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Category wrong on downloaded transactions, why?

Windows, Quicken 2020 R26.17

After years of using Quicken, I'm still often confused by this.
For many downloaded transactions quicken gets the category correct.
Though some are persistently wrong.

For example this transaction in my checking account.
Payee: MyCountyName Trea Online, Memo: TREA - ONLINE PMT
Gets categorized as Credit Card Payment

I have *no* Renaming Rules.
In Memorized Payee List: I can't see anything that matches.
The two entries in this list with Category of CreditCardPayment are
Description:MyBank Autopay Pymt, Memo 2271: MYBANKNAME AUTOPAY PYMT...
Description:External Withdrawal MyBankName, Memo: - CRCARDPMT -


So, where is this miscategorization be coming from?


Maybe related: For this transaction, as I said
Payee: MyCounty Trea Online
If I click on the little gear for the transaction, I have the option to
Revert To External Withdrawal MYCOUNTYNAME CO

As I said, I have *no* renaming rules, so why is this being renamed at all?
Tagged:

Best Answer

  • UKRUKR SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    Accepted Answer

    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.


Answers

  • UKRUKR SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    Accepted Answer

    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.


  • joe porkkajoe porkka Member ✭✭
    Thanks, I will give this a try.
    So I did a bunch of testing, detailed below.

    TLDR details below, It appears that Quicken does some sort of heuristics matching downloaded transactions against the "Memorized Payee List".
    The "Description" field in this list does not have to match exactly the downloaded payee for the automatic categorization to be applied.

    "CENTURYLINK/SPEEDPAY" matches "External Withdrawal CENTURYLINK"

    And the setting "Automatically categorize transactions" categorizes "Payee: External Withdrawal MyCountyName Trea Online, Memo: TREA - ONLINE PMT"
    as a Credit Card payment.


    So I restored from backup from before this transaction.
    Test #1
    For this account I turned off automatically accept.
    I downloaded transactions for this account only.
    When I accept that transaction, quicken again puts in the wrong category.

    Test#2
    Restored again
    Global: Unchecked "Automatically categorize transactions"
    I downloaded transactions for this account only.
    Now for this particular transaction the category is left blank.

    Curiously, some of the transactions still have categories applied.
    For example the deposit from my employer gets categorized as "Net Salary".
    I checked, there is no entry for this in "Memorized Payee List".

    Another interesting case: CenturyLink - this is categorized as "Homephone".
    Payee is "Centurylink".
    Downloaded as "External Withdrawal CENTURYLINK"
    In "Memorized Payee List" there is an entry for "CENTURYLINK/SPEEDPAY"
    So, on to Test #3

    Test#3
    Restored again
    Global: Unchecked "Automatically categorize transactions"
    I downloaded transactions for this account only.
    Now for this particular transaction the category is left blank.

    I changed the entry for "CENTURYLINK/SPEEDPAY" in "Memorized Payee List" to category "Parking".

    Now that CenturyLink transaction is categorized as "Parking".

    Test #4
    Restored again
    Global: Unchecked "Automatically categorize transactions"
    Changed the CenturyLink entry in the "Memorized Payee List" to: "SCENTUREELINK/SPEEDPAE", category: Carwash

    Now, the Centurylink downloaded transaction does not get categorized.


    Test #5
    Restored again
    Global: *Checked* "Automatically categorize transactions"
    Removed both CreditCard category entries from "Memorized Payee List".
    MyCountyName Trea Online transaction is categorized as CreditCard Payment.
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