How does registering to vote help improve my credit score?

A credit score is what banks, credit card companies and other lenders look at when deciding if they will let you borrow money, for how long and at what interest rate.

Lenders use electoral roll information to help confirm your name, address and where you have lived before.

This info usually has to be up to date before they are willing to offer a mortgage, a loan or any other form of financial account.

What is the electoral roll? 

It's a list of all the names and addresses of those registered to vote in public elections – such as local, mayoral and national – as well as for a referendum.

The chief aim is to ensure that only those eligible to cast a ballot paper get to do so. However, it is also used to fight crime (especially fraud), to call up individuals for jury service and to check credit applications. 

If I don't register will I miss out on that loan?

Maybe. Not being registered could cause a delay when you apply for credit, while the lenders confirm your details some other way.

With some lenders it can even hurt the credit score they give you, and some applications may even be turned down.

 

Can I use my parents' address?

If you move around a lot, yes. This might even be safer, in terms of the risk of identity fraud, especially if you share your temporary address with lots of other people.

 

I thought I was automatically registered to vote

In late 2015 the government made changes to the way in which you register to vote.

Previously, a family member or your university could do it for you. But now the Individual Electoral Registration (IER) has been introduced and it means you have to do it yourself.

Research found this led to hundreds of thousands of people dropping off the electoral register overnight.