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Refunds/credits/prepayment

BonnieG
BonnieG Member ✭✭
On MacOS Mojave Quicken deluxe 2019, Cannot figure how to enter credits/refunds/prepayments. Past post have mentioned adding a Payment column. In my list of column choices there is no payment Currently refunds show as income on reports. Would love finally get this fixed. Thank you.

Comments

  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    Bonnie, let's take this one step at a time. A credit or refund is different than a prepayment of an expense, so let's focus on refunds or credits.

    Click on one of your accounts in the left sidebar to open the register for the account. By default, Quicken uses a column called Amount. In a checking account or credit card account, a negative value is money going out of the account and a positive value is money coming into the account. So one way to enter a credit or refund you receive is to simply enter is as a negative amount.

    Alternatively, you can set Quicken to display two columns for money in and money out, where all the values are positive numbers. (This is what I prefer.) In the toolbar at the bottom of the screen, there is an icon on the right side called Columns. This is how you can configure reach register to show or hide certain columns. Click Columns, and then you can uncheck columns you don't want -- so uncheck Amount -- and check columns you do want -- so check Deposit and Payment. (Note that the names of the in and out columns vary according to the type of account; for a checking account, the columns are Payment and Deposit, while for a credit card account, the columns are Charge and Payment.) If you set your account register this way, then any refund or credit would be entered in the Deposit or Payment column.

    Try it and see if that makes sense.

    You also mentioned prepayment of an expense. An expense that you pay early is still and expense, and should be entered just like any other expense. (Technically, a prepayment is an asset, and in business accounting, a prepayment might be entered in a prepaid category that is an asset, and later reversed out of the asset account to the proper expense category -- but very few people would need to do this for their personal finances. If that sounds too confusing, just ignore it!)

    Finally, there is the issue of reports. If you are using the "old style" Category Summary report, and you have an expense category with a negative value for the period of the report, it moves the category to the Money In section, which is not what anyone wants. The solution here, which I recommend for this and other reasons, is to stop using the Category Summary report, and instead switch to using the new report engine which is somewhat hidden behind the innocuous-looking "New Report" item on the Reports menu. Select New Report, click Transactions, then set Rows=Category and click Create Report. Then click Customize and set the date range you want, and any other things you may want to limit on your report, such as only certain accounts or categories. The result is a report by categories, like the old Category Summary report, but this report is much improved. First, you'll note that your expense categories remain firmly rooted in the Expenses section, and if you have a negative expense from a refund, it simply shows as a negative expense as you'd expect. You can tweak this report more than the old one: adding or hiding columns, rearranging the order of the columns, adjusting the width of the columns, and in the Print dialog box, scaling the report to fit one page wide if desired.
    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • BonnieG
    BonnieG Member ✭✭
    Jacob, thank you for such a detailed explanation and answer. I tried to change the column (by opening each CC) as you suggested but in some CC the charge and payment option isn't there. Am Ex is one and Synchrony bank is another.
    In doing this I found that no payments shown in a bank account as paid and appears in the register as "Transfer:credit card" is showing as a payment to AMEX, Only Charges appear as it has in the past. I had trouble with "transfers" recently so I must have done something to change that. As a Quickbook user since 2004 and Quicken since 2014 I should know this.
  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    @BonnieG I'm sorry, I'm not quite following some of what you wrote. In a credit card account, the Column choices you have for transaction amounts are using either Amount (a single column to represent both money in and money out) or Payment and Charge (two columns which separate money in and money out).

    If you do not see Payment and Charge available in the list of options when you click on Columns, then I think your credit card account is not defined in Quicken as a credit card. With your credit card account open, click on Settings in the bottom right. Midway down the settings screen under the "Your account in Quicken" heading, what is the setting for "Type"? It should say Credit Card -- if this account is truly a credit card.

    As for the transfers, the "Transfer:Credit Card" description you're mentioning is something I don't really like in Quicken because it confuses so many users. This is visible in your Category column, but it does not actually transfer funds between two accounts. It's a special dummy Category that won't show up as an income or an expense in any reports, since a credit card payment is a movement of funds but not an expense. This can be okay -- assuming you download transactions from your checking account and you download transactions from your credit card account. The downloads from your financial institutions cannot actually create internal account transfers inside Quicken, so this category is just a label to identify that this is a credit card payment. If you have identical transactions in both the credit card account and the checking account, then all should be well. But these aren't linked transfers in Quicken.

    A linked transfer in Quicken actually moves money from one Quicken account to another, and it's a single transaction that shows up in both accounts. You do this using the Transfer column, not the Category column. It's easier to illustrate this with an example: Let's say you have an account called Checking and an account called Amex, and you're paying $500 to your Amex credit card out of your Checking account. In your checking account, you enter Amex as the Payee, $500 as the Amount or Payment, and in the Transfer column, you select the Amex account. Once you enter this transaction, if you switch to your Amex account register, you'll see the transfer is already there, reflecting money coming into the account in the Amount or Payment column, with the Transfer column showing the transfer is from the Checking account. (Additional note: if you use a linked transfer as just described, you'll see that Quicken automatically puts a representation of this in the Category column as well, with the notation "Transfer:[Amex]" or "Transfer:[Checking]". Notice how this differs from the "Transfer:Credit Card"Category discussed above.)

    To recap: if you download transactions from both your credit card and your checking account, you have independent transactions for a credit card payment in each of those accounts, using the Category "Transfer:Credit Card". Note that these are likely a day or two apart, but the amounts should be the same. Alternatively, you can make a linked transfer in Quicken by using the Transfer column; in this case, the transaction date and amount will be the same in both accounts because there's only one transaction that's linked to both accounts. (If you create this linked transaction manually and download your transactions, you'll need to delete the duplicate payment transaction which is downloaded.)

    I hope that's clearer now, but if not, write back and we'l keep working on it. ;)
    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
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