File-Based Import

Looking for a way to import transactions that doesn't involve linking your bank accounts? Live outside of North America or Europe? Try File-Based Importing in the web app on a computer or iPad!

In This Article


File Formats

If Direct Import isn't available for your financial institution, or you simply prefer to import bank files yourself, YNAB's File-Based Importing feature makes that easy. You can import the following file formats into YNAB:

  • QFX and OFX (these are our top recommendations, though you may see these options presented as 'Quicken' or 'Money' files.)
  • QIF
  • CSV (only if the above formats aren't available)

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Importing Your File

After logging in to your online banking account, look for the option to download or export transactions. Once you have your file (or files—you can import multiple at once!), you're ready to start the import process in one of two ways:

  • Click the File Import button in any of your account registers.
  • Drag and drop your file or files onto YNAB. Anywhere in YNAB—like magic!

click file import button located at top of any account register or drag and drop a file anywhere on your budget

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How to Customize Your Import

Once you've done this, you're just steps away. You now have a few options and settings to make sure your transactions are coming in just the way you want them.

  1. Select the account you want the transactions imported into.
  2. If your file includes transactions dated before your account start date, you'll see an option to include or exclude those.
  3. Check the box to import the memo field with your transactions, or...
  4. If your bank tends to put the payee in the memo field, check the Swap with Payees box to reverse those fields.
  5. Select the Swap Inflow and Outflow option if inflows/outflows are reversed on the file from your bank.
  6. If the dates in the file appear off by one day, selecting the Adjust to local time option may help. This will convert the transaction dates to your local timezone. You’ll be able to see a preview of the effect on the transactions before importing.

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Duplicate and Skipped Transactions

When you enter transactions on the go and import a file later (which is a great routine!), the imported transactions will match right up with the ones you manually entered, as long as the amounts are exactly the same and the dates are within 10 days of each other. 

If you're using File-Based Importing regularly or alongside Direct Import, YNAB will skip imported transactions with the exact same date and amount to avoid duplicates. If you're seeing duplicates import, the transaction dates in the file you downloaded may be different than those already imported. We recommend deleting the duplicate transactions and reconciling the account. This helps because transactions dated more than three days prior to the last reconciled transaction aren't imported. This will at least limit (if not eliminate) duplicates moving forward.

When you import transactions and then delete them, YNAB won't allow those same transactions to be imported into that account again. So if you delete transactions and try to re-import them for any reason, you'll see a message that transactions were skipped. If you need to get around that, you can either manually enter those transactions or create a new account. 

If you create a new account, you can move all of the existing transactions over and delete the current account, that way you don't lose any transaction history. 

How to Create a New Account and Keep Transaction History

  1. Create a new account to replace the current one by clicking on  Add Account >  Unlinked
  2. Enter the name and type—you'll have to give it a slightly different name for now. 
  3. Enter a $0 starting balance for now, since we’re going to move over all the transactions from the other account. 
  4. Go to the original account, select all of the transactions, and move them to the new account using the Edit menu.
  5. Refresh your browser.
  6. Hover over the name of the original (now empty) account, click the edit icon.
  7. Delete the Account.
  8. Now, you can edit the name of the new account and/or set up Direct Import.

When you import that file again, you should see the transactions import as expected. Be sure to reconcile your account afterwards so that you can trust the amounts in your budget.

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