Does Being on the Electoral Roll Help Your Credit Score?

Updated: December 20, 2023 Author:

Quick answer: Yes! Credit Reference Agencies have access to the full (unedited) Electoral Register. When you register to vote, your name, date of birth, address, and nationality are entered into the Electoral Roll. When you apply for finance, the details used in your application should match the records held by the Electoral Commission.

    What is the Electoral Roll 

    The Electoral Roll, or Electoral Register is the official register of everyone with a right to vote in elections. There are two versions of it. The full register and the edited register. The full register is what’s used for electoral purposes (voting in elections), and also by local government departments to identify things like council tax fraud, and by courts to call people up for jury duty.  The full version is also sold to credit reference agencies to prevent money laundering. 

    Why the Electoral Roll affects your credit score

    Because credit reference agencies (CRAs) have access to the full (unedited) electoral register. The details you provide to your local Electoral Registration Office (ERO) are the same details contained in your credit report. The primary purpose CRAs get access to the unfiltered data is to help prevent money laundering. They do that by checking the information that you give to financial institutions against the information contained on the Electoral Register. Mismatches cause concern and will require alternative ID verification methods, delaying finance applications. 

    When can you add your details to the Electoral Roll? 

    In Scotland and Wales, you can register to vote at 14 years old. You just can’t vote until you’re 16, and only then, it’s in local and National elections. Not General elections. In England, you can register to vote at 17 when you are going to turn 18 during the cycle of the electoral year. You need to be 18 on polling day to vote. Being registered to vote doesn’t mean that you need to vote, just that you have the right to vote. Having the right to vote verifies your status as a British, Irish, or qualifying Commonwealth Citizen with the right to work in the UK. You don’t need to be a British Citizen to get your details on the Electoral Roll. Individuals with Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK can be on the Electoral Register, just not permitted to vote in all elections. 

    Registering Two Addresses on the Electoral Roll

    For students with term-time addresses, you can register to vote twice. Once with your student accommodation address, and the other with your usual home address. To do this, there is a section on the voter registration form asking “Do you also live at a second address?” The two options to select from are “Yes, I spend time living at two addresses”, or “Yes, I’m a student with home and term-time addresses”. Use the latter to register twice as a student. If you only register once, subsequent credit applications may be declined if you apply for credit with an address that’s different from the one listed on the Electoral Register. Eligibility credit checks, or soft checks are done by lenders to verify your details are accurate. Failing this is failing an automated identity verification check, delaying applications. 

    When will my details be updated? 

    If you’ve noticed your credit report has outdated information, the logical question to ask is how long it takes to improve your credit score by updating your details. Each ERO updates records monthly, except for October and November. The milestone date is the 1st of December. That’s when the Electoral Commission publish the revised registration data collected from the annual canvas that’s run from July to September. From January to July, changes to your registration data are updated monthly. When the annual canvas is being run, it can take longer for data to be transferred to CRAs. Generally, it takes four to six weeks from registering to vote or changing your details with the ERO for the changes to be updated on your credit report. 

    How many points does being on the Electoral Roll boost your credit score by? 

    Each credit reference agency uses different formulations to calculate your credit score.  None of them list out the points awarded for individual components. Occasionally though, studies are released that reveal snippets of information that can be used to piece together how your credit score is influenced by certain factors. In a press release from Experian PLC revealing that more 18-year-olds are using social media than are registered to vote, their Senior Consumer Affairs Executive revealed that just by registering to vote, a typical Experian credit score can jump by around 50 points. To improve your credit score fast, get on the Electoral Roll by using the Register to Vote service, and keep your details up to date to maintain a higher credit rating.