenever you give that credit card or debit card a swipe (or erm…a chip insertion…or a tap…or a hover…geesh 2020 sure is complicated), that transaction gets taken by digital carrier pigeon to your bank, who then marks that transaction as “pending.”
Then the transaction sits and waits to be processed, and this can sometimes take a day or two—or three or four (banks, right?).
Once they process the transaction, that’s the moment the digital carrier pigeon flies over to your YNAB budget and the transaction appears for you to approve.
Learn more about bank time here.
In short, we’re at the mercy of banks as to when they will release that little digital carrier pigeon. This new feature aims to trigger the “pigeon release plan” before the actual pigeon arrives.
I Still Have Questions
Not to worry, our award-winning customer support team is Mr. Rogers-level friendly and Yoda-level wise in all things YNAB. Reach out at [email protected].