I'm helping a friend enter her student loan payments into GnuCash and I've come across something I've never encountered before. Apparently Discover Student Loans are calculated with Daily Simple Interest and their statements reflect the balance on the statement date, which isn't necessarily related to the payment made. For example:
Statement Date Payment Principal Interest Statement Bal | GnuCash Bal 2018-07-16 $200.00 $154.60 $45.40 $13,381.12 | $13,381.12 2018-08-16 $200.00 $153.29 $46.71 $13,229.26 | $13,227.83 2018-09-15 $200.00 $150.75 $49.25 $13,075.35 | $13,077.08 Note: above interest rate = 4.25%, below rate = 4.5% 2018-10-16 $200.00 $153.45 $46.55 $12,923.84 | $12,923.63 2018-11-15 $200.00 $153.83 $46.17 $12,771.47 | $12,769.80 2018-12-16 $200.00 $149.66 $50.34 $12,620.13 | $12,620.14
The first entry is the opening balance for the loan in GnuCash and equals the statement balance. After that, notice the GnuCash balance is the expected balance after reducing the previous balance by the principal amount. However, the statement is only showing the actual balance as of the statement date, which could be more or less than the amount based on the principal payment made.
Note: Some of the comments starting going down the path of "Why is this happening?" I called Discover and asked them and I was told this is a common question and that the statement balance can be off by a few dollars. The CS rep didn't know of a solution but suggested I look at the transactions online to see if there is more information. I did that but unfortunately the payment history doesn't display the balance at that time either. I've accepted that the statement balance is off and that's just the way it is.
Besides this being annoying, I'm not sure how to reconcile any statement properly. Any suggestions on how to reconcile, preferably cleanly?
Answer Summary: even though the statement balance is what's "off", the accepted answer suggests treating the statement balance as correct and adjusting the interest to match. This may be the best approach for sanity purposes if you are reconciling. The other good answer accomplishes the same end result all in a single transaction by adjusting both the principal and interest values to what they should have been according to the statement balance.