Credit Card Refunds

If you’ve recently returned a purchase you made on your credit card, you might be wondering—which category should I select for the refund? To quickly determine the answer, ask yourself the following: “ Is this inflow to my credit card offsetting a previously funded expense that's already in YNAB?

If the answer is yes, because you’ve received a refund from a purchase return, categorize that refund right back to the original spending category

In the credit card account register, an inflow of $50 is categorized as True Expenses: Clothing.

When you do this, dollars will automatically move from the Credit Card Payment category back to the spending category — opposite how they moved when you made the original purchase. You can then move money out of that category if you don't want to spend it there.

This will also help keep your reports happy since your spending will be offset by the amount of the return.

Seeing Red?

If you paid off your card between your original purchase and your refund, you might see that your payment category is short and goes red. To get things back in line, move money from the spending category to the Credit Card Payment category, and you'll be back on track.

If the answer is no, because you’ve returned something you bought before the date your budget started, or the original purchase wasn't funded in the spending category, there’s no funded spending that needs to be offset in your reports by the return. Choose Inflow: Ready to Assign for the category

Since it's an inflow to a credit card account, though, you won't see Ready to Assign increase—unless it created a positive balance on the card. The inflow simply reduces the balance owed on that card. This accurately reflects what happened in your account, too: the credit is applied, and now you owe less money.

If you're working to pay down debt, you're that much closer now!

But what if you had already budgeted for the entire balance on the card? Let's say you owed $475 before receiving a refund for $75—and you already had the full $475 set aside in your Credit Card Payment category. Now you only owe $400.

The credit card balance is -$400, but there is $475 in the Credit Card Payment category.

You have $75 you can move to other categories of your choice.

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