What is a credit report?
A credit report details your personal credit history, including mortgages, credit cards, overdrafts, mobile phone contracts and even some utilities such as gas, electricity and water. Banks and financial institutions use them when deciding whether to give you credit.
If you’re over 18 and have ever taken out credit, it is likely a credit reference agency e.g Experian, Check My File and Equifax to name but a few, will hold a credit report on you.
Every credit reference agency will have a different credit report for you. It’s worth ensuring that you’ve them a full 6 years of address history , this will ensure that your Credit Report is accurate
Why is my Electoral Roll information on my credit report?
If you are on the Electoral Roll at your current address, this will have a positive impact on your Credit Score held by the various agencies.
This is because lenders have access to your Electoral Roll information, and they can use it to verify your address details if you apply for credit, making you easier to identify, and so more likely to get accepted. Please be aware that you need to be a British or other Commonwealth, Irish, or European citizen to join the Electoral Roll.
My Credit Report says that I am not on the Electoral Roll, but I am. What can I do about this?
If you live in the UK:
The Credit agencies are updated with your Electoral Roll information by your local council authority if you live within the United Kingdom. We receive updates every 6-8 weeks as standard. So there is no need to panic if you only applied 2-3 weeks previously.
If you live in the Channel Islands:
We are not updated automatically by your local authority. If you live in the Channel Islands and wish to have your Electoral Roll information added to your credit report you can request a formal letter for your local authority. After this has been received you should then send a copy of this letter to any of the credit agencies that you may have signed up to. Please include a cover letter stating your Customer Reference number. They will then process this and add your Electoral Roll information to your selected Credit Report.
If you live at an offshore armed forces location, you can find more information here: http://www.aboutmyvote.co.uk/register-to-vote/armed-forces
If you live in Northern Ireland, you can find more information here: http://www.aboutmyvote.co.uk/register-to-vote/register-to-vote-in-northern-ireland
If you live abroad, you can find more information here: http://www.aboutmyvote.co.uk/register-to-vote/british-citizens-living-abroad
I want to join the Electoral Roll or update my address – how do I do this?
Visit www.aboutmyvote.co.uk where you can find information on how to contact your council. Please be aware that it can take 6-8 weeks before the agencies are updated, and the change shows on your Credit Report.
My Electoral Roll information is incorrect
If you have checked that your update has been received and updated by your local authority, and it has been more than 6 weeks, please get in contact with your seleccted credit agency.
My Electoral Roll information is showing an address I do not recognise or have never lived at
If this is the case, you should immediately contact your agency as soon as possible, as this could be a sign of fraud or even identity theft.
Was I turned down for credit because my name isn’t on the Electoral Roll?
It is possible, but only the lender you applied to knows why your application was refused, so it is best to contact them to discuss your application. There may also be other ways that you can improve your credit report, which you can get help with through your Credit agency.
Getting the credit you want
- How can I improve my chances of getting accepted for credit?
There are a number of things you can do improve your chances of being accepted for credit. Here’s our top 5:
- Only apply for one credit account at a time.If a bank or financial institution sees that you have made a lot of credit applications in a short space of time they are likely to turn your application down because it looks like you are relying on credit to get by, and that you could struggle to pay them back.
- Check your Credit Report for quick changes you could make to improve your score, such as registering on the electoral roll or paying off one of your credit accounts.
- Check that your Credit Report is up to date and as accurate as possible. In particular, check your financial associations with other people, as if you are incorrectly associated with someone with a bad credit score it could make it harder for you to obtain credit.
- Consider which the best product is for you and your requirements. Loans, credit cards, balance transfers and overdraft extensions could all provide you with credit, and it may be that extending your overdraft is easier than getting a new credit card.
- Use a Credit Matching service. (CreditExpert and Moneysaving expert have these available on their websites) to find credit deals based on the information contained within your Credit Report. You are not guaranteed to be accepted for these deals, but you are less likely to be turned down.
If you want more help, tailored to how you can improve your credit report, and give yourself the best chance of getting accepted for the credit you apply for, you can get in touch with any of the UKs’ leading credit reporting agencies at any time and they are more than equipped to help you.
Before applying for credit you should check your Credit Report is accurate and up to date.
You should also look for small changes you can make to increase your credit score. You could use an online credit matching service to show you the best credit deals available for you, based on your Credit Report.
Only apply for one credit account at a time.
Applying for many in a short space of time will decrease the chance of your applications being successful. You cannot pay someone to improve your credit report or score, and should be very wary of anyone who claims to be able to do so.
If you’ve been turned down for credit then contact the bank or financial institution involved and ask them to explain why.