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Best Options For Managing Unsecured Debt

If you are having difficulty repaying your debts in Ireland, there are a number of options available to you should you require a solution to relieve your debt burden.

What is unsecured debt?

An unsecured debt is an obligation or debt that does not have specific property for example a car or a house, serving as security for the payment of debt. If you happen to fail in making a payment on an unsecured debt, the creditor cannot take any of your property without getting a court judgment and suing you first.


unsecured debt


What is the difference between secured and unsecured debt?

It is important for you to know if your debts are secured or not, as a Debt Settlement Arrangement only covers unsecured debts.


Secured debt examples

A secured debt is a loan that goods or property are available as collateral against non-payment. Car loans and mortgages are the most common secured loans.


Unsecured debt examples

Examples of unsecured debt are: credit union loans, bank overdrafts, credit card debt and utility bill arrears. It is important to note that if these debts are rolled up into your mortgage they will then become secured loans.


What are my options for resolving debt?

If you have unsecured debts and will not be able to pay off your debts in the next 5 years. You could opt for a Debt Settlement Arrangement (DSA) however, if you also have secured debts these will not be covered by the DSA.

If you have either secured or unsecured debts, another option available to you is bankruptcy.


Debt Settlement Arrangement

You can only apply for a DSA once in your lifetime. You will not be eligible if you are involved in any other debt resolution processes introduced by the act, or the bankruptcy process. If you have completed the bankruptcy process or a Personal Insolvency Arrangement within the last 5 years or a debt relief notice in the last 3 years, you will not be able to get a DSA.  

You can only get a Debt Settlement Arrangement by agreement of a specified majority of your unsecured creditors

You must either be domiciled in the State or, within the year, have been living in the State or had a place of business in the State, before you make your application for a DSA.


How do I apply for a DSA?

You must make your proposal for a DSA through a PIA (Personal Insolvency Practitioner).The PIP will act on your behalf throughout the Debt Settlement Arrangement.

The Insolvency Service of Ireland have developed a standard protocol for use by Personal Insolvency Practitioners when making proposals to creditors for a DSA.

You must be willing to disclose all of your financial affairs to your PIP, who will then decide if you meet the criteria for a DSA, what conditions you will have to pay and other options that may be available.

You will also have to give your written consent to enable:

  • The PIP to disclose your personal information to the ISI
  • The ISI to process your application for a DSA
  • The ISI to make the necessary enquiries about you
  • The ISI to disclose your personal information to the creditors involved, as required



Bankruptcy is the legal status of someone who cannot repay the debts that they owe to creditors.

By filing for bankruptcy you are ensuring that your assets will be fairly distributed among creditors, protecting you from these liabilities. Most types of unsecured debts are written off when you become bankrupt.

Click here to learn about the difference between bankruptcy and insolvency


As a result of the Bankruptcy (Amendment) Act 2015, the bankruptcy period has been reduced from three years to just one year, meaning that if you choose to declare bankruptcy you will be automatically discharged after one year.

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1 Lansdowne Gardens, Shelbourne Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4.
T: 01 531 3494

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Co. Donegal.
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