Resolve Quicken confusion over charge vs payment deposits

I have a type of transaction that I occasionally enter in a credit card account that results in entering a transaction with a zero balance. The transaction information and splits are important, but result in a zero balance.

Quicken gets confused as to whether this transaction is a charge or a deposit. The difference is that the signs of all the splits are negated, negative become positive an vice versa. This causes the splits that are linked transfers to be recorded incorrectly in the other account.

So I suggest
1. The split page for any transaction should show whether this transaction is a charge or a payment.
2. If the transaction has a balance, then Quicken can classify the transaction according to the balance. If the transaction has a zero balance, the split page should show a drop down or radio buttons so that I can set the transaction type.
3 votes

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  • q_lurker
    q_lurker SuperUser ✭✭✭✭✭
    I have had this issue a few times over the years and it does currently require a double-check to make sure the splits were properly interpreted.  FWIW and to perhaps clarify, where you use the term "zero balance", I would call it a "net-zero transaction" - only to be clear that no reference to the account balance is intended. 

    I don't know if using the first line of the split might make sense as a default interpretation - like if it is a positive to an income category, an expense category, or a transfer account, the transaction defaults one way; as a negative it defaults the other way.  (Maybe that is the current logic?  I haven't tried to check.)

    It is also important to recognize this might apply in any account type that accepts splits (Checking/Savings, Cash, Credit card, Asset, Liability, etc.).  As such, "charge" and "deposit" may not fully describe the possibilities.

    Thanks for posting the idea.            
  • RFB
    RFB Member ✭✭
    I could use this feature also. I use a single mortgage payment for several rentals, and frequently use the split feature to record which part of the payment came from a one or more specific rentals (for cost vs. income tracking). In my Account Receivable cash account, the balance may be zero until the check from the renter arrives for a specific property.
    Inaugural (Intuit) Quicken user ... still here.
  • Cooper's Dad
    Cooper's Dad Member ✭✭
    RFB, I also am a SF landlord, so I appreciate what you want Q to do for you here. Though it's a bit more work for reporting purposes, have you considered using either Tags or sub-categories to allocate amounts to specific properties? You'd still do a split transaction, but you might have three mortgage interest line items, each tagged with a different property. Alternatively, and not quite as simply because this expands the number of categories to use (though they roll up to the "parent" category), would be to create sub-categories like Mortgage Interest:Main Street, Mortgage Interest:Poplar Street, and so on).
  • RFB
    RFB Member ✭✭
    Thanks, Cooper's Dad, for your comments. Tags are not an option as I already use them to track outstanding actions required on each property, (i.e. maintenance, late payment, service request, etc.) I do use categories much like you suggest. When the unified Mortgage statement comes in, I use a spreadsheet I created to apportion the principle, interest and income amounts to each property in a split at the time I make the mortgage payment As rent is received, it is simply a deposit. Other monthly Accounts Payable can then be simple transactions using different biller account numbers for each rental. This makes reporting at the quarter or year's end a snap. The trick here is to make the actual combined mortgage payment a non-Tax Related item.
    Inaugural (Intuit) Quicken user ... still here.
  • pls
    pls Member ✭✭✭
    >q_lurker: I agree with almost everything you say. I call the transaction types charge and payment because Q will sometime pop up a query for transaction type using those terms. If I recall correctly, one way you can get this is to enter a date, payee, skip the amount, select splits, enter the splits, then click Adjust to enter the transaction total.

    Unfortunately, Q usually classifies a transaction by whether the transaction total is a charge or payment. This fails with the total is zero. This is when Q really needs to pop up the query, but it doesn't.

    The other problem is that looking at a transaction, there is way to tell how Q classified it, unless you know what the split amounts are and can recognize that the signs of all amounts are inverted.

    I think classifying by the first split doesn't work well. I'd rather see the classification be explicit.
  • pls
    pls Member ✭✭✭
    I thought I'd add this because I'm fighting with net zero balance right now. As Q is today, there is no sure way to force this transaction to be a payment. And even if I get it right eventually, opening the split page to look at it will likely change it between payment and deposit. As long as Q has separate payment and deposit transactions there has to be a way to nail down the type

    That said, Q is inconsistent is how it handles these types. For example, I have a fast food payment that has a split for sales tax. If I open the split page, both the food amount and tax amount are positive. If I hover the mouse cursor over the split, I get a popup showing the split amounts, but both the food and tax amounts are now negative.

    I understand why Q would have them be negative, since both reduce the balance of the checking account. But I really thing that opening the split page and hovering should show you THE SAME THING.
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