Categorizing Credit Card Expenses

I use my credit card for a wide variety of expenses: groceries, gasoline, mobile phone, clothing, etc. Currently, I classify all credit card expenses in a "Credit Card Misc" category, because I am too lazy to go thru a 60-80 line credit card statement every month and classify each line into a category based on the merchant. Naturally, this seriously compromises my ability to analyze my expenses.

I have attempted to address this by downloading the monthly CSV from the card issuer and running it thru an Excel macro I wrote to assign a category based on merchant name - crude at best, given the inconsistency of merchant names, even within a "chain store".

I understand that this is at least as much a card issuer issue as it is a Quicken issue, but I am hoping the community of Quicken users might have some ideas. (The card-issuer side was not much help...).



  • volvogirl
    volvogirl SuperUser ✭✭✭✭
    Don't know how Mac Quicken works but for credit cards I like to tell people.....

    The proper way is to set up a credit card ACCOUNT and enter the charges into it when the purchase is made and assigning it to a category. Then when you pay the bill you TRANSFER the payment from your checking account to the credit card account. Then when you download the payment from the bank you match it to the one you already entered.

    When you enter the payment in your checking account you put the credit card account name in for the category using square brackets around the name to indicate it is a this… [credit card] or newer versions have a Transfer column.

    I used to do it the wrong way for years!  Then I wised up and now enter them properly. I would split my credit card payment into all the categories on one transaction in my checking account. And since I always pay more than the bill I would need to figure the difference and put it to another category.  But then I needed to have them entered on the date the charges actually happened. So I finally set up a credit card account. It makes it much easier to enter and balance!

  • RickO
    RickO SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    It sound (to me) like the OP may already have the card set up as a separate account but is categorizing each transaction with the same generic category. If not, then follow doing what @volvogirl indicates, then follow her instructions first then keep reading here. Once you have the card in its own account, with the new QuickFill feature, Quicken will do the work for you after you do it once.

    I assume you are downloading transactions without entering them manually before download (because if you were manually entering, you'd be filling in the categories as you enter). Take a downloaded transaction and edit it. When you get to the category field, you'll see a little box pop up in blue above the field (below the split if splitting the transaction) that says . If you leave it checked, Quicken will save the category info as a QuickFill. The first QuickFill will be the default and will apply to future downloads for that payee. You can change "category" in the blue box to "all fields" if you want it to save amount, meme, etc in addition to the category. You can manually edit these QuickFills by clicking menu Window > Payees & Rules > QuickFill. 

    Essentially you will be creating your Excel macro one payee at a time right in Quicken. No need to attempt to fiddle with a CSV file (which won't work anyway).
    Quicken Mac Subscription; Quicken Mac user since the early 90s
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