If you're looking at a patient's details page and see a message about a "credit balance" or "unapplied credit", and you don't know why that message is there, you might be a bit confused!

If this patient hasn't prepaid for any services (which would result in a credit balance), or if you're certain this isn't coming from an opening balance, then a bit of digging will need to be done to find out where this credit balance originated from.

Usually, when there's a mystery credit on a patient's details page and no one knows what it's for, it's a result of a payment being added, but not allocated to an invoice. Sometimes it's easy to find the source, but sometimes it's like looking for a needle in a haystack! Generally speaking, there are four main reasons for this:

Below, we'll walk you through some of the steps you can take to try to find that mystery credit.

☝️Note: the four scenarios discussed below are generally the most common reasons for a mystery credit balance to be showing up. If you still can't find the source of the credit after checking out the steps below, our support team can certainly help!


A payment was entered, but not applied to an invoice

One of the first things to look for is any open invoices that shouldn't be open.

A fairly common mistake is to accidentally enter a payment without allocating it to an open invoice. When this happens, you may see a message that looks like this:

In this case, the patient has the same amount of credit and open invoices. That means that there's a very good chance that the invoice was meant to be paid, but the payment was accidentally not assigned to it.

The best way to check this would be to go into the patient's list of invoices and see if any are open. For this patient, if we look at their invoices, we can see that there is one open invoice for $150:

That's the same amount as the unnapplied credit—so, we're getting closer!

Now, let's double-check the list of payments. Is there a matching $150 payment? It would appear so:

Let's click on that payment to be sure that it hasn't been applied to any invoices yet:

It hasn't been! This means it's the culprit, and is the reason that we're seeing that message about $150 of unapplied credit.

Now, there are a couple of options for what to do next. You can either use the credit to pay the invoice (which would be ideal if the credit had been allocated earlier, as part of a prepayment for future services, and this invoice is a result of those future services), or you can remove the credit entirely and pay the invoice as normal (and if it was supposed to be paid a while ago, you can backdate the payment).

Let's walk through both of those scenarios.

Use the credit to pay and close the invoice

In this instance, you'll want to find the open invoice, press the Enter payment button, and pay that invoice with the credit. This article shows you how to do that, but for quick reference, check out this short demo video:

Remove the credit and pay the invoice normally

The other option is to remove the credit and then enter a "normal" payment for that invoice. This guide walks you through how to remove a credit that has been entered in error.

After that, you can enter a payment as you normally would, being sure to edit the "payment date" if need be!


An invoice was overpaid

If an invoice is overpaid, it can result in a credit balance showing up. The patient's details page might look something like this:

As we can see, from this example, there are no open invoices—there's only a credit balance. Now, this might be intentional, if the patient paid in advance! But, if that's not the case, it's quite possible that somewhere, a payment is floating around that has a greater value than the invoice it was applied to.

How can I check this out?

First things first, have a look at the patient's list of invoices and payments. Usually, there should be an equal number (unless the patient prepaid for services, or an invoice is open but hasn't been paid yet).

In this case of this patient, we can see that they have a credit balance of $30, and they also have three invoices and three payments:

Why does this matter? Well, for starters, we can assume that the equal number means that each invoice and payment are supposed to match up (so, each invoice should have a payment of the same value).

Now, let's look at the invoices. This patient has three invoices, and they all appear to be closed. They come to a total of $225:

Take note of the total value of invoices! Next, let's look at the payments. We can see there are also three payments, but take a look at their total value—$255. That's $30 more than the total value of the invoices:

$30 also happens to be the amount of mystery credit currently listed in this patient's details! If we look closely, we can see that one of the invoices and payments don't match. While we have matching pairs of $75 and $50, we have a mismatched invoice of $100 and payment of $130. This is likely the culprit!

Let's click on the payment to be sure, and here it is:

We can see that $100 of this payment was applied to an invoice, but $30 was allocated to account credit—so that's the reason for that mystery $30 credit!

How can I remove it?

Assuming this was a slip of the keyboard and the patient didn't actually pay $130 that day, you'll probably want to adjust the payment so it accurately reflects what was paid ($100). To do this, you'll want to edit the payment and reduce it accordingly. Below is a quick video of how this would look:

As you can see from the video, we reduced the payment amount from $130 to $100. We then saved the changes, and that reflected properly on the invoice, and the patient no longer has any credit balance listed!


An invoice has a negative value

One of "weirder" reasons for a mystery credit balance is the elusive negative invoice. Now, there are cases where this was the intention! If you reverse an invoice because you're converting what was paid into credit to use towards future services, then that results in a negative invoice (also known as a "credit note").

However, it's possible you didn't mean to reverse that invoice (and therefore create the credit note), so the credit balance isn't supposed to be there. Let's walk through how to fix it up!

Firstly, let's take a look at how much the patient's credit balance is. In the example below, it's $50:

In the event of a credit note, this means that there's a total of $50 in credit notes floating around—whether it be just a single one for $50, or a combination of a few. Let's see what their invoices and payments look like—we can see they have two invoices, and one payment:

The "two invoices, one payment" thing looks a little suspicious! 🤔 The patient doesn't have any outstanding balances, so that probably means that one of these invoices is a credit note. If we go into the list of invoices, we see that this is the case—there is one credit note:

That credit note is for -$50, which matches the amount of the credit balance for this patient. To remove this, you'll want to archive the credit note—this will get things back to how they should be! Below is a quick video of what this would look like:

Once the credit note is archived, the patient will no longer have a credit balance, and everything will be sorted!


The patient has an incorrect opening balance

Finally, another reason that you might find a mystery credit balance is due to the "opening balance". An opening balance is usually something that would be manually applied if you had recently moved to Cliniko from another practice management system and some of your patients either owed money, or had credit to use towards future services.

In the absence of being able to find the source of the mystery credit from the three other scenarios mentioned in this guide (a payment not being applied to an invoice, an overpayment, or a credit note), it might be worthwhile to see if the patient has an opening balance.

In the example below, we can see that this patient has a credit balance of $75, but they have no invoices or payments:

Strange. 🤔 Let's check to see if they have an opening balance by pressing the edit button, and scrolling down to Billing information. We can see that there's a -$75 as the opening balance:

That's where the credit is coming from! If this isn't supposed to be there, you can simply delete it and save, which will clear the credit balance from the patient. Here's a quick demo video on how this would look:

Now your patient should be all back to normal!


As mentioned, the above scenarios are all possibilities—and some of the most common ones. If you've exhausted your options and none of the above apply, and your patient still has a mystery credit, our support team can certainly help to investigate. Just reach out to us using the chat button in the lower-right corner! 💬

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