YOUNG VOICES

If You're 18 - 24 And Aren't Registered To Vote, You're Harming Your Credit Rating

10/04/2015 15:55 BST | Updated 10/04/2015 16:59 BST
LEON NEAL via Getty Images
A young voter leaves a polling station after casting her vote in Edinburgh, Scotland, on September 18, 2014, during a referendum on Scotland's independence. Scotland began voting Thursday on whether to become independent, in a referendum that could break up the centuries-old United Kingdom and create Europe's newest country since the collapse of Yugoslavia. AFP PHOTO / LEON NEAL (Photo credit should read LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images)

A lot has been said about the importance of getting young people to vote for the sake of the country, but here's another very good reason: it harms your credit rating.

One in four young people do not realise they risk harming their ability to get a loan or credit if they are not registered to vote, research suggests.

Some 25% of 18 to 24-year-olds did not know that not being on the electoral roll can impact on their credit rating - which in turn could affect their ability to buy a house, or secure a phone contract or a bank loan, according to the findings from uSwitch.com.

The comparison website warned that not being on the electoral register can have far-reaching consequences for young people's finances because lenders use it as one of the main ways to check the names and addresses of people applying for credit. Doing this helps to combat fraudulent applications.

Not registering to vote or being registered at a previous address can lead to people's applications for credit being rejected. On top of finding it hard to get a loan, not being registered properly can also make it hard to access other financial products such as insurance or a savings account.

Some 26% of people surveyed wrongly believed that someone's Facebook profile can be a key contributor to their credit report, according to the uSwitch survey.

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David Mann, a money expert at uSwitch.com, said: "A poor credit rating can be the final nail in the coffin for young people who are already facing challenging conditions."

uSwitch has launched a campaign called It's My Report, which calls for a change in the way that consumer credit reports are created and shared in the UK.

It wants to see everyone getting free access to their full credit reports once a year, which it said would allow them to correct any errors as well as giving a better understanding of how the factors affect their credit rating.

The website said lenders should give a specific reason for rejecting someone because of their credit report and that credit scoring should be standardised between credit agencies.

More than 2,000 people aged between 18 and 24 years old took part in the survey.

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