In 2014 the process for electoral roll registration changed so that instead of one member of the household being able to register every adult at their address, each individual must register themselves. Despite the Government’s best efforts to raise awareness of the new individual electoral registration (IER), Equifax, the leading credit information provider, is reporting a rise in the number of consumers contacting the company as they discover that they are no longer registered to vote.
Being able to vote is the primary purpose for being on the electoral register. But it can affect so much more – from signing up for a mobile phone to buying a house. This is because electoral registration information shows on an individual’s credit report and is used by lenders to verify an applicant’s address.
Figures collated by Equifax show an overall, like-for-like decrease in elector volumes for 2016 of more than 600,000; there was a decrease of over 950,000 for 2015. Combined with the increase in consumer enquiries to Equifax about electoral registration, this suggests that many people don’t realise that they are no longer registered to vote.
“Many companies use the electoral roll information on an individual’s credit file for identity verification purposes”, explained Lisa Hardstaff, credit information expert at Equifax. “If an individual is registered to vote, it will appear on their credit report and can be indicative of a ‘good’ risk. We are, therefore, reminding consumers to check that they are on the electoral register at their current address, especially if they are planning to apply for credit in the near future, whether it’s a mobile phone contract or something bigger, such as a mortgage or loan.
“It’s easy to register online or by contacting your local authority. As well as being an important factor when planning to apply for new credit, being registered to vote also means they can have a say in the upcoming EU referendum.”
Residents of England, Wales and Scotland can check if they’re registered to vote by contacting their local Electoral Registration Officer - details can be found on Gov.uk. Residents of Northern Ireland should visit the Electoral Office for Northern Ireland website. Consumers can also check that they are registered at their current address on their Equifax Credit Report, as well as check other information that will be used by lenders when assessing credit applications.
The Equifax Credit Report is accessible for 30 days free simply by logging onto www.equifax.co.uk/Products/credit/credit-report. If customers do not cancel before the end of the 30 Day Free Trial, the service will continue at £9.95 per month, giving them unlimited online access to their credit information and weekly alerts on any changes to their credit file. It also includes an online dispute facility to help them correct any errors on their credit file simply and quickly.