With the general election just months away, the leading names are jostling for position as they covet our votes.
But many of us won’t even be able to vote in it, unless we get on the electoral roll – and not doing so could also affect your credit rating.
Today (5th February) is National Voter Registration Day, a day that marks the anniversary of the Great Reform Act in 1832 which first introduced voter registration. The aim for this day is to get 250,000 more young people on to the electoral register, as young people are very much under-represented at present.
New Experian research has found that now one in three 18 to 24-year-olds are not registered on the Electoral Roll – with many unaware of the impact on everything from mortgages and identity protection to passport applications. Even if you have an excellent history of managing credit, not being registered on the Electoral Roll could, in some cases, lead to you being refused credit.
We’ve got five simple reasons why making yourself a potential voter could also help you with your credit rating:
- It’s important that your credit report includes your electoral roll details because lenders use this information to help confirm your name, address and residential history.
- Not being registered could therefore cause a delay when you apply for credit, while the lenders confirm your details some other way. With some lenders it can even hurt your credit score, and some applications may even be refused.
- Banks and building societies usually need to know that the information about you is up to date before they are willing to offer a mortgage, a loan or any other form of financial account. Maintaining your presence on the electoral roll is therefore particularly important.
- It’s also actually against the law not to register to vote! You could technically be fined up to £1,000 for not doing so.
- If you are living at a temporary address, it’s often better – if possible – to use your parents’ address for things like the electoral roll and as a base for your credit agreements. This might even be safer, in terms of the risk of identity fraud, especially if your temporary address has shared access. You can actually register to vote in more than one place as long as you only vote once in each election – just ensure that whenever you apply for credit, you give the lender all the information they need to locate and examine your full credit history, including your electoral roll details.
Once you’ve registered, it may take a little while for this information to appear on your credit report, as councils usually process updates to the electoral roll once a month and send the information to the credit reference agencies like Experian. These updates can also be suspended for a few months if a council does an ‘annual canvass’, where they carry out an audit of all households. If you register to vote for the first time or at a new address, your credit report should automatically be updated within around a month, but it is worth checking to make sure.
If you are unsure whether you are registered or not, or would like to register for the first time, you could visit the About My Vote website, type in your home postcode and complete your local authority’s form. You can register to vote, or update your name, address or other details on the electoral register at Gov.uk.