To incorporate a company in Singapore, you will need to register a business name. Your business name not only allows you to identify yourself to your customers but also distinguishes between your business and your competitors.
In this ultimate guide, we will touch on everything you need to know on choosing and registering a business name in Singapore. We will also go through what registering a business name is, the importance of a company name, ways to check on the availability of a name and more.
Let’s get started.
What is Registering a Business Name in Singapore?
If you’re planning to start a business in Singapore, then generally you will have to register a business name with Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA), the national regulator of business entities, public accountants and corporate service providers in Singapore.
Registration can be easily done through BizFile+ and it can be done no longer than 10 minutes.
How to Check if a Business Name is Available?
You might have decided on the name to go with for your business but it’s pointless if the name has already been taken up by someone else. To check on the availability of a name, you can conduct a quick search on Bizfile before submitting your application.
You can choose to search by the Entity Name or Unique Entity Number (UEN). To streamline your search results, there are also additional search criteria which include Entity Name Starting With, Entity Name Exact Match and Entity Name Containing.
If the name has been taken up, the search result will be shown directly below and you can move on to your next best choice for your business name.
Benefits of Registering a Business Name
Your company name is essential because it’s a prerequisite if you plan to incorporate a business in Singapore.
A company name also establishes trust and credibility with your potential prospects and customers. It’s also the first impression of your business and allows you to conduct your business in a professional setting.
Without a company name, you lose the opportunity to be unique and your chances to attract new customers and investors.
Top Tips on Choosing a Company or Business Name
Choosing the name for your business can be hard without help. We list down some of our top tips to help your business get going.
1. Avoid Similar or Identical Names
When selecting a business name, you should first search on BizFile, Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) online business registration and filing portal to check if the name has already been taken.
You should avoid selecting business names that are identical to existing ones. You should also check for names with similar pronunciations or similar names but in different sequences.
It’s also a good idea to check for names with words that have similar meanings. All of these steps will help prevent confusion for your customers and reduce the likelihood of a party raising a complaint that your business name infringes on their copyrights and trademarks.
For example, if there is an existing company called Apple Pte Ltd, you would not be able to register Apple as a sole proprietorship.
2. Avoid selecting undesirable names
Avoid selecting undesirable names that contain expletives as these will be rejected by ACRA. The law also restricts the use of certain business name such as the name Temasek which are not available for registration.
This also includes names that the governing body has directed the registrar not to accept.
3. Keep your Name Short, Unique and Relevant to your Business
You want your customers to remember you. And the best way to get them to do that is to have a short and memorable name that stands out from the crowd.
Avoid long names or weird characters that your clients can find hard to remember. The right name can do wonders for your business and the wrong name can associate you with undesirable and unwanted situations.
How to Register for a Business Name in Singapore?
Once you have decided on the name to go with for your business, you can log-in to BizFile to submit an application. BizFile is a web-based electronics filing and registration system used by ACRA to provide a full suite of online services for businesses and companies in Singapore.
Keep reading to get started on registering a company name for your business.
- Go to BizFile here.
- Click “Application for a New Business Name”.
- Proceed to log-in via SingPass or CorpPass.
- Click “Next”.
- Fill in “Proposed Entity Name”.
- The proposed name may be shown as “Available” or “Unavailable” depending on the name you have selected.
- Fill in “Primary Activity” and “Primarily User-Described Activity”.
- You must pick both your “Primarily Activity” and “Secondary Activity” from a list of Singapore Standard Industrial Classification (SSIC) here.
- For example, if you intend to sell cakes and pastries, you would use the SSIC “10712” and then type “Sale of Cake” in the “Primarily User-Described Activity” field
- The “Secondary Activity” field is optional.
- For example, if you intend to sell baking tools, you would then use “47534” in “Secondary Activity” and “Sale of Baking Tools” for “Secondary User-Described Activity”.
- Under “Position Details”, select the appropriate fields for your company in “Position Held” and “Category”.
- Fill up the following fields:
- Date of Appointment
- Identification Type
- Identification No
- Date of Birth
- Local Fixed Line No.
- Local Mobile No.
- Email Address
- Fill up the following fields under “Residential Address”:
- Address Type
- Select “Add” to confirm the entry.
- Select “Yes” if you require to submit approval from other authorities, otherwise select leave the default option as “No”.
- Once all required details are filled up, click “Submit” to proceed.
- Verify all details in the preview.
- Click “Confirm” to proceed.
- Click “Make Payment” to proceed.
- BizFile accepts the following payment modes: “eNets”, “PayPal” and “Google Pay”.
- Upon successful payment, you will be able to view both the acknowledge page and receipt.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the cost of registering a business name in Singapore?
The cost of registering a business name in Singapore is SGD 15.
2. What happens after I have register my business name?
After the application of your business or company name has been approved, you will have up to 120 days to register or incorporate your company.
The name will be released and made available to the public if you failed to register your business entity within this period of 120 days.
Once it has been approved, the company name will be reserved for 120 days. Your next step would be to choose from the different types of business entities and structures for your business.
3. Is it Mandatory to Register a Business Name in Singapore?
Here are some exemptions:
- Conducting your business under your full name as reflected in your NRIC.
- Conducting your business with partners and all of you using your full name as reflected in your NRIC.
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