Lenders love stability. Living in the same house. Staying in the same job. Only applying for credit occassionally…
The electoral roll is an indicator of stability
The electoral roll is also known as the electoral register. It lists the names, addresses and dates of birth of everyone who’s registered to vote.
There are two versions of the electoral register. The full version and the open register. In Northern Ireland the ‘open register’ is called the edited register.
Anyone can buy a copy of the open register. It is often used for marketing purposes.
You can opt out of the open register. Consequently, you’ll only be in the full version.
The full version can only be used for:
- Electoral purposes (for example, sending out polling cards before elections)
- Campaigning activities (for example, political parties sending information to voters)
- Preventing and detecting crime
- Checking applications for credit
- Jury summoning in England, Wales and Northern Ireland
Annual and rolling voter rolls
The electoral roll is updated on an annual or rolling basis.
Where the register is annual, data is uploaded by local councils only once every 12 months.
You can register on the electoral roll, for example, in September, but not appear on a Credit Reference Agency (CRA) record until months later. Equally you could show as being on the electoral roll, even if you moved from the address where you registered. This is because it takes time for the annual register to ‘catch up’ with your new address.
Where the register is rolling, data is uploaded more frequently – often monthly. Because of this, there’s no ‘catching up’ to be done. Lenders give more weight to this kind of information, compared to the annual register – as it is more accurate. Whilst most councils still only update the register once per year, fortunately (because voter registration is now ‘rolling’) more and more councils are updating their records on a monthly basis.
When applying for a loan, why is it important to be registered to vote?
One of the first things a lender will check is if you’re on the electoral roll.
Lenders may automatically refuse you credit if you’re not registered to vote. This is because they want to see proof that you are living at your declared address. It helps prevent fraud. CRAs check the details on the register and compare them with the information you provided on your application.
Being on the electoral roll helps prove your identity. As a result, there’s less need to show paper documents like passports and driving licences to open new accounts.
Additionally, you’ll have easier access to insurance and legal services if you register. Furthermore, it speeds up getting a passport and claiming benefits.
You must register to vote if you’re asked to do so. If you’re asked to register and do not, you could be fined. This does not mean you have to vote. Just register to do so.
Bottom-line: Registering to vote improves your credit score.