9th April 2015
Political apathy amongst young Britons means that millions are missing out on a good credit rating.
Research from comparison site found uSwitch, a quarter of 18 to 34 year olds, at 25%, have no idea that not being on the electoral roll affects their ability to buy a house, secure a phone contract, or a bank loan.
The organisation found that according to the National Audit Office, almost six million 18 to 24 year olds are eligible to vote in this election. But, with only 11 days to go until the voter registration deadline on 20 April, recent research has discovered that half – up to 3 million – have not yet registered to vote.
The group has warned that this will have far-reaching consequences on young people’s finances because lenders use the electoral register as one of the main ways to verify names and addresses of applicants – ultimately impacting credit scores.
The uSwitch.com research also revealed widespread confusion amongst young Britons about how their credit reports affect their everyday choices. Over half, at 54% do not believe it impacts on their ability to secure a mobile phone contract and 23% do not realise it could hinder them buying a house.
Worryingly many believe age, marital status and Facebook profiles are key contributors to their credit report, when in fact they have no impact at all.
Recent changes to the electoral registration system has further compounded the problem for young people. According to the Electoral Commission, 920,000 young people have been wiped off the electoral roll, mainly due to parents and universities not being able to register them on their behalf.
The fact is, consumers can never have an ‘excellent’ credit score without being registered to vote, as lenders use this information to verify the names and addresses of applicants.
As a result, uSwitch has launched a campaign dubbed, ‘It’s My Report’, in a bid to drive a change in the way consumer credit reports are created and shared in the UK.
David Mann, money expert at uSwitch.com, says; “Political apathy is crippling young people’s future financial choices. A poor credit rating can be the final nail in the coffin for young people who are already facing challenging conditions, with youth unemployment at an all-time high and many trapped in ‘generation rent’.
“More needs to be done to educate people about the significance of credit reports and how they affect everyday choices. We have launched ‘It’s My Report’ to help young people to take charge of their financial CV and be able to not only better manage their money, but ensure they can secure their financial future.”