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Why it pays to be registered to vote

Why it pays to be registered to vote

Category: Credit cards

Updated: 20/04/2015
First Published: 20/04/2015

MONEYFACTS ARCHIVE
This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

The deadline of being able to register to vote in this year's general election is fast approaching. Midnight tonight is the cut-off point, and if you haven't registered, you'll be turned away at the polling stations next month. But, there's more to it than that – did you know that being registered can help your financial future as well as your political one?

Don't damage your credit score

The simple fact is this – if you're not on the electoral roll at your current address, you'll be refused credit. This is why it's so important to register to vote, from a financial standpoint at least, as it can have a dramatic impact on your credit rating.

Try to get that loan, credit card or mortgage without being registered and you'll fall at the first hurdle, because any identity and credit checks that your provider runs will fail. Unfortunately, this is something that few people are aware of: research from aqua credit cards found that just 3% of those surveyed think that they could be declined credit because they're not on the electoral roll, and of those aged 18 to 24, just 22% are signed up.

If you're declined credit once, it's an instant black mark on your credit report, and one that will be difficult to erase. It could have a direct impact on your credit rating and will mean it'll be difficult – or more expensive – to secure credit in the future, all because you're not registered.

"With the general election nearing, the number of people registering to vote is likely to increase," said a spokesperson for aqua, "yet few people realise that being signed up to the electoral roll has many benefits, and that from a personal finance point of view, it can help to improve their credit rating.

"Applications for access to credit are often declined simply because of failed identity checks due to simple errors. According to the Cost of Poor Rating report, having a lower rating can cost over £1,000 more in everyday products and services. Taking steps to boost your credit report can provide real long term benefits, and could save you thousands of pounds."

Make sure you're counted

Is it worth being declined credit simply because you're not on the electoral roll? Political concerns aside, it pays to be registered. If you've moved house recently you'll need to check that you're registered at your current address, and if you've never voted, it's time to apply.

It's too late to register by post if you want to vote in this year's election, but you can still head to your local council office until closing time today or can register online. The online method will take just a few minutes and will be accessible right up until midnight, so you've still got time to go about it. Of course, if you're not concerned about voting and you simply want to make sure you're on the electoral roll for credit reasons, you can register anytime you like, but why wait? The sooner you're registered the sooner you can benefit, and it could boost your credit rating in the process.

What next?

Find out how to improve your credit rating

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Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.

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