Categorizing Credit Card Travel Rewards / Cash Back Statement Credits

Just LurkingJust Lurking Member
edited September 2018 in Errors and Troubleshooting (Mac)
Version: Quicken Deluxe 2018 for Mac (5.6.2)

I'm wondering whether there is a "best practice" for categorizing credit card rewards which are delivered via statement credits. I download my transactions, and by default statement credits are categorized by Quicken as transfer payments, which doesn't seem quite right.

The statement credits I receive are effectively a fixed percentage discount on my credit card purchases, but in Quicken they are not showing up as reducing the expense figures in my reports.

Ideally
, there would be an automatic way to spread these statement credits in a proportional manner across all of my expense categories, but since that isn't likely, I'm thinking of creating an expense category called "Statement Credits" and categorizing them there. That would at least reduce my total expenses by the amount of the credits, even if the individual expense categories would still show the total "pre-credit" amount.

Any thoughts on plan? Are there any other alternate methods that are worth considering? Thanks.

Comments

  • RickORickO SuperUser ✭✭✭✭
    edited August 2018
    In order to work for transaction matching and reconcile, the statement credit really does need to be a separate transaction in your account. Personally, I have a category called "Rebate: Credit Card Reward" that I use for this. You could name yours anything you want, of course, and make it a subcategory of a top level category that makes sense to you (or not). 

    If, in addition, you want to get carried away, you could split every transaction showing x% less against the "real" category and showing the x% charged to the statement credit category. Doing it this way would result in the statement credit category netting out at zero over time. But I hardly thing it would be worth all the extra work.

    One thing that would help with the above, though, would be the ability to apply a "tax rate" to all the lines of a split transaction. I thought there was an IDEA post about that somewhere, but I can't find it right now.
  • Just LurkingJust Lurking Member
    edited July 2018
    Thanks RickO. Is your "Rebate: Credit Card Reward" an Expense category or an Income category? Could it be either?

    Also, since I'm brand new to Quicken and you're a helpful SuperUser, I hope you don't mind if I sneak in a couple of other quick questions:
    1. Is it OK to categorize some expenses at the top-level of a category? I try to put most things in a sub-category, but there are a few handful of one-off expenses that only fit in a top category unless I make a special sub-category for them, which will probably clutter up my reports.
    2. For ATM withdrawals, the downloaded data populates the "Payee" name as something fairly generic, e.g. "Bank name ATM" or in one of my transactions, something completely unintelligible. Is there any benefit to updating these or fine to leave the defaults? When I think about it, the "Payee" is really me or my spouse. Would it be recommended to use ourselves as Payees to track cash withdrawals, or better perhaps to use a tag for that purpose?
    Thanks in advance.
  • RickORickO SuperUser ✭✭✭✭
    edited July 2018

    Thanks RickO. Is your "Rebate: Credit Card Reward" an Expense category or an Income category? Could it be either?

    Also, since I'm brand new to Quicken and you're a helpful SuperUser, I hope you don't mind if I sneak in a couple of other quick questions:

    1. Is it OK to categorize some expenses at the top-level of a category? I try to put most things in a sub-category, but there are a few handful of one-off expenses that only fit in a top category unless I make a special sub-category for them, which will probably clutter up my reports.
    2. For ATM withdrawals, the downloaded data populates the "Payee" name as something fairly generic, e.g. "Bank name ATM" or in one of my transactions, something completely unintelligible. Is there any benefit to updating these or fine to leave the defaults? When I think about it, the "Payee" is really me or my spouse. Would it be recommended to use ourselves as Payees to track cash withdrawals, or better perhaps to use a tag for that purpose?
    Thanks in advance.
    It's an income category. But nothing prevents you essentially using it as expense by assigning negative amounts as offset to the income.

    #1... sure it is. There's no hard and fast rule. It all depends on how you want to be able to search and report.

    #2... similar answer. It all depends how you want to search and report. Personally, I actually use three payees: Cash (me), Cash (her) and Cash Both. The latter pops up as a split showing how much I took and how much she took.

    #2a... some people don't find it necessary to track cash withdrawals and spending. Some track every penny. I take a middle ground approach. I have a Cash (me) account and a Cash (her) account. In the checking account, I show the ATM withdrawals as a transfer to one or both of these accounts. Then for significant cash transactions that I want to record/keep track of, I enter them in the appropriate cash account. Every so often, I do a balance adjustment in these account to zero them out and assign it to the category "Cash Spending". This way I can track significant cash transactions but lump all the little stuff together without the extra work of tracking it.

    One more comment... if you are not manually entering transactions and then letting them match to the downloads, you can "teach" Quicken your payee associations by changing the payee of a downloaded transaction. Quicken should eventually learn to make these changes at the time of download. You might also want to experiment with the Clean Up Payees option in Preferences > Connected Services to see if you like the payee names it chooses better with or without this preference turned on.
  • smayer97smayer97 SuperUser ✭✭✭✭
    edited July 2018
    RickO said:

    In order to work for transaction matching and reconcile, the statement credit really does need to be a separate transaction in your account. Personally, I have a category called "Rebate: Credit Card Reward" that I use for this. You could name yours anything you want, of course, and make it a subcategory of a top level category that makes sense to you (or not). 

    If, in addition, you want to get carried away, you could split every transaction showing x% less against the "real" category and showing the x% charged to the statement credit category. Doing it this way would result in the statement credit category netting out at zero over time. But I hardly thing it would be worth all the extra work.

    One thing that would help with the above, though, would be the ability to apply a "tax rate" to all the lines of a split transaction. I thought there was an IDEA post about that somewhere, but I can't find it right now.

    The IDEA thread you are looking for is the following. You can add your VOTE for
    Splits By Percentage Idea.

    First, click on the underlined link above to go there, then click VOTE at the top of THAT page, so your will vote count for THIS feature and increase its visibility to the developers by seeking to have the features you need or desire end up in the latest version.

    This idea will eventually be added to the
    List of Requests for Downloading Data into Quicken. Click on the underlined link, then click FOLLOW at the top of the page so you can be notified of any new related IDEAS to which you could add your vote when they are added. Your VOTES matter!

    (If you find this reply helpful, please be sure to click "Like", so others will know, thanks.)

    If you find this reply helpful, please be sure to click "Like", so others will know, thanks.

    (STILL using QM2007, Canadian user since '92)

    Have Questions? Check out these FAQs:
  • smayer97smayer97 SuperUser ✭✭✭✭
    edited July 2018
    RickO said:

    In order to work for transaction matching and reconcile, the statement credit really does need to be a separate transaction in your account. Personally, I have a category called "Rebate: Credit Card Reward" that I use for this. You could name yours anything you want, of course, and make it a subcategory of a top level category that makes sense to you (or not). 

    If, in addition, you want to get carried away, you could split every transaction showing x% less against the "real" category and showing the x% charged to the statement credit category. Doing it this way would result in the statement credit category netting out at zero over time. But I hardly thing it would be worth all the extra work.

    One thing that would help with the above, though, would be the ability to apply a "tax rate" to all the lines of a split transaction. I thought there was an IDEA post about that somewhere, but I can't find it right now.

    Alternatively, You can add your VOTE for QuickMath functionality (which is more likely to be implemented sooner since it is a much simpler idea).

    First, click on the underlined link above to go there, then click VOTE at the top of THAT page, so your will vote count for THIS feature and increase its visibility to the developers by seeking to have the features you need or desire end up in the latest version.

    While you are at it, you may want to add your VOTE to related IDEAS found on the
    List of Requests for Data Entry and Usability Options and Features. Click on the underlined link, then follow the instructions to add your vote to more related ideas. Your VOTES matter!

    (If you find this reply helpful, please be sure to click "Like", so others will know, thanks.)

    If you find this reply helpful, please be sure to click "Like", so others will know, thanks.

    (STILL using QM2007, Canadian user since '92)

    Have Questions? Check out these FAQs:
  • Just LurkingJust Lurking Member
    edited July 2018

    Thanks RickO. Is your "Rebate: Credit Card Reward" an Expense category or an Income category? Could it be either?

    Also, since I'm brand new to Quicken and you're a helpful SuperUser, I hope you don't mind if I sneak in a couple of other quick questions:

    1. Is it OK to categorize some expenses at the top-level of a category? I try to put most things in a sub-category, but there are a few handful of one-off expenses that only fit in a top category unless I make a special sub-category for them, which will probably clutter up my reports.
    2. For ATM withdrawals, the downloaded data populates the "Payee" name as something fairly generic, e.g. "Bank name ATM" or in one of my transactions, something completely unintelligible. Is there any benefit to updating these or fine to leave the defaults? When I think about it, the "Payee" is really me or my spouse. Would it be recommended to use ourselves as Payees to track cash withdrawals, or better perhaps to use a tag for that purpose?
    Thanks in advance.
    Thanks so much for the detailed response, and apologies for my late reply.
    It's an income category. But nothing prevents you essentially using it as expense by assigning negative amounts as offset to the income.
    I tried setting this up as an expense category, but since it's a positive number (it's cash being added to my checking account), it shows up in the "Money In" section of my Category Summary report. I'm not sure if that's how it's supposed to work?

    I haven't tried playing around with Budgets yet, so I'm not sure if it will show up differently within that feature.
    Cash Both. The latter pops up as a split
    Your cash setup is fascinating, but I'm a little confused on the mechanics of "cash both." Unless I'm missing something, it seems that you can only split across categories, not Payees. Do you have Cash (me) and Cash (her) categories (for splitting) in addition to Payees?

    Is there a way to configure a Payee to always be a split, or is that simply something you manually do every time you assign an ATM withdrawal to the "Cash Both" payee?
    I take a middle ground approach. I have a Cash (me) account and a Cash (her) account. In the checking account, I show the ATM withdrawals as a transfer to one or both of these accounts. Then for significant cash transactions that I want to record/keep track of, I enter them in the appropriate cash account. Every so often, I do a balance adjustment in these account to zero them out and assign it to the category "Cash Spending". This way I can track significant cash transactions but lump all the little stuff together without the extra work of tracking it.
    That is really interesting and is something I had never thought of; thanks for sharing your process. I don't feel the need to track every penny, but tracking occasional major uses of cash would be useful.

    We use very little cash, with rare exceptions such as withdrawing cash while traveling internationally and (even more rarely) making a large cash purchase. While I like your setup, I feel like I could get enough detail for my needs if I simply manually categorized the occasional cash withdrawal for travel in one or more of my Travel categories, categorized any large cash withdrawal for a purchase with the appropriate expense category, and left the rest in the default "Cash & ATM" category.

    Do you see any issues with that? I'm still getting comfortable with Quicken and am trying to keep things fairly simple while doing things the "right" way.
  • RickORickO SuperUser ✭✭✭✭
    edited July 2018

    Thanks RickO. Is your "Rebate: Credit Card Reward" an Expense category or an Income category? Could it be either?

    Also, since I'm brand new to Quicken and you're a helpful SuperUser, I hope you don't mind if I sneak in a couple of other quick questions:

    1. Is it OK to categorize some expenses at the top-level of a category? I try to put most things in a sub-category, but there are a few handful of one-off expenses that only fit in a top category unless I make a special sub-category for them, which will probably clutter up my reports.
    2. For ATM withdrawals, the downloaded data populates the "Payee" name as something fairly generic, e.g. "Bank name ATM" or in one of my transactions, something completely unintelligible. Is there any benefit to updating these or fine to leave the defaults? When I think about it, the "Payee" is really me or my spouse. Would it be recommended to use ourselves as Payees to track cash withdrawals, or better perhaps to use a tag for that purpose?
    Thanks in advance.
    I don't use budgets, so I'll punt on that part.

    All of my memorized "cash" transactions are transfers. The cash both has two split lines, one transfer to my cash account and one transfer to her cash account.

    Quicken will duplicate the last transaction you used for a given payee in a given account, so once I create the "Cash Both" payee with splits, it comes up that way for future entries and I just edit the amounts.

    No, I don't see any problem with your latter approach if that's all the detail you need to maintain.
  • Just LurkingJust Lurking Member
    edited July 2018

    Thanks RickO. Is your "Rebate: Credit Card Reward" an Expense category or an Income category? Could it be either?

    Also, since I'm brand new to Quicken and you're a helpful SuperUser, I hope you don't mind if I sneak in a couple of other quick questions:

    1. Is it OK to categorize some expenses at the top-level of a category? I try to put most things in a sub-category, but there are a few handful of one-off expenses that only fit in a top category unless I make a special sub-category for them, which will probably clutter up my reports.
    2. For ATM withdrawals, the downloaded data populates the "Payee" name as something fairly generic, e.g. "Bank name ATM" or in one of my transactions, something completely unintelligible. Is there any benefit to updating these or fine to leave the defaults? When I think about it, the "Payee" is really me or my spouse. Would it be recommended to use ourselves as Payees to track cash withdrawals, or better perhaps to use a tag for that purpose?
    Thanks in advance.
    Great, thanks.
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