A surge in young people voting is said to have been behind the rebound in the Labour Party’s fortunes at the General Election on June 8. Despite the Conservatives enjoying their highest share of the vote since John Major was re-elected as Prime Minister in 1992, Labour also saw a surge in support which saw the party win 262 seats in the House of Commons on a 40 per cent share of the vote.
Figures released shortly before the deadline for registered to vote passed in May showed that there had been an enormous surge in the number of young putting themselves on the electoral roll. In the final month before the election, almost 1.2 million people between the ages of 18 to 35 registered with more than half of those being below the age of 24.
Why registering to vote is good for your credit record
If you are a young person, then it’s likely that you don’t have a long record of borrowing and repaying money. This record – your credit record – is held by the main credit reference agencies and used by lenders to assess whether somebody who applies to borrow money represents a reasonable risk. If your credit rating is poor or non-existent, then it is less likely that you will be approved for a loan or credit card when you apply.
Many young people have problems with their credit rating. For some, this may be as a result of some irresponsible borrowing in the past. But more likely for anybody under the age of 24 is that they are not on the electoral roll or have never borrowed money before.
When you register to vote, you are automatically put on the electoral roll in your local authority area. This is a list of every elector in the country broken down by address. Although the list is public, when you register you can opt not to appear on the electronic version and so won’t appear when somebody does a search online. However, you will still appear on the versions of the electoral rolls which are seen by the credit reference agencies.
Lenders use your electoral roll details to confirm your name, address and where you’ve lived before. It’s important that this information is up to date if you are looking to take out a mortgage, a loan or any other form of credit.
What if you are not on the electoral roll?
If you are not registered, then there could either be a delay when you apply for credit as lenders try to find other ways of confirming your details or you may simply be declined. Either way, not being on the electoral roll and registered to vote will almost certainly damage your credit score.
What if I’m always moving or I’m a student?
If you are living away from home – perhaps at university or college – or if you are in a job which means that you have to move regularly, you might like to consider using your parents’ address to be registered to vote and therefore as the base for your financial arrangements.
For some – particularly students – this might actually be a safer option because it will reduce the risk of identity fraud, particularly in cases where a temporary address is shared with other people.
How long will it take once I’m registered?
Once you have registered to vote, this information will not appear immediately on your credit file. Local authorities usually process updates to their local electoral rolls each month. Once updated, they then send this information on to the credit reference agencies. In some cases, councils carry out things called annual canvasses where they survey every household in their area. When this happens, then this can result in a delay in new information being sent to a credit reference agency.
However, in most cases, if you do register to vote for the first time or at a new address, your credit record should be updated within one month. Check with your local authority if you are in doubt.
How do I register?
You can register to vote, or update your name, address or other details on the electoral register https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote.
Video Guide to Improving Your Credit Rating
- What having a bad credit history means
- The difference between a soft and hard credit search
- A young person’s guide to borrowing money