Using Category Rules to automatically categorize transactions

A Category Rule automatically categorizes newly imported transactions for you! Category rules are checked against your transactions (after your Filters) and will re-categorise any transactions that have been automatically categorized from the bank feed.

In this article

How Category Rules work

Category Rules let PocketSmith do the heavy lifting for you when it comes to getting your transactions categorized. With Category Rules, you're able to set up your PocketSmith account to automatically categorize transactions just they way you like. This means less time spent manually categorizing your transactions - yay!

Category Rules work by matching a transaction's merchant name to the merchant keywords belonging to a Category Rule. If a transaction's merchant name has text in it that match the Category Rules'  merchant keywords, then that transaction will be assigned to the appropriate category.

Example:

Bridie shops at Betty's Liquor store for wine. She wants all her Betty's Liquor transactions to be automatically assigned to her 🍻 Drinks category. The trouble is, each time a new transaction comes in from Betty's Liquor, it often comes in with different details in the merchant name, such as, a different time, date, or card information etc. 

When Bridie sets a Category Rule for Betty's Liquor, she needs to pick out the best merchant keywords from the transaction in order for the Category Rule to be successful each time a new transaction comes in. In this case, the common  merchant keyword for Bridie's transactions at Betty's Liquor is 'Bettys'.


Creating Category Rules and adding merchant keywords

There are a few different places around PocketSmith where a Category Rule can be created for a transaction and where you can add a transaction's specific merchant keywords to a category rule. 

We recommend applying your category rules from the Categorize Items page or when editing a transaction because you can simultaneously edit the merchant keywords for that transaction.

Based on the example above with Bridie's Betty's Liquor purchase, Bridie can adjust the merchant keywords so that it just contained 'Bettys'.

Creating a Category Rule and adding merchant keywords from the Categorize Items page

When categorizing transactions from the Categorize Items page, you can add merchant keywords to a Category Rule so that similar future transactions are automatically categorized.

1
Go to the Categorize Items page ( Accounts > Categorize Items)
2
Assign a category to the transaction
3
Tick the check box for Make this a Category Rule
4
Edit the merchant keyword so that it will match future transactions
5
Click  Save & continue

Creating a Category Rule and adding to a Category Rule when editing a transaction

When editing a transaction from the Transactions page, you can add merchant keywords to a Category Rule so that similar future transactions are automatically categorized.

1
Navigate to the transaction you would like to categorize on the Transactions page ( Accounts >  Transactions)
2
Click on the transaction and select a category from the category drop down
3
Tick the check box for  Make this a Category Rule
4
Edit the merchant keyword so that it will match future transactions
5
Click  Save

Adding to a Category Rule from the Transactions page

When categorizing transactions from the Transactions page, you can create a Category Rule for transactions so that similar future transactions are automatically categorized too. However, to edit the merchant keywords, you'll need to head to your Settings to edit the category rule's merchant keywords.

1
Go to the Transactions page ( Accounts > Transactions)
2
Select all the transactions you want to categorize to the same category
3
Click on the Category menu item in the toolbar
4
Enter any keywords to narrow the selection of categories
5
Click the checkbox beside Make this a Category Rule
6
Click on a category name in the select menu to categorize the transactions and create the rule
7
The category will be applied to the selected transactions as well as any existing uncategorized transactions or future transactions that match the merchant names in your selection
8

Following this, it's really important to edit this newly created category rule, as the transactions merchants may need to have some merchant keywords removed


Editing a Category Rule

To improve the Category Rules performance so that they automatically categorize more transactions, you will want to edit the merchant keywords or the order of your Category Rules. 

The following article explains how to edit your Category Rules:  Editing category rules

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