In this lesson, you’ll learn to connect your credit card to QuickBooks Online and import the credit card transactions. We’ll also explain when and how to import credit card transactions into QuickBooks Online using a QuickBooks Online (QBO) file or Excel and a comma-separated values (CSV) file. If you’ve completed the prior lesson, How to Import Bank Transactions, then this lesson will be a breeze as the process is very similar.
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This lesson is one in our series of Free QuickBooks Tutorials. You can watch the video below or follow the step-by-step instructions that include illustrations. The video is from a slightly older version of QuickBooks Online. While the process of importing bank transactions in QuickBooks Online is essentially unchanged, the layout of the screens is slightly different. The step-by-step instructions are from the most current version of QuickBooks Online.
The Importance of Connecting Your Credit Card to QuickBooks
Connecting your credit card account to download transactions automatically is one of the biggest time-savers offered by QuickBooks Online. Once connected, all you need to do is sign in to QuickBooks and classify the transactions that will transfer daily automatically. Most credit card companies allow you to connect to QuickBooks using your online sign-in credentials. If your credit card does not allow a connection to QuickBooks, you can still import your credit card transactions using a QBO file or a CSV file with the help of Excel.
Tip: Combining personal and business activity on the same credit card makes for messy bookkeeping, wastes your time, and will likely drive up your accounting fees at tax time. I highly recommend that you get a business credit card and use it purely for business.
How to Import Credit Card Transactions Automatically in QuickBooks Online
To connect your credit card to QuickBooks, you need the username and password that is used to sign-in to your online credit card account. If you haven’t set up online access to your credit card account, you must do so before continuing with these steps. Visit your credit card company’s website for information on how to activate your online access.
Step 1: Locate Your Credit Card Company in QuickBooks Online
Select Transactions and then Banking from the left menu bar of your QuickBooks Online company dashboard:
If this is the first bank or credit card account you are connecting to QuickBooks, you’ll see the following screen and you should click the green Connect account button to add your credit card account:
If you’ve already connected another bank or credit card account, you’ll be taken to the Banking Center. Click the green Add account button in the upper right corner (not shown).
Enter your credit card company’s name to determine if it’s available to connect to QuickBooks Online. Our fictitious sample company, Paul’s Plumbing, has a business credit card with Capital One.
If your company is not listed, you’ll have to import your credit card transactions with a QBO file or through Excel using a CSV file:
After selecting your bank, click the green Continue button to be taken to your bank’s sign-in page automatically.
Step 2: Log Into Your Credit Card Account
QuickBooks will open a new browser window for you to sign in to your credit card account:
After signing in, your bank might ask you to confirm that you want to share your banking information with Intuit and provide a summary of the information to be shared. If you agree, click the appropriate button on your bank’s confirmation page, and you will be taken back to QuickBooks.
Step 3: Link Credit Card Account to Chart of Accounts
Upon returning to QuickBooks, you are provided a list of accounts you have with that credit card company or bank:
Select all of the bank accounts you would like to link to QuickBooks Online. If you have a checking and credit card account at the same bank, you connect them both during this step. After you click on an account, a drop-down box will list the bank accounts included in your Chart of Accounts. If your credit card account is already included in your Chart of Accounts, select it.
Paul’s Plumbing needs to create a new account for their Bank of America credit card, so we’ll click Add new at the top of the drop-down box.
Creating a New Credit Card Account in the Chart of Accounts
After clicking Add new, you’re asked to provide information to add an account to your Chart of Accounts. You can glance ahead to How to Set Up the Chart of Accounts if you want to learn more but, for now, you can provide a few details.
The Account Type and Detail Type must be Credit Card. An account name is required, and I recommend including the credit card company name for easy identification. If you have more than one credit card with the same company, you might also include the last four digits of the credit card. When you have entered all the information, click the green Save and Close button, and you will be returned to the prior screen with the new account selected.
Step 4: Selecting the Right Date Range
After linking your credit card to an account from your Chart of Accounts, you must decide when QuickBooks should begin importing transactions:
The default start date to pull transactions is the beginning of the year. You should try to pull transactions back to the date you wish to start using QuickBooks Online. If your credit company or QuickBooks doesn’t allow you to go back that far, you’ll have to transfer the older transactions using a QBO or CSV file.
Paul’s Plumbing is importing credit card transactions starting on January 1 of the current year. Click the green Connect button when you are done.
Step 5: Review Downloaded Transactions in the Banking Center
QuickBooks Online will take you to the Banking Center after connecting your bank account:
A. Transactions for review: The orange number in the Bank of America box is the number of transactions that have been imported, but not yet reviewed and classified. Paul’s Plumbing has 47 credit card transactions to review.
B. Review tab: The tab labeled For Review lists all the transactions imported from your selected bank or credit card that are awaiting review.
C. Add account: To connect another bank or credit card company to QuickBooks Online, click the green Add account button in the upper right-hand corner of the screen and repeat the process.
You can peek ahead at How to Manage QuickBooks Online Bank Feeds if you’d like to learn more about classifying transactions, but I recommend waiting until we complete a few more setup lessons. It’s important to have your Chart of Accounts finalized before you start assigning transactions.
Now that your credit card account is connected, new transactions will be imported automatically into QuickBooks Online daily, or you can click Update in the upper right corner to import any new transactions immediately. You can visit the Banking Center anytime by clicking Transactions and then Banking from the left menu bar (as you did at the beginning of this lesson).
When to Import Credit Card Transactions Manually Into QuickBooks Online
There are two reasons to import transactions from a CSV, QBO, or similar file. Some credit card companies will not connect with QuickBooks Online to allow an automatic import. Also, you might need to import transactions that are too old to import automatically, even if the credit card is connected to QuickBooks Online.
Importing credit card transactions that have already been entered into QuickBooks manually, such as using a credit card to pay a vendor bill, will not create duplicate transactions. During your review of imported transactions, you can match them to existing transactions, thus avoiding duplication.
How to Import Credit Card Transactions Manually Into QuickBooks Online With a CSV or Similar File
Step 1: Download a Transfer File From Your Credit Card Company
QuickBooks Online can import credit card transactions from the following types of files:
- CSV: These files are commonly used to export data for a multitude of purposes and can be opened and edited with Excel.
- QBO: QBO files are QuickBooks WebConnect files specifically designed for exporting information from bank or credit card accounts to QuickBooks.
- QFX: QFX files are financial exchange files created for exporting information to Quicken, but they will also work with QuickBooks Online.
- OFX: An OFX file is a text file specifically designed for exporting financial data.
- TXT: Text files can be imported but might require some editing first. You might want to open the TXT file with Excel and convert it to a CSV file for a smoother transfer.
To obtain a transfer file, log into your credit card account, and locate the option to download your account transactions. You will likely have the option to download your transactions in multiple formats. Choose the QBO or QFX format, if available, since they are designed specifically for QuickBooks. The next best option is an OFX file. If none of those file types are available, a CSV or TXT file will suffice but require a couple of extra steps.
Save the transfer file to a location on your computer that you can remember easily to import the file.
Step 2: Select the Transfer File to Upload in QuickBooks
From the Banking Center, open the drop-down menu next to Update in the upper right corner and then select File upload:
Click the Browse button and select the transfer file you downloaded from your credit card account:
Our sample company, Paul’s Plumbing, was able to download a QBO file with credit card activity from a local bank. After selecting your transfer file, click the green Next button.
Step 3: Select a QuickBooks Account
Next, you must select an account from your Chart of Accounts to record the imported bank transactions:
If needed, you can click Add new to set up a new credit card account as demonstrated earlier. Paul’s Plumbing created a new QuickBooks account named Local Credit Card. After you have selected a QuickBooks account to record the imported transactions, click the green Next button in the lower right-hand corner.
If your transfer file is a QBO, QBX, or OFX file, you’re done and can skip to step 6.
If your transfer file is a CSV or TXT file, you have a couple more steps to complete.
Step 4: Map Columns to QuickBooks Fields (CSV and TXT files only)
Before completing this step, you should open your CSV or TXT file in Excel to determine exactly what information your bank exported and how it is formatted. Paul’s Plumbing exported the following CSV file from their local credit union account.
Tip: When you open a CSV file in Excel, you may be asked to save the file as an Excel file to preserve features. Don’t do this because the file must remain a CSV file to be imported into QuickBooks.
Notice that transaction amounts are shown in column C with credit card charges shown as positive numbers and payments to reduce the credit card balance as negative numbers. Some credit card companies might include charges in one column and payments in another column. Either way is fine, but you’ll need to know how the amounts are organized in the next step.
After completing step 3, if you’re importing a CSV or TXT file, QuickBooks requires you to designate which column in your CSV file should be imported for each of three fields:
You need to tell QuickBooks where it can find the date, description, and amount in your transfer spreadsheet:
- First row in the file is a header row: Place a check mark in this box if the first row in your transfer spreadsheet provides the title for each column.
- Date: Click the drop-down arrow and select the column in your transfer spreadsheet that contains the date. In the next field, select how your spreadsheet formats the date.
- Description: Select the column that contains a description of the transaction. I recommend selecting whichever column is going to provide you the most information to help classify the transaction without doing further research. Paul’s Plumbing chose the “Appears On Your Statement As” column instead of the “Description” column because of the more detailed information.
- Amount: First, choose whether your spreadsheet has all amounts in one column or if charges and payments are in separate columns. As we saw above, Paul’s Plumbing’s spreadsheet has all the amounts in one column and are located in column C. If you indicate amounts are shown in two columns, you’ll need to specify one column for money spent (charges) and another for money received (payments).
When you are satisfied with your mapping, click the green Next button in the bottom right corner of the screen.
Step 5: Select Transactions for Import (CSV and TXT files only)
You can select which transactions from your file to import. I highly recommend importing all transactions in the file. Even personal transactions on your business credit card account need to be imported. Reconciling your credit card account from QuickBooks to your credit card statement is an important step to make sure your books are accurate. The reconciliation is not possible if you don’t import all transactions.
Make sure all transactions are selected and then click the green Next button in the bottom right corner of the screen to complete the import of your transactions.
Tip: If there are no transactions listed on this screen, make the following changes to your file:
- Remove all formatting from the amount column, including dollar signs
- Remove blank rows so that everything begins at row 1, column 1 of the spreadsheet
If you make changes to your spreadsheet, you must save it and then back up to step 2 and reselect the file to import.
Step 6: Return to the Banking Center
Click on Transactions and then Banking from the left menu bar to return to the Banking Center. Your bank account is now shown in the upper left corner with the number of transactions awaiting review. You may have to refresh your browser for your banking center to reflect your freshly imported transactions:
We’ll learn how to review the transactions and accept, exclude, or match them to an existing transaction in How to Manage QuickBooks Online Bank Feeds, but I recommend completing the tutorial lessons in order.
You’ve now learned to connect your credit card to QuickBooks Online and to import credit card transactions manually when necessary. We’ll return to managing bank feeds in a later lesson. First, however, we must finish setting up your QuickBooks Online company. The next lesson in our QuickBooks Online Training Course is How to Set Up Multiple Users, where you’ll learn how to allow your external accountant and as well as other employees full access to your QuickBooks Online.