The electoral roll and your credit score

By law, you must register on the electoral roll, even if you aren’t planning to vote. But getting on the register can benefit you as well – from helping protect your identity, to increasing your chances of getting credit. So, it’s worthwhile registering as soon as you can.

6 ways you can benefit by getting on the electoral roll

1. Registering to vote improves your credit score.

Your Experian Credit Score reflects your chances of getting approved by lenders, for things like a loan, mortgage or even a mobile phone contract. It’s based on information in your credit report. When you register to vote, your electoral details are recorded on your report. This data helps lenders confirm your name and address, so your score will increase as a result. You can check your score anytime with a free Experian account.

2. You can save time on credit applications.

If lenders can’t confirm your details via the electoral roll, they may ask for other forms of identity and proof of address. This can delay your application, so registering to vote can save you time in the long run.

3. It’s easier to access certain services.

Lenders aren’t the only organisations who use your electoral details to identify you. Registering to vote can also give you easier access to insurance, legal and accounting services, as well as some public services (such as getting a passport).

4. You can have your say.

The main purpose of registering is so you can vote in the local and general elections, giving you some influence over their outcome.

5. You’ll be more protected.

If you registered to vote at a previous address, it’s important to re-register at your new home. This can help you avoid identity theft and fraud.

6. You may find job applications easier.

Some employers – particularly those in the financial sector – will use the electoral roll to check your details when you apply for a job.

4 things to know before you register to vote

When it comes to your credit rating, getting on the electoral roll is usually an easy way to score points. However, there are several important things to know before you register to vote:

1. There are different ways to register

In England, Scotland and Wales, you can register to vote by post or online. Note that you’ll also receive a Household Enquiry Form from your local council, which checks if your voter registration records are up-to-date; you should get this in the post every year, between July and November. In Northern Ireland, you can register by returning a completed voting registration form.

2. Register at a permanent address if possible

If you’re living in temporary accommodation – like student halls or military barracks – it’s often better to register at a permanent address, such as your parents’ house. This can reduce the risk of identity theft. It can also help protect your credit score, since lenders typically don’t like to see multiple addresses over a short space of time. Note that you can register in more than one place, although you can only vote once in each election.

3. How, when and where you register matters

Once you’ve registered to vote, your electoral details should automatically appear on your credit report within 30 days. However, there are a few exceptions:

  • You registered to vote during the annual canvass. This is when councils contact you to confirm or update your voter details, via a Household Enquiry Form. It usually runs from August to November. If you registered during this time, your electoral details should appear on your report from 1 December. This is because local councils don’t update the electoral roll during the annual canvas, meaning credit reference agencies like Experian don’t receive the data.
  • You don’t have a regular UK address. If you can only provide temporary contact details (rather than a permanent UK address) when you register to vote, we won’t be able to process your electoral data automatically. However, we can add this information to your credit report manually, so feel free to get in touch.
  • You live in Guernsey. We’re unable to access electoral information about you if you live in Guernsey, so it won’t appear on your credit report automatically. However, we can usually update your report to show you’ve registered to vote. Simply get in touch and send us proof of your registration.

Check your credit report to make sure your electoral details have been added accurately. Consider getting a CreditExpert paid subscription if you want to see your report regularly, receive report alerts, get enhanced fraud support, and more.

4. Add a note if you’re not eligible to vote

To register to vote in the UK, you must be:

  • At least 18 years old on the day you vote
  • A British, Irish, or qualifying Commonwealth citizen
  • Living in the UK (or, if you’re a UK citizen living abroad, you must have registered to vote in the UK in the last 15 years)
  • Not legally excluded from voting (e.g. members of the House of Lords, convicted prisoners)

If you can’t register to vote, your applications for credit and services may take longer to process, and you could even be rejected. However, you can add a note to your report explaining why you can’t register to vote, and reassuring lenders that you have documents proving where you live and how long you’ve lived there. Feel free to get in touch if you’d like a note added to your Experian Credit Report.