Changing an Account Type

When you first set up an account, YNAB asks you to choose the account type. You might choose one type of account, and later realize that it’s incorrect, or that you want the account to behave differently. Maybe you realize your savings account really should be included in your budget, and not just listed as a tracking account, so you can make a plan for those dollars, too! ( Ahem...we highly recommend including your savings accounts in your budget! 😄)

While it’s not possible to change the type of an account once it’s already been created in YNAB, you can replace it with a new account. We’ve provided steps and tips below to help you recreate that account, but if you’re feeling at all unsure about the process, there is no shame in reaching out to Customer Support!

In This Article

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  • The type of account you have, and how old it is
  • The type of account you want it to be
  • Whether you’ll be making the changes from a computer or a mobile device
  • Whether the account is connected to Direct Import

⚠️ Proceed At Your Own Risk! ⚠️

Ok, so this isn’t a life-altering change, but you really should know about the consequences before you start messing around with your account structure!

Here are some of the things to be aware of before you make the changes:

  • Any time you’re making changes that involve Budget accounts, we highly recommend making a Fresh Start instead. This will save your current budget and all its history, but will give you a clean slate with a shiny new budget, making it easier to make changes without causing problems in the budget.
  • If your account has any transfer transactions, it might affect the other accounts impacted by those transfers.
  • If credit card accounts are involved, these can really impact your budget because of the way they move money around in your categories. For these, we definitely recommend option 2 in the steps below. (Or again, a Fresh Start is an excellent option!)
If you’re moving from a Budget account to a Tracking account:
  • Changing your account will remove money from your budget, so you will need to move things around in your budget to compensate.
  • The account will no longer have a category field, so you will lose that information.
If you’re moving from a Tracking account to a Budget account:
  • Money will be added to your budget.
  • You’ll now need to categorize all transactions.
If you’re migrating from a Liability Tracking account to a Loan account:
  • YNAB will close your current tracking account and adjust its balance to zero.
  • You’ll need to set up Scheduled Transactions if you use them for your payments, and create a new Target for the category in your budget.


Alright — Let's Do This!

Now that you’ve read through those warnings, it looks like you’re ready to move forward with the changes!

There are two options below, and the one you choose will depend on how many transactions you have in your account. The guideline we typically use is the age of the account: if it’s less than a month old, choose option 1; if it’s older than a month, choose option 2. Of course you can use your best judgment here based on how many transactions are in your account (maybe it’s one that you rarely use), but if you have a lot of transactions, we definitely recommend option 2!

You can always use the Undo button if something doesn't go as planned, as long as you haven't refreshed or navigated away from the budget!


Option 1: The Account is Less Than One Month Old

For accounts that are less than a month old (or don't have many transactions).

Use this option if you look at your account’s history and think, “Eh, this will be no big deal!”

1

 Create the new account.

  1. Click Add Account along the left side, under your account list.
  2. Select Unlinked.
  3. Choose the desired account type.
  4. Give it a nickname (it will need to be slightly different than the original account name).
  5. Enter 0 for the balance.

enter 0 in the third field for current balance

2

 Move the transactions from the old account to the new account.

  1. Go to the original account.
  2. Select all the transactions in the account.
  3. Click Edit in the account toolbar at the top.
  4. Select Move to > [New Account Name].

the check box in the header will select all transactions. move to account option is second from the bottom in the edit menu

3

 Delete the old account.

  1. Hover over the name of the old account in the left sidebar, and choose the edit button to the left of the name (or right click the account name). Be sure to save any text in the Account Notes field if needed.
  2. Click Delete Account.

hold your mouse over the account name then click the edit button that appears. the delete button is bottom left

4

 Edit the new account. 

Now you can change the name of the new account, or link the account if needed.

Option 2: The Account is More Than One Month Old

For accounts that are more than a month old (or have a lot of transactions).

Use this option if you look at your account’s history and think, “This could potentially wreak some havoc if anything goes wrong…”

1

 Create the new account.

  1. Click Add Account along the left side, under your account list.
  2. Select Unlinked.
  3. Choose the desired account type.
  4. Give it a nickname (it will need to be slightly different than the original account name).
  5. Enter 0 for the balance.

enter 0 in the third field for current balance

2

 Transfer the balance.

Go to the original account and transfer the whole balance to the new account with a new transfer transaction.

select transfer to the new account from the payee drop down menu then enter the working balance in the outflow field

3

 Close the old account.

  1. Hover over the name of the account on the left side bar, and click the edit button to the left (or right click on the account name). 
  2. Click Close Account.

hold your mouse over the account name then click the edit button that appears. the close account button is bottom left

4

 Edit the new account. 

Now you can change the name of the new account, or link the account if needed.


Changing Liability Tracking Accounts to Loan Accounts

If you’ve been using Tracking accounts to track your debt, you can change those accounts to new Loan accounts on the web app on a computer! To change a Liability Tracking account to a Loan account, click "Learn More" in the banner at the top of the Tracking account, then click "Get Started."

the learn more button is at the top right and clicking it will open a pop up in the middle of the screen

If you don't see a "Learn More" button at the top of the Tracking account, hover over the account name and click the pencil icon when it appears. In the window that pops up, you’ll see a section called Update to a Loan Account. Click "Learn More" under that header, and then click "Get Started."

Follow the prompts to enter your debt details—these will help YNAB project your interest saved and payoff timeline.

When you change a Liability Tracking account to a Loan account, YNAB will: 

  • Close your current tracking account and adjust its balance to zero.
  • Add “Original” to the nickname of the Tracking account.
  • Cancel all Scheduled Transactions tied to the tracking account.
  • Remove the Target from the payment category for the loan.
  • If applicable, it will also Unlink any Direct Import connection the tracking account has.

After the Loan Account is Created...

If you were using Scheduled Transactions for your payments to the Tracking account, you’ll need to re-create those for payments to the new Loan account.

If you were using a Target to help you assign money to your loan payment category, you’ll also need to create a new Target for that category.

Enjoy your new Loan account!

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