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How to set and use banking rules for downloaded transactions

Online banking rules go beyond the automatic memorizing and categorizing that QuickBooks Online does. For frequently downloaded items, rules can save you a lot of time by scanning bank items for certain details you assign for specific payees and categories.

Default accounts

Default accounts are used when it is unclear how a transaction should be categorized.

The purpose of banking rules is to accurately categorize transactions.

Because these accounts do not accurately depict the category, they are ignored by Banking Rules.

The following default accounts should not be used when creating a banking rule.

  • Uncategorized Income
  • Uncategorized Expense
  • Uncategorized Asset

Bank rules ignore these accounts even if they have been renamed.

Create a bank rule

To set up a bank rule:

  1. From the left menu, select Banking, and select Bank Rules.

  2. Select New Rule to open the Rule window.

  3. Enter a name in the Rule name field.
  4. From the drop-down list in the For field, choose Money in or Money out.
  5. Select the bank or credit card account from the drop-down list in the In field.
  6. Set the rule conditions, specifying whether the transaction must meet All or Any of the conditions. You can add up to 5 lines.
    To reduce the need for multiple rules, you can create rules with Or so that transactions are edited when they meet any of the outlined conditions. To use the Or function, you must specify When a transaction meets ANY of these conditions and select Add line.
  7. In the Conditions fields, specify whether the rule applies to Bank text, Description, or Amount, and identify the content the transaction Contains, Doesn't contain, or Is exactly for the rule to apply.
  8. Select the settings for the rule, specifying the Transaction type, Payee, and the Category to apply.
  9. Select Save.


Rules apply to unaccepted transactions only (transactions on the For Review tab on the Banking screen).

Automatically add to my books option

You can create targeted rules so specific transactions are automatically accepted into your books from the Banking page.

Warning If you are not an expert or experienced user of Banking Rules, it is best to begin using the Auto-add feature for easy and reliable transactions (for example, for Gas Expenses below $100).

To turn this option on, select the Automatically add to my books option on the Rules window and select Save.

After you create an Auto-add rule, any transactions on the For Review tab that meet the conditions are automatically added.

Auto-add rules run when you:

  • Log in
  • Perform a manual update or file upload
  • Create or modify a new auto-add rule

In most cases, a message shows how many transactions were automatically added.

Uploading a WebConnect file to an account with the Auto-add option turned on generates the warning: Uploading this file may cause duplicate transactions to appear at some time in these account(s): <your bank account>. If you continue, the account(s) will be set to No Automation. Are you sure you want to continue?

This message means that the Auto-add option has been turned off to avoid duplicating transactions, so you must manually add the transactions you've uploaded.

Recognized transactions

Once you set a bank rule, the Recognized tab of the Bank and Credit Cards screen displays an indicator for transactions that have been recognized by the system because of rules in addition to those recognized because of matching or auto-recall.

You can add transactions directly from the Recognized tab or select the transaction to edit it before adding it.

Bank rules

Import bank rules

If you have set up banking rules on another QuickBooks Online company file, you can save time by exporting those rules and then importing them to your current company file.

  1. Sign in to the company file you want to export the bank rules from.
  2. From the left menu, select Banking, and select Bank Rules.

  3. Select Export Rules from the New Rule drop-down menu.
    You must have set up rules for this company to be able to select this option.
  4. Save the export file in Excel.
  5. Switch to the company you want to import the bank rules to.
  6. From the left menu, select Banking, and select Bank Rules.

  7. Select Import Rules from the New Rule drop-down menu.
  8. Select Browse and navigate to and upload the Excel file you exported.
  9. Select the rules and details you want to import and follow the prompts to finish the import.

The bank rules from the first company file are imported to the second company file.

Now, you're familiar with how to create and set bank rules.