Use ChatGPT to standardize and categorize bank and credit card descriptions

ChatGPT can help you by standardizing and categorizing bank and credit card descriptions.


  • Copy and paste your bank or credit card transactions description column into a new spreadsheet.
  • Upload your newly created spreadsheet with one column of descriptions into ChatGPT.
  • Create a prompt:

“Analyze the uploaded file and add two new columns to it. One column that standardizes the description so that similar descriptions all have the same description, and a second column that categorizes the description to match your reporting needs. Instead of just putting other or miscellaneous when you can’t identify the description, do your best to extract the appropriate value from the description to use in the standardized description, but ensure that all similar descriptions have the same standardized description. Do web searches where you are not sure too.”

  • Download the updated file from ChatGPT. Take a look at the results and do any finetuning to get it to be better.
  • After you have a final result you can use lookups in Excel or Google Sheets to get the standardized and categorized columns into your spreadsheet.

You could also include additional information to help ChatGPT:

  • Provide examples of what you want eg:

UBER *TRIP => Category: Uber, Type: Ridshare Transportation
UBER *TRIP => Category: Uber, Type: Ridshare Transportation

AMTRAK .CO1870616516360 => Amtrak, Type: Train Transportation
AMTRAK .CO1860733553529 => Amtrak, Type: Train Transportation

MCDONALD’S #8975 C_5814 => McDonalds, Type: Dining Out Fast Food
MCDONALD’S (BGV) => McDonalds, Type: Dining Out Fast Food

  • You could also paste in a list of categories and ask it to choose from that list.

ChatGPT 3.5 should be useful but ChatGPT 4 will be better.

It might not be perfect but works surprisingly well! It will certainly save a lot of data entry work.

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