Get your name on the Electoral Roll

Itís been a busy year for voting, with the General Election a year ago, and AV referendum and local elections all over the country. But did you get your polling card?

The Electoral Roll provides counts of the number of people registered to vote – but the number of people eligible to vote is not the same as the resident population aged 18 and over.

This is mainly for two reasons ñ one is because there is a significant number of residents not entitled to vote (for example non-EU citizens, prisoners), but the other is a proportion of individuals who have not actually registered to vote, despite being eligible.

Not registering to vote, as well as being against the law (you can be fined up to £1,000 for not doing so), could also be harmful to your credit rating.

In the UK credit reference agencies like Experian include electoral roll information on credit reports to help banks and lenders check your name and address when you apply for credit.

As a result, if youíre not registered your credit rating may suffer and any credit applications you make may be delayed while the lenders confirm your details some other way. Some applications may even be refused.

Banks and building societies usually need to know that the information about you is up to date before they are willing to offer a financial account. Maintaining your presence on the electoral roll is therefore particularly important.

If you are unsure whether you are registered or not, or would like to register for the first time, you could visit www.aboutmyvote.co.uk, type in your home postcode and complete your local authorityís form.

Once you have received confirmation, your credit report should automatically be updated within around a month, but it is worth checking to make sure. Itís free to see your Experian credit report with a 30-day trial of CreditExpert and you can order your Experian Credit Score while youíre at it.

Your credit report lists your credit accounts, such as loans, cards and interest free deals, along with your repayment history. If anything looks wrong, you can put it right by taking it up with the relevant lender.

If you are not a UK or EU citizen, all is not lost ñ if you add a short note to your credit report to explain why you are not registered to vote, and offer other evidence of name and address, then any credit application you make would be referred to an underwriter, who will read and take account of your note. It is likely to help your cause if you also have a good credit history.

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