MatchedBets.com: My Review of This Matched Betting Advisory Service

MatchedBets.com – My Review Of This Matched Betting Advisory Service

I’ve talked about matched betting a few times on Pounds and Sense. Despite the name it’s not gambling but a genuine way of making a risk-free sideline income.

Matched betting involves (legally) taking advantage of bookmaker special offers. By this means you can generate a guaranteed profit for no risk, regardless of how the event/s you are betting on pan out.

You can read my post about how matched betting works here, and my post about why I believe matched betting is particularly suitable for older people here.

Although it’s not essential to subscribe to a matched betting advisory service, if you are new to betting in particular it is highly advisable. The service I used to recommend (and where I learned the basics of the method) is Profit Accumulator. More recently, however, a range of rival matched betting services have launched, and Profit Accumulator have arguably failed to keep up with the best of them.

Today I thought I would take a look at one of the newer kids on the block, MatchedBets.com. I was kindly given complimentary access to this service so I could see what they have to offer for myself. Here’s what I found…

First Impressions

The first thing you notice when you log in to the MatchedBets.com website is the bright – some would say garish – colour palette (see example below). Pastel blues, greens and pinks are particularly dominant. I can’t say I’m a huge fan of this myself. It’s readable enough, but makes it look like a site aimed at children. Personally I’d prefer to see something a bit more restrained and professional looking.

MatchedBetting.com colour scheme

The main navigation menu is at the top right of the screen (see below). If you hover the cursor over Offers or Tools, a sub-menu will appear. It’s all quite logical and intuitive. I’d like the menu to be a bit more prominent, and it goes askew on the Information Centre page, but those are minor criticisms.

Menu

As with all matched betting advisory services, the site is organized into a number of sections. The main ones are listed below:

  • Information Centre
  • Offers
  • Offer Calendar
  • Odds Matcher
  • Acca Backers
  • Horse Racing Matcher
  • Calculator
  • Support Forum

I’ll look at each of these in a bit more detail below.

Information Centre

This is the training area of MatchedBets.com. It is neatly and attractively set out. There are 43 articles in all, covering everything from basic principles of matched betting to how to take advantage of price boosts and acca insurance offers.

The articles consist mainly of text and screen captures, with videos also used in some cases. I found the articles clear and well written. While I am already familiar with the basics of matched betting, I found some of the articles (e.g. on how to remove the iesnare tracking software used by bookmakers from your computer) genuinely eye-opening.

Offers

This is divided into seven sub-sections, as follows:

  • New Customer Offers
  • Existing Customer Offers
  • Accumulator Offers
  • Free Bet Clubs
  • Enhanced Odds Offers
  • Casino Offers
  • Bingo Offers

These are all pretty self-explanatory. In New Customer Offers, for example, all such offers are listed in order of expected profit, the highest first (see below).

New Customer Offers

Clicking on Instructions takes you to detailed instructions on how to apply the offer. These generally include a short video plus written instructions. Again, I thought these were very clear, and I like the way the key points of each offer are set out in checklist form at the top of the page.

Offer Calendar

This is a great feature of MatchedBets.com, and one I definitely prefer to Profit Accumulator (where you have to find the relevant topic on the forum). Just by visiting the Offer Calendar page you can see all the day’s recommended offers, along with the expected profit and a link to full instructions for doing them.

Daily Offers Calendar

Odds Matcher

Of course, every matched betting service needs an odds matcher tool, which helps you find the best bets for matched betting offers. The one on MatchedBets.com is certainly bright and cheerful!

Odds Matcher

As you would expect, you can filter results according to sport, odds (minimum or maximum), start time, odds percentage, and so on.

One feature I particularly like is that odds are shown in real time, so you don’t have to keep refreshing the screen. This also avoids the situation that can occur using other odds matching software (e.g. on Profit Accumulator) where the information frequently lags behind, so you think you have found a great match only to discover it has already gone.

Acca Backers

As mentioned in this blog post a few months ago, accumulator offers are a particular favourite of mine. These are where you take advantage of bookmakers’ offers to refund your stake if one leg of your accumulator loses. This gives punters an in-built edge and means they should enjoy steady profits so long as they back and lay appropriately.

MatchedBets.com accumulator software offers four different ways to make money from accumulator offers: Lay Sequential, Lay at Start, Lay With Lock-In, and No Lay. All four methods are explained in the Information Centre, mentioned earlier. This is more advanced than other platforms’ accumulator tools, which typically only offer three options.

Acca Baxker

As you may have noticed, on MatchedBets.com by default you see all four types of offer listed according to their expected value (average profit generated). However, if you prefer one particular type of acca (e.g. Lay With Lock In, which I prefer personally) you can set the filter to show only this type.

Horse Racing Matcher

This is the latest addition to the suite of tools on offer at MatchedBets.com. It is provided for use with horse racing offers, e.g. your money back if your horse is second to the SP favourite. By careful backing and laying you can generate a good return when a refund is triggered and a small qualifying loss otherwise, hopefully producing steady profits overall.

The Horse Racing Matcher is still in Beta at the time of writing, but appears to be working well. As with the Odds Matcher and Acca Backers, the odds in this software tool automatically update when they fluctuate on betting exchange and bookmaker sites.

Calculator

This is another standard feature on matched betting service websites, but the one offered by MatchedBets.com is undeniably impressive. Although it looks simple at first sight (see below), it is actually a very powerful tool.

Calculator

As well as standard matched betting calculations for qualifying bets and free bets, you can use it to calculate bonus on win, bonus on loss, enhanced odds as free bets, and several more. Pretty much any bonus situation is therefore covered. You can also use the calculator to work out what to do in the event of incomplete lays, and if you want to overlay or underlay a bet.

Forum

Likewise, every matched betting service needs a forum, where members can ask questions, share offers and opportunities, or just discuss anything matched betting related (or otherwise).

The MatchedBets.com forum is neatly set out and works well. It isn’t as busy as some forums, as MatchedBets.com is still fairly new and building its membership. There is plenty of good content, though, and staff are usually around to assist as required.

Another thing I should mention is that MatchedBets.com has a bet tracker tool that tracks all your betting activity automatically. It keeps keeps track of profits and bet details and displays them in your account. This makes it easy to keep track of your bets and profits, and does away with the need to maintain your own spreadsheets (although personally I still like to do this!).

One final comment is that the site is fully mobile optimized – so if you like to bet on your smartphone, you should find using MatchedBets.com a pleasanter experience than with some rival services.

Pricing

Joining MatchedBets.com currently costs £14 a month or a best value £99 a year. That is cheaper than most other services, e.g. Profit Accumulator currently charge £17.99 a month or £150 a year. You can also sign up for a free trial, which includes access to three matched betting offers that should generate around £50 in net profits for you.

Closing Thoughts

Overall, I have been very impressed with MatchedBets.com. In my view it is a leading contender among matched betting advisory services, and I now prefer it to Profit Accumulator. Its main rival is probably Odds Monkey, another service of which I have heard good reports, although I haven’t yet had the opportunity to try it myself.

My only slight reservation about MatchedBets.com concerns the design and especially the colour scheme. Personally I would like to see this tweaked a bit so it looks less garish and more professional. That’s just my personal opinion, though.

If you are thinking of giving matched betting a go, or looking for an alternative platform once your existing advisory service subscription runs out, I strongly recommend checking out MatchedBets.com. They are adding new tools and features all the time, and joining now will ensure you have access to these at no extra cost.

As ever, if you have any queries about MatchedBets.com or matched betting generally, please do post them below.

Disclosure: This review includes tracked affiliate links. If you click through and sign up with the service in question, I will receive a commission for introducing you. This will not affect the service you receive in any way.



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My Top 12 posts of 2017

My Top Twelve Posts of 2017

As is customary for bloggers at this time of year, here are the top posts on Pounds and Sense in 2017, based on comments, page-views and social media shares. They are in no particular order. Obviously, I have excluded any posts that are no longer relevant.

I hope you will enjoy revisiting these posts, or seeing them for the first time if you are new to PAS. Don’t forget, you can always subscribe using the box on the right to be notified of new posts as soon as they appear.

1. Who Wants to make a Shedload of Money? How to Win Big as a TV Show Contestant

2. Lights, Camera, Profit! How to Make Money Offering Your Home as a TV or Film Location

3. Nutmeg review: My Experience With This Robo-Adviser Investment Platform

4. How I won £614.53 on the Free Postcode Lottery!

5. Earn a Sideline Income as a TV or Movie Extra

6. Primestox – An Unusual Way to Make Money Investing in Food

7. Matched Betting: How to Profit from Acca Insurance

8. Matched Betting: Get a Risk-Free Bet or Guaranteed Profit with Football Index

9. How to Save Money on Days Out With Your Grandchildren (Guest Post)

10. How to Check What Your State Pension Will Be

11. How to Invest for Income from High Yield Share dividends (Guest Post)

12. Earn a Sideline Income as a Viewing Agent with Viewber

A quick mention too for my other blog Entrepreneur Writer. If you are interested in writing I hope you will check this out if you haven’t already. I look forward to publishing plenty more posts on both blogs in 2018.

If you have any comments or questions, of course, please do feel free to leave them below.




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Happy Christmas 2017!

Happy Christmas 2017!

Just wanted to take this opportunity to wish all my readers a happy and peaceful Christmas, and a fulfilling and prosperous new year.

Pounds and Sense was launched in December 2016, so it has been going for a year now. Thank you to everyone who has visited the blog during this time, and especially to all those people who have commented on my posts and/or signed up to be notified of new ones. You can do that by entering your name and email address in the ‘Subscribe’ box on the right (hint, hint!).

I hope you have found at least some of my posts of value, and they have helped you to save money and make money in these financially uncertain times. If you have any comments or suggestions for topics I ought to cover in the coming months, please do leave a comment below or contact me directly. The same applies if you would like to guest post on the blog or work with me on sponsored posts or promotions.

I’ll be back with more advice, tips and information soon, but for now I hope you have a wonderful festive season. I’ll leave you with this charming ‘Christmas Eve’ video featuring the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Enjoy!

 

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Nutmeg Review: My Experiences with this Robo-Adviser Investment Platform

Nutmeg Review: My Experiences with this Robo-Adviser Investment Platform

In April 2016 I invested some money with the Nutmeg investment platform. It turned out to be one of my better investments, so today I thought I’d say a bit more about it.

What Is Nutmeg?

Nutmeg is a low-cost online investment platform. It is aimed at people who want to invest in stocks and shares to take advantage of the potentially better returns, but don’t want the hassle of researching every investment themselves.

With Nutmeg you simply choose the type of account you want and say how much risk you are comfortable with and how long you want to invest your money for. You can deposit a lump sum and/or set up monthly payments. Nutmeg then invests your money in a range of Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs).

For those who don’t know, ETFs are a package of shares from a particular section of the stock market. For example, an ‘Asia Pacific ETF’ is a collection of shares from the Asia-Pacific region. ETFs are different to most investment funds in that they don’t usually have a manager running them. Instead, most ETFs are run by computers that regularly balance their portfolios automatically. This helps keep costs low, while still producing respectable returns in most cases. You can learn more about ETFs here if you wish.

Nutmeg currently has four different types of investment product on offer. They are as follows:

ISA (individual Savings Account) – These accounts have to be funded from your after-tax income, but they grow tax-free and withdrawals are also free of tax. Everyone has a maximum annual ISA allowance, which is currently a generous £20,000.

SIPP (Self Invested Personal Pension) – A SIPP has the big attraction that you get tax relief on your contributions, so the government effectively tops up every contribution you make. On the downside, you can’t withdraw money from a SIPP until you are at least 55, and only a quarter of the money you withdraw is tax-free, with the balance counting towards your total taxable income.

Lifetime ISA – A Lifetime ISA, sometimes called a LISA for short, is a new tax-efficient saving vehicle launched this year. You can use a LISA for one of two specific purposes – buying your first home or saving for retirement. You have to be under 40 to open a Lifetime ISA. The government will then top up any contributions you make with an extra 25%.

General Account – This is for when you have used up all your other tax-free savings allowances. You can use this for whatever you like, but there are no tax benefits or top-ups.

My Own Experience

I invested £6,188 in a Nutmeg ISA in April 2016. If you’re wondering why it was such an odd sum, I put in £6,000 from my savings. The other £188 came from another small ISA account I thought I might as well transfer at the same time.

Since then, despite the challenging economic environment, my investment has grown by £1,832 to £8,020. That’s a 22.85% increase in a year and eight months. Needless to say, I wish I had put in a bit more money now! Here’s a chart showing how my investment has grown.

Nutmeg performance chart

As you will see, I accepted a high risk level with this account, which may partly explain the performance achieved.

As you will also note, Nutmeg charge a fee of 0.75% a year on investments of up to £100,000, and 0.35% on investments beyond that. That’s competitive compared with traditional mutual funds, although you can find cheaper investment opportunities and platforms if you look around. You may or may not get such good overall results, of course.

A reader asked if Nutmeg reveal what ETFs your money is invested in. The answer is that they do. In case you are interested, here is a screen capture from the website showing how my money is currently invested…

Nutmeg ETFs

I am obviously a fan of Nutmeg and intend to use their service again in future. Of course, I am not a qualified financial adviser and everyone should do their own research (and/or take professional advice) before deciding to invest with Nutmeg. Based on my own experiences, though, I am happy to recommend them. They provide a simple, easy to understand investment platform, the customer service is excellent, and certainly in my case the results to date have exceeded my expectations.

Special Promotion

If you are considering investing with Nutmeg, you might like to know that until January 5 2018, they are running a special promotion where if you join and invest at least £500 and commit to investing a further £100 a month, you will get £50 worth of John Lewis vouchers as a bonus. Alternatively, you can make a single investment of £5000 or more to qualify for the vouchers.

If you are interested in taking advantage of this offer, please contact me using my blog contact form and let me know your full name and email address. I will then arrange for Nutmeg to email you with full details. Obviously there is no obligation to proceed further if you decide against.

Disclosure: As stated above, I am a Nutmeg account holder myself. If you decide to take advantage of the promotion above, I will also receive a £50 John Lewis voucher as recompense for introducing you. This will not have any effect on the terms you are offered or the performance of your investment.

If you have any comments or questions about this post or Nutmeg in general, please do leave them below.




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Earn a Sideline Income with People for Research

Earn a Sideline Income with People for Research

If you’ve spent any time at all looking online for sideline-earning opportunities, chances are you’ll have come across survey sites.

Unfortunately, you may also have discovered that many are a waste of time. So-called short surveys can end up taking over half an hour and pay the princely sum of 20p. No wonder many people get disillusioned and decide they aren’t worth the time and effort.

Well, here’s one website that definitely is. People for Research is constantly recruiting people to take part in consumer research studies. Some of these take place in large cities (London and Bristol especially) but many others are done remotely via the phone and/or the internet.

The studies cover a huge range of topics and are for the most part interesting and enjoyable. But the best thing is that they are fairly (and sometimes generously) recompensed – usually in cash, though sometimes in Amazon vouchers.

An Example

Here’s a study I took part in myself just a few weeks ago. All I knew beforehand was that it was something to do with ‘culture’. I had to complete a few screening questions and obviously passed, as I was emailed an invitation to take part.

The study was done remotely over the internet. I had to download a special meetings app called Zoom to my smartphone.

At the appointed hour I made contact with the researcher. Using the app he took me to a cinema website, and I had to perform various tasks on it, including checking the cinema’s location and finding out what films were currently showing. Then I had to book tickets (not giving my actual credit card details, obviously).

The researcher asked me to talk through what I was doing. He could see via the app how I was navigating the site and any problems I was having. All of this will presumably be fed back to the client in the interest of making their website as user-friendly as possible.

The study was fun to do and took about 30 minutes. Afterwards I sent my bank details as instructed and received my £30 fee literally the day after. That’s a rate of £60 an hour, which is more than I get for most of my freelance work!

Longer Studies

As mentioned, the studies vary widely, and sometimes involve participating over a period of several days or longer, e.g. keeping a written and/or video diary. A recent example was a study on cheese. On the website it said:

‘For this study, you will be required to make a 5-minute video each day for the duration of the study (5 days total). In this video, you will first need to state what meal you are going to make and how you are using the cheese. We’ll also want to know what other cheese brand you are replacing this one with, if applicable! After the meal, you will review it and state how it tasted, whether your family enjoyed it and any other comments you would like to add.’

For this interesting and enjoyable task, which was open UK-wide, a fee of £110 was on offer. The study in question is now closed, but new ones are being launched all the time, so it’s worth checking back regularly.

Even if there is nothing you currently want to apply for, it’s still worth taking a few moments to register on the People for Research website. You will then be notified by email when new opportunities are posted.

Top Tips

Finally, here are a few more tips on making the most of People for Research, based on my experiences with them.

  • Don’t expect to be accepted for every study you apply for. There are generally screening questions to answer and only people who match the profile required are invited to take part. There are plenty of new studies coming along all the time, so don’t be disappointed if you aren’t accepted for some of them.
  • Not all studies are advertised by email, so it’s important to return regularly to the website to see if anything new has been posted.
  • Some shorter studies offer prize draw entries instead of guaranteed payments. It’s your choice whether to enter these. Personally I do them if they sound interesting and I have the time, but not otherwise.

I have made several hundred pounds from People for Research since joining their panel earlier this year, and have found the people who work there a pleasure to deal with as well.

In my view, People for Research deserves a place in everyone’s sideline money-making portfolio!




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Ten Great Blogs for Over Fifties You Should Follow!

Ten Great Blogs for Over Fifties You Should Follow!

Today, in the seasonal spirit of sharing, I thought I’d list some other great blogs you might like to follow.

All these blogs are written by over-fifties and/or aimed at them. They aren’t all dedicated personal finance blogs, but they all include tips and advice on saving money, and in some cases making money and investing too. All ten are UK-based.

Here’s the list then…

1. Fifty Five and Counting

This is a personal finance blog by Susan Wilson. It is focused on preparing for retirement, and covers topics from solo travel to taking up a new hobby. Sample Post: Unleashing Your Inner Drama Queen.

2. Debt Camel

Debt Camel is a blog by Sara Williams. Sara says: “Debt, including mortgages, is an important issue for the over 50s. The low level of pay rises and cuts to benefits have left many people in a much worse position than they would have expected ten years ago… and they have less time to improve it before retirement.” Sample Post: IVAs – Pros, Cons and Problems.

3. Your Money Sorted

Your Money Sorted is a blog by financial coach Eileen Adamson. Eileen says: “As we get older retirement is something that begins to prey on the minds of many. Don’t ignore those nagging fears though – take action. Find out exactly how much you are likely to need in retirement, as well as how much you are predicted to get on retirement. Then take actions to help you to ensure that you are prepared effectively. The sooner you deal with it, the easier it will be.” Sample Post: Big Savings – Brilliant Tricks with Zeek Discounted Gift Cards.

4. Stupid is the Norm

Stupid is the Norm is a blog by 56-year-old Perry Wilson. Perry reveals on his website, YouTube and Facebook how he is building a fund of £300,000 in 10 years as well as repaying £10k of debt. He says it’s never too late to become wealthy! Sample Post: What Are the Odds of Becoming a Millionaire?

5. Much More With Less

Much More With Less is a blog by Faith Archer aimed at anyone hoping to escape from the rat race. She says, “I blog about moving to the country, living on less and making the most of it. I cover both cutting costs and earning more from investments and pensions, so I can afford to retire.” Sample Post: Investing Isn’t Just for Men in Braces.

6. The Complaining Cow

The Complaining Cow is a blog by Helen Dewdney. It covers consumer rights and how to use them, so you don’t get fobbed off. Sample Post: Think Before You Sign – Top 10 Tips for Saving on Subscriptions.

7. Thrifty Lesley

Thrifty Lesley is a food-focused blog by Lesley Negus. It includes meal plans to help readers feed themselves for £1 a day. Sample post: 8 Sandwich Pastes for Super Cheap Sandwiches and Toast Toppers.

8. Joleisa

Joleisa.com is a blog run by 50-year-old twins Jo and Leisa, who are both teachers who have given up the rat race to live a more fulfilled, happy and stress-reducing lifestyle. Their blog features frugal lifestyle and money-saving tips. Sample Post: Don’t Order Takeaway, Make it!

9. Shoestring Cottage

Shoestring Cottage (great name!) is a blog by Jane Berry. She says, “Shoestring Cottage helps you to save money for the things you love to do, covering everything connected to living a fun but frugal life.” Sample Post: How to Make Money Selling on eBay.

10. Money Saving Journeys

Money Saving Journeys is a blog by Kerry Marriott covering making money, saving money, busting debt, and more. Sample Post: The Beginner’s Guide to Frugality and Freedom Debt Relief.

So there you are – ten great blogs to check out and add to your favourites list! If you have any comments or questions, of course, please do leave them below.




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