Approving and Matching Transactions

You've imported transactions. Life is good. Now it's time to make sure your budget knows exactly what those transactions mean in your budget.

In three (at the most!) easy steps:

Categorizing

A budget that doesn't know about spending? Not a budget. That's why you'll see warnings about it in three different places if you don't categorize a transaction.

If your imported Payee is one you use often, the most recently used category will be automatically assigned. Something different this time? Just change it. Love the auto-categorization? Time to approve those transactions.

And if you've got multiple transactions that need the same category? Luckily you can categorize them in bulk! Just select those transactions, then choose Categorize from the Edit menu at the top of the register.

Approving

Is the Payee, Category and Amount just how they should be on your transaction? Go ahead and approve it. Do you not want to import the transaction at all? Reject it.

unapproved transactions have an 'i' to the left of the payee; select that to bring up the Approve and Reject buttons

Is the Payee, Category and Amount just how they should be on multiple transactions? Go ahead and Approve all of them in two clicks (Edit > Approve All).

Matching

When you enter a transaction in the web app or on your mobile device, then later import the same one, the two versions will be matched automatically if the amounts are the same and the dates are within 10 days of each other. You can see the details of the imported transaction by clicking on the match link. 

transactions that have been matched have a chain link icon to the left of the payee; click that to bring up the Approve, Unmatch, and Reject buttons

Approve the match or unmatch the transactions (useful if you had multiple transactions on the same day with the same amount that were mistakenly—but you'd have to admit logically—matched.) If you choose to reject the transaction, you're only rejecting the transaction that tried to match with the one that was already in your register—the originally entered transaction will remain.

Occasionally, an imported and hand-entered transaction will not automatically match – typically because the dates of the two transactions are further than 10 days apart. Don't worry, you can manually match them up in 5 clicks.

1
Select the two transactions that should be matched.
2
Click Edit and select Match.
3
The transactions will be matched, keeping the date, payee, and category you entered. If the amount imported from the bank was different than the one manually entered, YNAB will keep the imported amount (your bank, after all, should know the correct amount!)
4
As with automatic matching, your last step is to approve the match.

In some cases, YNAB cleans up payees to remove the extra stuff banks tend to add, like DEBIT*246736. You can still reference all the payee details in the YNAB web app—even after you've matched the transaction. In the payee field of a transaction, click Show Bank Import Details at the bottom of the payee list. This will expand the window, where you'll see the full payee exactly as we received it from the bank.

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