By law, you must register on the electoral roll if you are asked to or if you meet the requirements, even if you aren’t planning to vote. 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.
The electoral roll is a list of everyone who is registered to vote in the UK. When you register, your name and address are added to the electoral roll at your local authority.
The electoral register is used for electoral purposes, such as making sure only eligible people can vote, and identifying where polling stations should be located.
But the electoral roll can offer other benefits too - so let's take a closer look at how you can benefit by getting on the electoral roll.
One of the main benefits of being on the electoral roll is that it can help improve your credit score. Credit reference agencies use the electoral register to confirm your identity and address, which helps them build up a more accurate picture of who you are. This in turn can help boost your credit score and make it easier for you to get approved for credit products.
If you apply for credit, lenders can easily verify your personal information if you're on the electoral roll. This can help speed up the application process, as lenders won't need to request additional proof of your identity or address.
Another benefit of being on the electoral roll is that it can help reduce the risk of fraud. This is because lenders can use the electoral register to check that the personal information you've provided is accurate and up to date.
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:
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 voter registration form.
If you are living in temporary housing such as student dormitories or military barracks, it is often better to register at a permanent address, such as your parents' home. This may help protect your identity from theft. Having only one address over a brief period of time can also help protect your credit rating, as lenders don't favour seeing multiple locations. You may register at any location and vote in any election, although you may only vote once.
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. Councils use Household Enquiry Forms to notify voters of any changes to their electoral details. The process usually begins in August and ends in November. Because the information is not updated during the annual canvass, your credit information should appear on your report from December 1 if you registered during this time.
You don’t have a regular UK address. Since they are unable to process your electoral data automatically if you provide only temporary contact details (rather than a permanent UK address), they can include this information on your credit report manually.
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're not yet registered, you can do so by filling out a simple form at your local electoral registration office. It's important to keep your contact information up-to-date with the electoral register office so that you can be correctly listed on the electoral roll. If you've moved house, you'll need to update.
A credit report with a note explaining why you cannot register to vote, along with documents proving where you live and how long you have lived there, may help speed up the processing of your applications for credit and services. However, you can still be denied services and credit.
It's important to keep your contact information up-to-date with the electoral register office so that you can be correctly listed on the electoral roll. If you've moved house, you'll need to update your address with the electoral register office so that you can continue to vote in elections.
You can also remove your name from the electoral roll if you wish, but keep in mind that if you're not on the electoral roll, you may find it harder to:
Get a mortgage
Get car insurance
Open a bank account
Rent a property
If you're not on the electoral roll, you could lose up to 100 points from your credit score. This can make it harder for you to get approved for credit products like loans and credit cards.
After you've registered, obtain a copy of your credit report to see how much your score has changed. That way, you may compare the difference in your score as a result of registering to that before. Green ticks indicate factors that improve your rating, while red ticks represent factors that reduce it. They don't, however, provide you with a specific number for every factor.