Automatic Category keeps coming up wrong

The automatic category for Publix keeps showing Food:Dining Out, when it should show Food:Groceries. How do I change the automatic category?


  • UKR
    UKR SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭

    First please ensure that all optional settings in Quicken pertaining to recall, memorization, automatic categorization and renaming of payee names are enabled. You find those settings in Edit / Preferences / Data Entry & Quickfill and Downloaded Transactions. Additional settings can be found for the detection and processing of transfer transactions in Edit / Preferences / Transfer detection.

    Are you automatically accepting downloaded transactions into your registers?

    If you are relying on Quicken to "automagically" fill your account registers from downloaded transactions, you may run into problems. Despite all efforts by the Quicken programmers, the "Autopilot" (that's my name for the part of the Quicken program which processes downloaded transactions and converts them into new register transactions) is not infallible. For that process to work 100% of the time one would need a crystal ball because the information downloaded from the banks often is just too terse and cryptic.

    You should, at least for a while, turn off the "automatically accept downloaded transactions into registers" setting to gain better control over what is downloaded and what to do with it. Review each downloaded transaction, make changes if necessary (e.g., to get a payee name = "Starbucks" instead of "POS TRANS 070119 STARBU", "POS TRANS 070219 STARBU", "POS TRANS 070319 STARBU" or to assign a category) before you click to accept each transaction.

    Any changes you make to downloaded Payee Names are remembered in Renaming Rules.

    Any other changes you make (add/change Category or Memo text) are remembered in the Memorized Payee List.

    Next time the same transaction for this Payee comes along, Quicken should remember and give you a better new register transaction.


    In case you have issues with transfer transactions not being generated correctly:

    For best results manually enter transfer transactions into your register BEFORE you download transactions from the bank which contain the transfer confirmations. For recurring transfers use scheduled reminders and enter them a day or two before the due date. Be sure to use distinct Payee Names for each transfer / credit card payment to avoid confusing Quicken - memorized payee entries.
    That takes the guesswork out of the Autopilot's process. Because a correctly entered transfer transaction already exists in your account registers, the Autopilot should just match the downloaded transfer transaction to the existing one in both accounts.


    Where are the "Auto-accept downloaded transaction" settings?

    There are two places where this is controlled in Quicken for Windows:
     - Globally, for all accounts, in Edit / Preferences / Downloaded Transactions
     - For each account individually, the global setting can be overridden from the Edit Account Details screen, Online Services Tab. Look for blue text "Automatic Entry is: ON / OFF". Click the text to change the setting.

  • Chris_QPW
    Chris_QPW Member ✭✭✭✭
    EdIII said:
    The automatic category for Publix keeps showing Food:Dining Out, when it should show Food:Groceries. How do I change the automatic category?

    Let me go through how Quicken does the categorization so that you might pin down the problem.

    The first step is the renaming rules.  Their main purpose is to "normalize" the payee name.  For instance say you have these two payees:
    Safeway #Transaction 343
    Safeway #Transaction 453

    Clearly the transaction number is going to keep changing making it impossible to match to so you (or Quicken automatically, there is an option in the preferences under Downloaded transactions for this) puts in a renaming rule that says if the payee contains Safeway make the payee name Safeway.

    Now that we have a payee name we can count on the next phase is to "assign" the payee name a category (this is stored in the Memorized Payees (under Tools menu)).

    The first time Quicken encounters a new payee if Edit -> Preferences -> Downloaded transactions -> Automatically categorize transactions is set it will make a guess.  If this option isn't set it will just leave it blank.

    Once the "guess" is put into the Memorized Payee List (or you create one manually) the one in the Memorized Payee List will be used instead.

    Note that it is possible to have multiple entries in the Memorized Payee List for the same payee.  This is mostly done because this list is also used for manual entry, and the user can select between the different categories when they are entering the transaction.  But it is my recommendation that you only have one entry per payee for the payees that you want to automatically categorize, that way there won't be any chance of it getting the wrong one since over time it has changed on which one Quicken will pick as the default.

    So with this information, and based on what you said I would check your Memorized Payee list to make sure that the Publix payee entry is set to Food:Groceries and that there is only one entry for Publi.
    This is my website:
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