With the General Election 2017 just round the corner, you’ve probably thought about registering to vote. You might not have interest in politics though, so you might just be thinking that you won’t bother.

But is it worth voting to improve your credit rating? Will this have an effect on your ability to borrow?

Actually, no – voting can’t improve your credit rating. But this is a myth based in reality as registering to vote can boost your credit.

We’ll take you through why this is and how you can go about improving your credit rating after you’ve been in debt.

The electoral roll and your credit rating

When you register to vote, this puts your details on the electoral roll. This is just a list of everyone in the UK who’s eligible to vote in elections.

But it’s not just for voting – lenders can also use the electoral roll in their fraud checks. When you apply to borrow from a lender, they can look at your name and address on the electoral roll. This is so they can see if you are who you say you are.

If you register to vote, this will make their fraud checks easier. But if you’re not on the electoral roll, you could fail the lender’s checks. This could see them rejecting you for credit regardless of how you’ve actually managed borrowing in the past.

If you’ve had debt troubles and are starting to get back on your feet financially, make sure you register to vote if you’ve not already. You don’t have to actually vote in any upcoming elections but this will ensure you’re on the electoral roll.

Improve your credit rating after debt

Even if you don’t want to borrow again in the future, improving your credit rating is a good idea for other reasons. When you apply for services like a mobile phone contract or paying insurance monthly, there can be a credit check for this. So you might have to get a pay-as-you-go mobile if you’ve got bad credit.

Here are a few ways you can start getting your credit rating back under control.

  • Check your reports. There are three credit reference agencies in the UK: Experian, Equifax and Callcredit. Check your credit report with all three as they can hold different information on you. You don’t need to pay for your credit report either – all three credit reference agencies have free services. Experian has CreditMatcher, Equifax has ClearScore and you can get your Callcredit report from Noddle.
  • Look out for mistakes. When you check your credit report, see if there’s anything wrong, like a default you didn’t get. If there is, get in touch with the credit reference agency and the company who holds the relevant account. They should be able to update your record.
  • Explain yourself. Seeing some defaults or CCJs but don’t think they tell the full story? You can add a Notice of Correction to your credit report. This is a note of up to 200 words to give context to anything on your report. You can find out how to do this on the Experian, Equifax and Callcredit websites.
  • Wait it out. After six years, any defaults or other problems will drop off your credit report. So if that’s soon, it’s probably better to wait before you apply for credit again.