Recording Credit Card Transactions and Payments with Microsoft Money

Besides leaving credit cards at home, one way to keep credit card spending under control is to diligently record charges as you make them. Watching the amount that you owe grow larger and larger in the credit card register should discourage you from spending so much with your credit card.

Recording credit card and line of credit charges

Credit card and line of credit account registers have a Charge form for recording charges. As with the Withdrawal form, the Charge form has places for entering a transaction date, amount, payee name, category, and memo. All the drop-down lists and keyboard tricks work the same way on a Charge form as on a Withdrawal form.

To fill in the Charge form, follow these steps:

1. Open the account register.

2. Click the Charge tab.

3. Enter a reference number (optional).

4. Enter the charge date.

5. Enter the business you purchased the item(s) from in the Pay To box.

6. Enter the amount of the charge.

Don't concern yourself with recording service charges and interest on your credit card. You can do that when you reconcile your account.

7. Select a category.

8. Enter a description (optional).

9. Click the Enter button (or press Enter).

Credit card and line of credit accounts track what you owe, not what you have. Don't forget this all-important detail.

Recording a credit

If you receive a credit from a bank or credit card issuer, perhaps because you overpaid, disputed a bill, or returned an item you bought, record the credit in the credit card account register. To do so, click the Credit tab and fill in the blanks in the Credit form. The Credit form works exactly like the Charge form.

Be sure to record the credit in an expense category. Seems odd, doesn't it, to record credits as expenses? But when you recorded the purchase in the register, you assigned it to an expense category. Now that you're getting a refund, assign it to the same expense category so that the amount you spent in the category is accurate on your reports.

Recording a credit card payment

Before you make a credit card or line of credit payment, reconcile the credit card or line of credit account. Then take note of how much of the debt you intend to pay, and follow these steps to make a payment to the bank or card issuer:

1. Open the register of the account from which you intend to make the payment.

You probably want to open your checking account register.

2. Click the Withdrawal tab at the bottom of the register window.

3. Click the Common Withdrawals button, choose Credit Card Payment, and then choose the name of the credit card account where you track the credit card that you want to make a payment on.

The words "Credit Card Payment" and the name of the credit card account appear in the Category box on the transaction form.

4. Enter a check number in the Number text box if the number that appears there isn't correct.

Remember, you can click the down arrow and choose Next Check Number to enter the next available check number in the box.

5. In the Date text box, enter the date that you wrote or will write on the check.

6. Enter the amount of the check in the Amount text box.

Hopefully you can pay off the entire credit card or line of credit bill, but if you can't, Money doesn't care. Money continues to track what you owe from month to month.

7. If you care to, write a few descriptive words in the Memo text box.

8. Click the Enter button or press Enter.

The amount you paid is deducted from the checking account. Meanwhile, the You Owe amount in the credit card or line of credit register decreases or is brought to zero. In effect, you have transferred money from your checking account to the account where you track credit card charges.

Right-click a credit card payment in a register and choose Go To Account: Credit Card Name (or press Ctrl+X) to go to the account register where you track credit card charges.

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