Filing for bankruptcy is no joke. Read on to know what it means to be bankrupt in Singapore and what happens after getting discharged from it.

Going Bankrupt

If your debt amounts to S$15,000 or more and you have no way of paying up, then you’re clearly at risk of filing for bankruptcy.

Applications for bankruptcy amounting to less than S$100,000 are often referred to the Insolvency Office by the court. They’ll look into your case to see if you qualify for the Debt Repayment Scheme (DRS).

People tagged as bankrupt are assigned with a trustee who will oversee the sale of your assets to pay your creditors. The trustee can be a private trustee in bankruptcy (PTIB), a public servant, or the Official Assignee (OA).    

Bankruptcy and Its Effects

When you’re bankrupt you’ll experience the following scenarios:

1)    Limited freedom

For one, you can’t leave the country without permission from your OA or the PTIB. You also can’t become the director of a company without approval from the Court, the OA, or the PTIB. The same goes for continuing to serve in a public office.

You also can’t sue any party, except for cases involving matrimonial proceedings or personal injury, without the approval of the PITB or the OA.

2)    Unfavorable credit history and loan terms

Being bankrupt leaves a bad mark in your credit history. It will be harder to get a credit card, a loan, or even a mortgage this way.

Default in debt payments is retained in your credit history for three years. Record of your bankruptcy also remains in your file for five years even after getting discharged. These records will make it very hard for you to borrow money for a long time.

3)    Change in lifestyle

You’ll be forced to drastically reduce your expenses, resulting in a sudden change in lifestyle. This may hurt your career and in your relationships.

Getting Cleared

Here are the things you have to understand when you go bankrupt:

–    First-timers are usually discharged from bankruptcy within 5 to 7 years; repeat bankrupts are discharged within 7 to 9 years.

–    Failure to pay the target contribution in full by the time you get discharged will result in your bankruptcy being recorded permanently on the public register. Those who pay in full will have their names retained for five years before it’s removed in the record.


Before you declare bankruptcy, exhaust all options available to repay your debts. Filing for bankruptcy leaves a bad mark on your record so consider it as a last resort only. As discussed, bankruptcy has a lot of adverse effects which can last for a long time. You’ll even have trouble borrowing money long after you’ve been discharged.

If you’re facing bankruptcy, immediately get in touch with the Credit Counselling Singapore (CCS) to see if you can qualify for the Debt Management Programme (DMP). is a financial directory with reviews on licensed money lender.