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Set up bank rules to categorize online banking transactions in QuickBooks Online

by Intuit Updated 4 weeks ago

Learn how to use bank rules to automatically categorize transactions from your bank.

When you download transactions from your bank, you need to categorize them so they go into the right accounts. Bank rules speed up this review process.

You can create rules that automatically categorize transactions for you. The more QuickBooks uses your bank rules, the better it gets at categorizing. After a while, it can even scan transactions and add details like payees.

In this article, you'll learn:

Step 1: Create a bank rule

  1. Go to Settings Settings gear icon. and select Rules (Take me there).
  2. Select New rule.
  3. Enter a name in the What do you want to call this rule? field.
  4. From the Apply this to transactions that are ▼ dropdown, select Money in or Money out.
  5. From the in ▼ dropdown, select a bank account, or select All bank accounts.
  6. Set the rule conditions. You can set a single rule with up to 5 conditions. Set and include the following, then select + Add a condition.
  7. In the Conditions fields, specify whether the rule applies to Description, Bank text, or Amount. Then select Contains, Doesn't contain, or Is exactly to decide how QuickBooks applies the rules.
  8. Select the settings for the rule. Select Transaction type, Category, Who you paid, Tax, Who it was for, and Tags to apply.
  9. Select Save.
  10. (Optional) To reorder your bank rules priority, select reorder Reorder icon and drag the rule to your desired order. The rule with the highest priority will always be applied first.

QuickBooks automatically applies your rules to transactions in the For review tab. These are the ones you need to review every day.


  • You can quickly add a rule for transactions in the For review tab. Just choose a transaction, then select the Create a rule link to open the Rule Window and start setting conditions for the rule.
  • You can Copy, Disable/Enable, or Delete bank rules from the Actions▼ dropdown on the Rules page.

Import existing bank rules

If you set up banking rules on another QuickBooks Online company file, you can export them to another company file:

  1. Sign in to the company file you want to export the bank rules from.
  2. Go to Settings Settings gear icon. and select Rules (Take me there).
  3. Select the New rule ▼ dropdown and then Export rules.
  4. Save the export file in Excel.
  5. Sign out of the company file and sign in to the one you want to import the rules into.
  6. Go to Settings Settings gear icon. and select Rules (Take me there).
  7. Select the New rule ▼ dropdown and then Import rules.
  8. Select Browse and find the Excel file you exported and select Next.
  9. Select the rules and details you want to import.
  10. Follow the prompts to finish the import.

Step 2: Review recognized transactions

You can view which downloaded transactions were recognized by a bank rule. While inside your For review tab, select Recognized from the All transactions ▼ dropdown menu. This will list all transactions that were recognized by any bank rule. You’ll also see a "Rule" label added to the transaction.

If everything looks good, select Add to move the transactions directly into an account in QuickBooks. You can also select and review it before you move it.

Note: If QuickBooks doesn't know how to categorize a transaction, it uses the Uncategorized Income, Uncategorized Expense, or Uncategorized Asset accounts to temporarily hold them.
You can't use these accounts to create bank rules.

Next steps: Set up the auto-add feature

You can create targeted rules so specific transactions are automatically accepted into your books from the Bank transactions (Take me there) page.

Tip: We recommend starting with easy, consistent transactions like rent or fuel expenses first. Once you get the hang of the feature, you can use it to cover more transactions.

  1. Follow the steps to create a new bank rule.
  2. Turn on Auto-add under Automatically confirm transactions this rule applies to in the Rules window.
  3. 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 sign in, upload a file, or create or modify a new auto-add rule.

If your bank rules aren't getting applied to transactions

If your bank rules aren't getting applied, it might be because you’re using a rule based on bank text when you meant to make a rule based on description, or vice versa. To explain the difference:

  • The bank text is exactly the same information QuickBooks receives from the bank. The bank text is the transaction you'd see listed in your bank account or on your bank statement.
  • The description is a simplified version of the bank text to make it easier to understand. For example, QuickBooks might simplify bank text by just giving the supplier name.

By default, QuickBooks shows the description in your list of transactions. To show the bank text instead:

  1. Go to Transactions and select Bank transactions (Take me there).
  2. Select the Settings ⚙ within the Bank transactions section.
  3. Select Show bank details.

If you moved from QuickBooks Desktop

Bank rules work similarly in QuickBooks Online as they do in QuickBooks Desktop. If your rules have been automatically migrated from QuickBooks Desktop, notice the following differences:

  • QuickBooks Online supports up to 5 conditions per rule. The first 5 conditions for each rule from QuickBooks Desktop are migrated.
  • QuickBooks Desktop bank rules containing Begins with and Ends with clauses are matched with the Contains clause once migrated to QuickBooks Online.
  • If a migrated QuickBooks Desktop bank rule contains both Money in and Money out conditions, two bank rules are created in QuickBooks Online.

Find out more about how features and data move to QuickBooks Online.

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