How Keywords and Excluded Terms work

If you haven't figured it out yet, the blue coding engine, as we call it, is the secret to easy categorization.  It's far more powerful than anyone else's method because it needs a little knowledge to use, and Keywords and Excluded Terms resolve a lot of potential problems.  

This is an advanced discussion, before you read it you should have read these:

Here's how these features work. 


Examples are often the best way to show everything.  Let's suppose you get the following transaction descriptions each time your payroll is paid out:

  • GUSTO NET XXXXXX XX-X4-18 6semjmqo912
  • GUSTO NET XXXXXX XX-X8-18 6semjmrbje0
  • GUSTO NET XXXXXX XX-X5-18 6semjms15e2
  • GUSTO NET XXXXXX XX-X0-18 6semjmsil0s

The blue engine works by learning which descriptions go with what payees.  However if the description is always a little different like these, then you have to manually categorize these every time they clear.

With Keywords you would save the term "Gusto net", and then each time another one of these transactions are downloaded the remainder of the description will be stripped away.  All four of these would be replaced with the term "gusto net". 

Then, once the blue engine learns which payee this term "gusto net" goes with by categorizing the first one, all current and future ones would be properly categorized.

Excluded Terms

This method works exactly the opposite: instead of seeking out terms embedded and using only them, it seeks out an removes terms that get in the way. Excluding Terms solves a completely different problem than Keywords.  

Take for example the term "check". Many banks will use only this term in the description, with a check number to help you identify it.  

If you had 30 checks with this description, and you manually categorized the first one, then all of the other 29 checks would get categorized to this same payee, and so would all future checks!

Obviously you don't want that.  Checks need to stay uncategorized, with a red indicator, so that you know they need your attention. 

Fortunately for you we've already listed the following common terms that cause this issue:

  • debit card
  • direct withdrawal
  • ach debit
  • pos purchase
  • card purchase
  • other subtractions
  • share draft
  • purchase
  • check
  • debit
  • credit
  • adjustment

However if your bank uses a term that isn't on this list, like "cleared check", you can add this term to that accounts Excluded Terms list and the blue engine won't use it to categorize.

Advanced Excluded Terms

Sometimes the term you want to match isn't in the simple or blue map description, but in the longer bank description.  Again an example might be helpful:

Bank Description: Square Inc Merchant Deposit
Blue Map Description: deposit

Suppose you see this when you click more next to a transaction.  The blue map description provided by our data partner is rather vague "deposit".  If you categorize with this you won't be able to differenciate your merchant (credit card) deposits from your check deposits.  

However, if you add the term "deposit" to your Excluded Term list, which in this case is the entire blue map description, Cheqbook will then look to the Bank Description and take all the words that are not "deposit".  

Thus in this example the blue map description would become "Square Inc Merchant", and you'd be able to train the blue engine to categorize that properly.

Again to clarify, this feature relies on how how Cheqbook switches to using the "long" bank description from the short one if the short one doesn't exist or has been eliminated by excluding the term.  

Helpful Hint

If you're trying to fix existing transactions that these lists would help with, then after making the list changes you need, read this FAQ and you'll be able to re-categorize them all!



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