Making a Transfer

Have you moved money from one physical (you know, real-world) account to another and need to reflect that in YNAB? No problem. How your transfer is recorded depends on how those real-world accounts are set up in YNAB.

If the sending account is the only one set up in YNAB, this is a spending transaction. If the receiving account is the only one set up in YNAB, it's an income transaction.

If you've made a transfer between real-world accounts and both of those accounts are set up in YNAB, you'll be making a transfer in the app by following these steps.

How to Enter a Transfer

  1. In the left-hand sidebar of your budget, click the account the money is leaving.
  2. In that account register, click the Add Transaction button.
  3. In the Payee field, your Payments and Transfers options are listed at the top of the drop-down menu. Select the To/From Payee option for the account where the money is going.
  4. In the Category field, YNAB will most likely show "Category not needed." You'll only need to choose a category if you're making a transfer between a budget account and a tracking account—because that means those dollars are either leaving or entering your budget.
  5. Enter the outflow amount, and then click the Save button. The transfer will now show up in both account registers.

For transfers from one budget account to another, no category is needed, because the money is not leaving your budget. If those dollars should now have a different job in your budget, your next step is to move money.

Transfers between tracking accounts don't need a category either, because the money is not in your budget.

Imported Transfers

For linked accounts, transfers will import once they clear. If it's the first transfer between two particular accounts, YNAB won't know to make it a transfer, so it will import as a regular ole' transaction. Same goes for importing a file

If you enter the transfer before it imports though—using the steps above—they'll automatically match up.

Otherwise, you can make it a transfer by changing the payee. Then you'll see one side of the transfer in each account. If you had already imported the other side of the transfer (in the other account), it should match up and just need approval. 

Going forward, as long as your bank uses the same payee, YNAB will know to make it a transfer automatically. All you'll need to do is approve the match!

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