Political indifference driving credit difficulties

Robyn Hall

April 7, 2015

As the 20th of April deadline looms for registration, many of Britain’s young people are still considering whether they will cast their vote in the upcoming elections.

But research from Experian reveals that one in three 18 to 24 year-olds are not currently registered, with analysis showing a 47% fall in the number of young people choosing to put their names on the register. A third (33%) of those who keep their names off the list do so because they do not want to participate in the political process.

As well as taking away their access to the ballot box, this political detachment could see millions of young people jeopardising their financial wellbeing.

Some 53% do not know that not being registered at their current address could negatively impact their credit rating; 59% are unaware that it could help protect them from fraud and identity theft; 62% do not know that it could hinder their access to online services and 24% do not see why they should register.

Julie Doleman, managing director, Experian Consumer, UK&I, said: “Even if you’re not planning to vote, we encourage everyone to register. Registering to vote before the 20th of April deadline will let you keep your options open in case your opinion changes before the 7th of May. As well as the obvious impact of taking away your access to the ballot box, not registering could also affect your ability to access a range of services.

“The electoral roll is often a factor in credit scores and a way for lenders to verify your identity. Even if you have managed credit well in the past, not being registered on the electoral roll could negatively impact how a lender views you – which is particularly important for young people who are trying to build up their credit file for the first time.”

Banks, financial institutions, government bodies and many online retailers use the electoral roll to help verify people’s identity. Registration is particularly important for young people hoping to access credit products, including mobile phone contracts, as they tend to have relatively little information on their credit report.

Electoral indifference appears not to be limited to the nation’s youngsters. One in three people (31%) claim that they do not vote and this is their main reason for not registering on the electoral roll.

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