Debt Repayment Schemes vs Personal Loans: Rates & Requirements

There are a myriad of choices to manage your debt here in Singapore and personal loans is considered the more commonly heard of option which many of us have considered before or are already taking on one. However, when you run into a situation when you may not be able to take on a personal loan, there are other options like debt repayment schemes that may help get you out of a financial rut.

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Key Differences Between Debt Repayment Schemes and Personal Loans

Most personal loans and debt repayment schemes are advertised to give you quick cash, but how do you differentiate between the two, and which one is more suitable for your situation?


Here’s a quick look at the key differences between the two to help you make a better decision:



Comparison of Debt Repayment Schemes vs Personal Loans

Personal LoanDebt Repayment Schemes
Application optionsVia the preferred bank, agents or finance platformsCannot apply on your own, require the court to refer
Repayment and loan termsFixed monthly repayment amount for up to 7 yearsNegotiable monthly repayment amount for up to 5 years
Interest ratesFixed, between 3.7% to 4.5%Negotiable and tailored to the debtor’s financial capability
Processing feesOne-time origination fee, between 1% to 6%Fees consist of preliminary administration fee, review of suitability fee by the OA, DRP modification fee, annual administration fees, collection fee by the OA, distribution fee by the OA, which amount to a total of about $700 to $1,000 or more, depending on the need to modify a Debt Repayment Plan (DRP) that is part of the Debt Repayment Scheme.
Early repayment penaltyYesNone

Best Personal Loans in Singapore

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Standard Chartered CashOne

Interest Rate*
From 2.88%
Total Amount Payable
S$10,864
Processing Fee
S$0
Per Month
S$302

[HIGHEST CASHBACK | *LOWEST INTEREST RATE]
New-to-bank customers can receive attractive gifts worth up to S$6,337 (an Apple Watch Ultra 2 + S$5,100 cashback*), while existing customers can receive up to S$5,608 in cash rewards when you apply for a min loan of S$8,000 with a tenure of 3 to 5 years. T&Cs apply.

Valid until 25 Feb 2024

Standard Chartered's CashOne promises to deliver your "cash in 15 minutes" and you can borrow up to 4X your monthly income. This means you will enjoy instant approval, and will have to wait just 15 minutes for your funds to be credited into your preferred bank account.

Besides that, Standard Chartered disburses the funds to any existing bank account in Singapore, so you don’t have to worry about creating a new Standard Chartered account just for this personal loan application.

MoneySmart Exclusive
Faster Fulfilment
MoneySmart Exclusive
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UOB Personal Loan

Interest Rate*
From 2.88%
Total Amount Payable
S$10,864
Processing Fee
0%
Per Month
S$302

[FLASH DEAL | CASH BONUS]
Apply for a loan today and choose your reward: up to S$1,200 Cash via PayNow or an Apple Mac Mini, 512GB (worth S$1,156.85)!
 
But that's not all – Get up to S$400 Cash Bonus via PayNow and enjoy an extra treat with up to 2% cash rebate on your approved loan amountT&Cs apply.

Valid until 29 Feb 2024
UOB used to offer a lower interest rate and lower EIR than Standard Chartered bank, but have now increased it to 3.99% and 7.49% for the interest rate and EIR respectively. You’ll have to be an existing UOB credit card or UOB CashPlus account holder to qualify for it, if not, you’ll still be able to apply for this UOB loan, as long as you get a UOB credit card

or CashPlus along with it.
Interest Rate*
3.88%
Total Amount Payable
S$11,164
Processing Fee
S$100
Per Month
S$310
This loan requires you to own a DBS Cashline or credit card, and it offers interest rates as low as 2.88%, depending on your loan amount, and a processing fee of 1% (with an EIR at about 7.90%), making it one of the more affordable loans around.
Interest Rate*
From 3.6%
Total Amount Payable
S$11,080
Processing Fee
S$0
Per Month
S$308
HSBC offers one of the highest interest rates, at 4.0% with an EIR of 7.5%, and similar to many other bank’s loans, you do not have to pay for any processing fees. With some of the most competitive loan terms for personal loans at the moment, HSBC’s personal loan tenures range from 1 to 7 years, which is the longest tenure available in the market at the moment.

How Do I Qualify For A Debt Repayment Scheme?

If you’re nearing a pre-bankruptcy state in terms of your financial position and get rejected by banks for personal loans applications, this is when debt repayment schemes come into the picture.


A Debt Repayment Scheme (DRS) is considered a pre-bankruptcy scheme administered by the Official Assignee (OA) from the Ministry of Law’s Insolvency Office. With DRS, you may be able to avoid bankruptcy, along with its financial restrictions, and unlike bankruptcy, you will not have to abide by any travel restrictions, and still be able to have the choice of repaying your debts over a fixed period that is often about 5 years, and can maintain a regular savings account.

To qualify for a DRS, you’ll need to fulfil the following criteria:

To qualify for a DRS, you’ll need to fulfil the following criteria:

  • Total liabilities do not exceed $150,000; 
  • To be employed and earning a regular income; 
  • To not be bankrupt or placed on the DRS in the recent past 5 years; 
  • To not be subject to a court-based arrangement over the past 5 years
  • To not be a sole-proprietor or partner in any organisation

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Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I apply for a DRS?

You are not able to apply for a DRS as it is unlike a personal loan which you can sign up for. You can only be considered for the DRS if you file for a bankruptcy or if your creditors start bankruptcy proceedings against you.

Will I need to pay for any fees if I am eligible and considered for the DRS?

Yes. There are various fees that are payable including the Preliminary administration fee of $350, the OA’s review of DRS suitability fee of $250, the DRP Modification fee of $50, the Appeal fee of $100, Annual administration fees that range from $300 to $350, and more which you can find out on our DRS page.

What is the eligibility criteria for a DRS?

To be eligible for a DRS, your total unsecured debt needs to be up to S$100,000, you’ll have to be employed and earning a regular salary, and not be bankrupt or placed on the DRS in the recent past 5 years, or be subject to a court-based arrangement over the past 5 years, or be a sole-proprietor or partner in any organisation.

How do I get the best personal loan?

By comparing the best rates available, you’ll be able to find one that suits you the best. There is really no “best personal loan” as it depends on one’s financial situation; and it differs from person to person.

Currently, Standard Chartered, UOB, Citibank, and DBS are offering the more attractive interest rates and personal loan promotions in Singapore. To make a better decision, you can compare them based on loan repayment tenures, effective interest rates (EIR) and minimum annual income requirement with MoneySmart's comparison tool.