Credit Cards with a Positive Balance

If you're just getting going with your credit cards in YNAB, check out our Credit Card Basics article first! 

We’ve all done it — paid more on our credit card than we owe (usually by mistake). But, how does it affect your budget when a credit card ends up with a positive balance?

The important thing to remember is this: a credit card with a positive balance acts just like a checking account in YNAB. The positive balance is added to your Ready to Assign amount and you can assign it to various categories.

A credit card in the left-hand sidebar has a positive balance of $100. $100 now appears in Ready to Assign

But … before you do anything, take a look at your Credit Card Payment category. Is the Payment column red? If so, that’s because your payment was more than your budget had set aside to pay. Assign some of that newly discovered money to your Credit Card Payment category to bring the Payment amount back to zero.

Credit card payment category is overspent by $100. An arrow points from Ready to Assign to the Assigned column of that category.

Once you’ve done that, assign any extra Ready to Assign money to other categories!

Because this account is now behaving like a cash account, when you make a purchase on a card with a positive balance, no money will move to the Credit Card Payment category. That’s because YNAB is smart enough to know you don’t have to pay back that spending on the card. Also, if you don't cover all the spending done when the balance was positive, YNAB will treat that as cash overspending and the Available figure in the spending category will be red.

Once the balance is negative again, YNAB will resume moving money for budgeted purchases to the Credit Card Payment category.  

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