Reconcile Help: Finding Your Cleared Balance
Because your budget is based on your bank and credit card balances, it’s critical for those balances to be accurate. That’s why we recommend reconciling all of your Budget accounts at least once a week.
When you reconcile, you’ll be comparing your cleared balance in YNAB with your cleared balance at the bank. You can find your cleared balance in the top of your account register in YNAB, and YNAB will show it to you as soon as you click that Reconcile button:
Finding your cleared balance in online banking can take some digging! Don’t worry—we’re here to help.
Banks call the cleared balance a bunch of different things. Here are some of the most common:
This is the most common! Banks that use this term include Ally Bank, Barclaycard, Bank of America (credit card), Capital One, Chase (credit card), Citi, Discover, Navy Federal Credit Union, RBC and US Bank. Here’s an example from Ally:
Some banks only show the cleared balance as part of the running balance in your account register. In other words, the running balance next to your most recent cleared transaction is the cleared balance to enter into YNAB when you reconcile.
Here’s an example from a Chase checking account:
Other banks that use the running balance include Charles Schwab and USAA (Checking).
Banks that use this term include American Express and SoFi Money:
Help! I can't find my cleared balance.
If you’re having trouble finding the cleared balance for your bank, here are three tips:
- If you’re using your bank’s mobile app, try logging into the website instead. Believe it or not, some banks don’t show the cleared balance on mobile!
- Hover! Many banks show more information about the displayed balance when you hover your mouse pointer over a question mark or other icon next to the balance. This might explain whether pending transactions are included in the balance you’re seeing (they shouldn’t be!). Also check for a “Details” tab in online banking.
- Get in touch with support. If you can, include a screenshot from your account screen in online banking.
Here’s the good news: Even if tracking down your cleared balance takes a little detective work the first time, every time you reconcile after that, all you have to do is look in the same place… until your bank updates its website. 🤦🏽
Why do we use the cleared balance?
Aren’t uncleared transactions important, too?
Absolutely! Your budget is based on your working balance, which includes all of the cleared and uncleared balances in your account. If you buy groceries today, and the charge is still pending, you still want that amount to come out of your Groceries category right away so that you don’t accidentally overspend.
However, pending transactions are no good for comparing with your bank, because they can change. You might have entered a transaction in YNAB (such as a paper check or a tip at a restaurant) that your bank doesn’t even know about yet.
Or you might see a “preclearance” for a rental car, hotel room, or gas pump purchase in online banking. that will never clear, because it’s just making sure you have enough money or credit available to cover a trashed hotel room. 🎸
That’s why pending transactions aren’t involved when you reconcile. Don’t worry: those pending transactions will clear and get picked up the next time you reconcile.