Formatting a CSV File
Importing CSV files from your bank can be tricky because there is no standard to the way they're formatted, but we're here to help!
Does your bank offer a different file type that ends with .ofx, .qfx, or .qif? They may be called Quicken or Money files on your bank's website. If they do, file-based importing will work best with one of those!
If CSV is your only option, the file will need to be formatted in a particular way before you can import the transactions in YNAB. There are a few ways to do that:
A fellow YNABer created this (unofficial) CSV converter which may help convert your CSV file from your bank into the format above. You're welcome to give it a try! We aren't able to support it if it doesn't work for your bank's particular format, though.
Formatting in a Spreadsheet
The most reliable way to get your CSV file in the right format is to open it in a spreadsheet editor. Google Sheets is a free option if you don't have another one installed. Once it's open, you'll want to edit the file so it looks like one of the two options below, where there is a column header for Date, Payee, Memo, and Amount(s):
Once you have it in one of these configurations, save it back to CSV format (usually found in the File menu, under 'Save As' or 'Export').
Formatting in a Text Editor
If you don't have access to a spreadsheet editor, you can open your CSV file in a text editor and make the necessary changes.
In the example below, the first line is the header, the second line is an example outflow, and the last line is an example inflow.
Each field is separated by a comma, so it's important that every field is present in each line—even if your transactions don't fill every field. Always include "Date,Payee,Memo,Outflow,Inflow" header line at the very top. Any field can be left blank except the date.
This format has one small variation—the amount is one field instead of two. Outflows are identified by a negative sign in the Amount field.
Once your transaction data is formatted correctly, you're ready to import the file!