Money Operator License

General Information & Governing Authority  

Any person operating a money service is required to be licensed with the Commissioner of Customs and Excise pursuant to the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing (Financial Institutions) Ordinance, Chapter 615 (AMLO). 

What is Money Service Operator?

Money service operators service includes money changing service or a remittance service.

A money changing service means a service for exchanging of currencies that is operated in Hong Kong as a business, but does not include such a service:

  1. that is incidental to the main business e.g. retail business accepting foreign currencies in transactions.
  2. that is operated by a person who manages a hotel if the service.
  1. is operated within the premises of the hotel primarily for the convenience of guests of the hotel.
  2. consists solely of transactions for the purchase by that person of non‐Hong Kong currencies in exchange for Hong Kong currency.

A remittance service means a service of one or more of the following that is operated in Hong Kong as a business:

  1. sending, or arranging for the sending of, money to a place outside Hong Kong.
  2. receiving, or arranging for the receipt of, money from a place outside Hong Kong.
  3. arranging for the receipt of money in a place outside Hong Kong

A person, a partnership or a company can apply for a MOS license.

It is an offence to operate a money service in Hong Kong without a license. Section 29(2) of the AMLO provides that a person who commits an offence under section 29 (1) is liable on conviction to a fine of HK$100,000 and imprisonment up to 6 months.

Licensing Criteria

The Licensing Court is responsible for approval of applications for money lenders licenses in consideration of the following conditions :

  1. whether the applicant is a fit and proper person to carry on the business (e.g. the relevant general knowledge, qualification and experience, etc.).
  2. whether the premises to which the application relates are suitable for the carrying on of the business (e.g. usage of the premises and permission from the landlord and tenant etc.).

Licensing Procedure

Acknowledgement.  Upon receipt of application, the Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department (CED) will issue an acknowledgment receipt of the application.

Clarification. The submitted documents will be examined and clarification will be made with the applicant if necessary.   

CED Interview.  A notice for an interview together with a demand note for fees will then be sent to the applicant who needs to attend an interview for verification of the original documents and payment records. The applicant will be required to sign on the formal application for the grant of an MSO license in the presence of CED officers.

Documents Required

Usually the following documents are required:

  1. Complete our internal due diligence forms.
  2. Identity proof and address proof of the directors/shareholders and bank signatories of the applicant.
  3. Curricular Vitae of the applicant.
  4. Business plan.
  5. Application forms for each corporate partner/ director / ultimate owner (where applicable) of the Applicant, and the relevant supporting documents.
  6. Regarding each premises used for the operation of money service.
    i) a copy of stamped tenancy agreement or record of ownership of the premises and
    ii) floor plan of the premises

Validity of License & Renewal

Upon approval of application, the CED will issue the MSO license to the applicant. The license will specify:

  1. the address of every premises in which the licensee may operate a money service,
  2. the conditions imposed or amended pursuant to the AMLO, and
  3. the period for which the license is valid. The name and premises for operating money service of each licensee will be provided in the Register of Licensees of the CED.

Normally, the MSO License has a validity period of 2 years. Hence the licensee shall apply for renewal of license before expiration to continue its operation of money service.

Our Services  

We can assist:

  1. To assess qualifications for applicants.
  2. To rent an office at an cost-effective manner as the operating office.
  3. To form a Hong Kong company for this purpose.
  4. To open bank account
  5. To prepare all the required documents for license application.
  6. To liaise with case officers of Custom & Excise Department.
  7. To attend interview with Custom & Excise Department (the applicant has to be present at the interview).
  8. To negotiate licensing conditions until outcome of the application or issuance or license.

Please contact us for assistance:

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
WhatsApp: (852) 6299 9588
Skype: iBancorp
Tel: (852) 3110 6389
Fax: (852) 2186 6935


Whilst every effort has been made to ensure that the details contained herein are correct and up-to-date, it does not constitute legal or other professional advice. We do not accept any responsibility, legal or otherwise, for any error omission.