Don’t get left off the electoral roll! Why it matters to your finances
800, 000 people slipped off the register when the law changed last year, and young people are most affected
Last year, the government changed the law so that each of us has to register to vote individually rather than one household member being able to register everyone. This change has resulted in 800,000 people slipping off the register.
The government says that the change to individual electoral registration (IER) is a vital step to tackle electoral fraud, but the change has affected many young people and those in shared housing, who may not have previously been responsible for registering themselves.
For anyone who has been struck off the register, the consequences could extend beyond losing your right to a vote in the next election. Not being on the electoral roll can affect your credit score, because credit rating agencies use the electoral register to establish who you are and where you live. If your score is negatively affected, it could mean that you don’t get the best possible deals on financial products.
Luckily, this is very simple to fix. You can sign up to the electoral roll online in around five minutes or, if you prefer, you can also register by post.
How to get on the electoral roll
In order to register for the electoral roll you need to be living in England, Wales or Scotland and over 18 years old. Voters in Northern Ireland must register by post with their local electoral office. If you live in England, Scotland or Wales, you can register online at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote.
The process could hardly be simpler. The only documentation you need is your National Insurance number, which you can find on a payslip or your National Insurance card.
After filling out a simple form, the government website will then send your application to your local electoral office, who will let you know when you are signed up. Signing onto the electoral register is one of the easiest and fastest ways to boost your credit score.
If you’re at university, it might be a good idea to register for the electoral roll at your parents’ address, especially if you think you’ll be moving to a new house each year. It’s best to have a fixed, stable address that is the same as your banking address to boost your score. Once you’ve finished university, you can move your banking accounts and your electoral roll information to your new (and more permanent!) address.