Converting Payment transactions into Transfers between two accounts.

hinder90 Member ✭✭
Hello, I just started with Quicken for Mac and since Quicken can only sync 2-3 months' worth of back-data at most, I am exporting older transactions as CSV files from my account. I now am trying to correlate matching transactions between my accounts so that credit card payments in my checking account can be made into transfers that match the correlating "Payment" under my credit card register.

For example, when I find transactions that are categorized as "Credit Card Payments" or "Wire Transfers" for transfers between bank accounts, for example, I want an efficient way to select all of the "like" transactions and make this conversion. This seems much more accurate thatn fudging categories like "Credit Card Payments" for both registers and hope that they al add up. This also fails to work if a payment is made from a checking account on the 30th of the month and the payment is receivd on the 1st of the next, monthly budgeting because completely messed up. Worse, if I make a payment on 12/31/20 which is received on 1/2/21as it will throw off my budgeting for not just the two months but for BOTH YEARS! This is why the Transfer line item seems to exist in the first place and why I want to make use of it so where two accounts' transactions that match can be linked so it isn't a hacked mess that can easily be jumbled by dates or mismatched categories.

What I am finding that implementing the Transfer conversion on existing transactions is quite problematic because of how Quicken (for Mac) seems to implement the "sync" feature. Under ideal circumstances when I work with one transaction at a time, Quicken will attempt to link the matching transaction in the other account referenced in the transfer and will present a message that it is about to do this. However, this only works if the dates are very close and the amounts are identical. If auto-sync doesn't find a match, there is no message to that effect and Quicken silently creates a duplicate "orphan" transfer transaction in the other register. This creates more problems than I was originally trying to solve because when sync fails to work (and I do manage to actually catch it) there is a significant amount of manual data entry to make a linked Transfer transaction, the process of which I have only been able to speculate. If I don't catch it, I then have to scan the register until I find the offending duplicate. This seems pretty horrible. I have just started going through my checking account transactions and I am finding auto-syncing doesn't work a lot of the time and the resultant manual task is incredibly time-consuming- enough to make it not even worth doing.

This begs the question: is this how Quicken is supposed to be used to link two transactions from different accounts in a Transfer transaction or is there a better way? Also, is there a way to do this en masse? I ask because I also found that trying to convert a group of transactions that are payments to my CC just creates duplicates even when the match is obvious. Quicken doesn't even attempt to link them which forces me to do each transaction one at a time. This makes no sense to me.

When the auto-sync function works, I get a message asking if I want to "link transactions" when a match can be found. This would be fine except that when there is NO MATCH Quicken just created the duplicate with NO MESSAGE AT ALL and makes a slew of duplicate "orphan" entries which I either have to Undo in time, but if I don't catch it, I have to fix every transaction manually which is SO TIME-CONSUMING. Therefore, to do this for my last year's worth of transaction, it could literally take days of mundane repetitive work! Furthermore, even if I am careful I will invariably find "orphan" transactions in the register later when numbers don't reconcile since there are no warning messages about them. I then have to find the thing manually which is not easy if the dollar amount is a penny off. When I do find the duplicate, it is not clear how to best fix it either. Now, I leave the "orhpan" duplicate in place since it is linked and then copy and past the original data from all of the fields from the original transaction in the CC statement and then delete the original. This is is of course ludicrously tedious and why there MUST be a better way.

Some reasons for the auto-linker to fail is when the date between payment in the checking account and receipt of payment in the credit card account is too far apart (like when you pay by check) or if the amount is even $0.01 different (like a rounding variance.) This seems the biggest cause of transaction duplication which is again quietly created by Quicken in your CC register with nary a warning message. This can't be right! I know Quicken can be unintuitive sometimes as well as finding the "right" way to do things using the Mac version without a mammoth amount of busywork may not be obvious. PLEASE LET ME KNOW HOW I CAN MAKE THESE LINKS EFFICIENTLY without silently creating these duplicates.

Finally, I cannot seem to get the auto-linker to work on more than one transaction at a time! Even if one or two do work, there is no notice which of them fail to link leaving you to go hunting for offenders. This ends up taking more time than it's worth so you may as well just do them one at a time, which again, is slow and tedious.

I honestly cannot see what value manually adding a transfer to your register would accomplish without a matching counterpart in the account you're making the transfer too. To not even give you a warning when it is about to do it is even more egregious. What is the thinking here? I can only assume that the way I am doing it is just not using the Quicken UI correctly to get reliable results. At leat I hope that is the problem!

Also I cannot find any sort of guide showing how to make the best use of the Transfer line item type. Maybe it's in the Window's FAQ but for the red-headed-stepchild known as "Quicken for MacOS" I cannot find it. If this is just "how it is" then all I can say is I wish I never bothered trying to move to Quicken and just stuck with because this is crazy.

TL;DR: Please enlighten me on how to use the Transfer function most effectively when going through my old transactions manually imported.


  • Daddio25
    Daddio25 Member ✭✭✭
    I don't use Mac and I'm not familiar with the sync function. I also don't see an import for csv files in the windows version. That said ...

    Have you tried importing only to the checking account used to make the payments, and then use the Find/Replace function to replace the category with the account name of the credit card in the transactions you've selected? I think that will "convert" them to transfers.

    Just a thought. Not sure it gets you where you want to go ...
  • hinder90
    hinder90 Member ✭✭
    Converting transactions into Transfers along with their respective outside account info by using search for matching Payees is very straight-forward as is bulk-editing a group of transactions' field(s) at once, even to set a Category Rule from it. The problem is that Quicken's implementation of the Transfer "linking" feature only reliably works when used manually, one transaction at a time, and after mnaully ensuring Quicken didn't just add duplicate transactions with nary a warning. The result is a great deal of more repettive busywork that Quicken should automate with easy as the patterns are very simple.

    Therefore, even after creating Category Rules that match Payees to make transactions "Transfers", the respective accounts on the other end of the transfer do not get included when the Rule sets the Category. Since it can't even do this it obvious cannot automatically link new transactions as they are downloaded from my banks.

    Obviously Transfer linking was created to address the decades-old method Quicken used where no transaction was connected to another and you had effecively two transactions for any transfer. Therefore, if you pay your credit card on the 31st of the month so the debit transaction in your checking account register is dated to be the 31st, but the credit transaction on the credit card register is date to be the 1st of the next month, your cash flow report is completely wrecked unless you "fudge" the date which takes it ouf of sync with your bank's register.

    I am still not convinced that I am doing this correctly and that this is a feature that should work. I can't imagine that this is the outcome that the Quicken developments were shooting for because it fails to automate a very simple task and doing the task manually adds a tremendous amount of overhead to an already tedious process of reviewing transactions.
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