By Neil Stone, Experian UK social support team
Thinking of applying for credit in the near future? Then now is the time to make sure you are registered on the Electoral Roll!
Lenders will often use the electoral roll information on your credit report to help confirm your ID when you apply for credit. If you are not registered they may ask for further documents or even turn down an application completely.
So how long will it take after you have registered?
It will actually depend on the time of year. From December to August local authorities publish a monthly register, known as a rolling register.
We get the rolling registers each month and update the information on reports as quickly as we can.
However, from mid-August to December local authorities will start preparing the annual register, which is for every voter in the country. During this time they will stop publishing monthly registers.
The annual register is published at the beginning of (usually 1st) December, and we then start updating our records, which we aim to complete by January.
So if you register between August and November, your electoral information should show on your credit report by January the following year.
What is the difference between the full and open register?
When you register to vote you can choose to go on either the full register or the open (also known as edited) register, we receive both of these registers.
The Open Register is available to anyone who wants a copy and can be used for any purpose, including marketing, though you can choose to opt out of this when you register to vote.
The Full Register is only available for specific purposes, which includes credit checking. If you are on the Full or Open register lenders will see this information when you make an application for credit.
If you are on the Full Register, and a company searches for non-lending purposes, such as a tenancy check or employment check then they would not see your details.
What if you have no fixed or permanent address?
Those with no permanent address or fixed address (including house boats with no permanent berth) can still register on the electoral roll.
In these cases the elector is linked to an area rather than a specific address. Information on a credit report needs to be linked to a specific address, so if you register as no fixed abode the electoral roll information won’t appear on your report. However, you can still add a notice of correction to explain this to lenders.
What are other / anonymous electors?
Some people choose to be registered as ‘Other Electors’ (aka ‘Anonymous Elector’) on the electoral roll. This may be for security or safety reasons. ‘Other Electors’ won’t be shown as registered on the electoral roll on their credit report, as their address is not published.
This means that lenders will not be able to verify their identity through the electoral roll, so they may wish to provide evidence of their address to a lender when applying for credit.
A ‘certificate of anonymous registration’ which is issued by the local authority can be shown to a lender when making an application or they may want to add a notice of correction to their credit report to explain their situation.
If you aren’t sure if you are registered and want to make sure you have visit www.aboutyourvote.co.uk for more information.