How to blacklist bank terms from blue matching

Sometimes downloaded transactions have generic and/or redundant bank descriptions that cause blue matching to automatically categorize a bunch incorrectly.  For example the term "share draft" (common at credit unions) means check, and if you categorize one of these all the other checks will get the same payee and expense account, which isn't right.

To deal with this problem Cheqbook already blacklists certain terms that are just too common, like "check". However it ALSO provides you the ability to blacklist your OWN terms so the blue coding engine cannot use it to create matches.  You set this up individually for each of your bank accounts as needed.

On a simple level, just blacklist terms that are triggering mass categorizations you don't want.  For example "check paid" is a common variation of "check" that would otherwise categorize ALL checks to the same payee and expense category when you don't want them to be.  So you'd blacklist the term "check paid" and it will fix this on a go forward basis. 

By default your personalized blacklist is empty, however each account DOES inherit the system blacklist, which has very common terms such as "check".

Follow these steps to blacklist a term for an account:

  1. From the Dashboard, click "Manage" for the target account
  2. At the bottom the Account Manage page you will see the blacklist box. Click on the gray button labelled "New Term" at the top right of the box (see blacklist_from_accounts_manage).
  3. Enter the term in the field labelled "Clean name" and click "Create Blacklist match".  Capitalization doesn't matter, it will remove all Merchant, merchant, or MERCHANT terms if you blacklist "merchant".

You are also able to delete and edit existing blacklisted terms from the Account Manage page.


Sometimes when you have have more complex situations and you REALLY want to teach Cheqbook to categorize these for you, understanding how blacklisting works inside the software can be very helpful.  This section is for you.  To start you have to be familiar with these three parts of any transaction:

  • Blue Map Description: a simplified version of the Bank Description provided by Yodlee.  When a transaction is imported this is the field used to map transactions to a payee and expense category.  For uploaded transactions it's the same as the Bank Description, unless modified by blacklisting.
  • Bank Description: The main field from most banks, usually the name of the payee or other description. 
  • Notes: additional details about the transaction provided by the bank.

When new transactions are imported that have blacklisted terms in the Blue Map Description, it changes the Blue Map Description field when new transactions are imported according to these rules:

  • First: All blacklisted terms are removed from the blue map description.  I.e. if you blacklist "Deposit" the term "Merchant Deposit" in the Blue Map Description will become just "Merchant".
  • Second: If you blacklist the entire Blue Map description then Cheqbook uses the Bank Description.  In this example blacklisting "merchant deposit" would revert to a Bank Description which might say "Amex Merchant Deposit".  Since Cheqbook will also remove the blacklisted terms from the Bank Description, "Amex" would become the Blue Map Description in this example.
  • Finally, if you also blacklist the entire Bank Description then Cheqbook will put the bank description in brackets.  (UPDATE:  we have experimented in the past with creating a Blue Map Description for you by using the information in the Notes field, but we don't support this at this time).

That's pretty much all you need to know to setup blacklisting as a power user.

Fixing Earlier Miss-categorizations

Typically you discover this potential problem immediately after you accidentally categorized all such terms to the wrong payee and expense account.  There is an easy fix for this.  AFTER you've blacklisted the appropriate terms, just follow these steps, which delete a mapped bank description and then revert related transactions:

  1. Go to the edit screen for the Payee that was mapped in error and click the blue button labelled "Blue Mapping" at the top right of the page (see blacklist_blue_match).
  2. The next page should show all the blue map descriptions mapped to the target payee. Click the red button labelled "Unmap" for the problem bank description (see blacklist_blue_match_2)
  3. On the next screen you'll be given a chance to revert all the transactions categorized with this blue map description. Reverting a transaction will restore it to the original state it was in when downloaded from the bank. Meaning the score will be set back to red or yellow. (Note you will have to manually categorize all of these, unless you reprocess those transactions...more about that in this post:  

Fortunately this is uncommon.  If a user has to blacklist a term at all (and if you're reading this you probably do), typically it's only necessary to do so for one or two terms for that account.  Once you identify them, you're good to go!!

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