The electoral roll and its implications to your credit score

Representative Example

Total amount of credit £80, duration of the agreement 29 days, rate of interest 292% per annum (fixed), total amount payable (in one repayment) £98.56. Representative 1281.8% APR.

Being registered on the electoral roll is a quick and easy way to improve your credit rating and increase the likelihood of your acceptance for online loans, credit cards and longer-term debt solutions such as mortgages. One of the key reasons behind this is that electoral registration allows lenders to automatically verify the personal information of an applicant, which can further help to avoid fraudulent applications or activity.

This article seeks to explore the workings of the electoral roll and the implications it ultimately has on your credit score.

Man filling out survey

What is the electoral roll?

Also known as the electoral register, the electoral roll is a list of all registered voters in the UK that is compiled by and stored with the Electoral Commission. Basic personal information such as your full name, date of birth and both previous and current addresses is stored for the purpose of allocating ballot cards for use in voting in any local and national elections. This information is also available to be utilised in cases of emergency or criminal investigation.

This list is updated and released annually, with new entries and exclusions stored electronically. Copies of this register are made available to Credit Reference Agencies and many creditors in order to allow them to validate your personal information.

The 'open' or 'edited register' contains personal data for voters that have chosen not to 'opt out' of the voters list. The list is available for purchase by certain institutions with business or charitable interests, particularly for the monitoring of voting or polling patterns.

There are certain criteria that must be met before you can legally register to vote in the UK. This includes but is not limited to being a UK resident or a British citizen and not having certain convictions listed on your criminal record. If you are living overseas and working abroad, you can still register to vote as an overseas voter. Find out more information about voting and how to get on to the electoral roll by visiting the relevant governmental websites.

How does being on the electoral roll affect your credit score?

As previously mentioned, being on the electoral roll automatically informs creditors and lenders that you are a UK resident and provides them with a verified proof of address amongst other basic personal details. This also acts as a timesaver as creditors will not need to take additional measures to confirm or prove your identity, which could result in delays to your application. The electoral register therefore allows for creditors to streamline their application processes.

An equally important aspect of being registered on the electoral roll is that it also reduces the chance of identity related theft or fraudulent applications, which can impact your credit score overall. Having secure and validated personal information allows lenders to attain a certain degree of creditability when it comes to dealing with current and potential customers.

You should also try to ensure that your personal information, as registered on the electoral roll, is consistent across different Credit Reference Agencies as well as with your current creditors. Frequent address changes as well as any marital status changes should be flagged immediately.

What happens once you have been registered on the electoral roll?

Once you have registered yourself on the electoral roll, your local authority or council will relay your updated personal information to the appropriate Credit Reference Agencies. The timelines on this can vary but is usually within one month.

It is often recommended that if you tend to regularly move address, due to work commitments or otherwise, that you use your parents' address for the electoral roll to avoid any potential impact to your credit score.

Keeping your creditors and any Credit Reference Agencies informed of changes in your personal circumstances is critical to ensuring that your credit rating is not impacted negatively, and your registration to the electoral roll should not be treated any differently in this regard.

It is advisable to ensure that you are fully registered on the electoral roll prior to making any applications for credit for the reasons highlighted above. Being on the electoral roll doesn't just affect your ability to attain credit, it also has an impact on your ability to open a UK bank account, secure a mobile phone contract and even insurance applications for your car or home. This is quite typically an issue for the younger demographic of 18-24 year olds that are less likely to be registered to vote and therefore have greater difficulty in attaining credit.

For further information, please do consult with the appropriate local authorities.