Under The Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing Ordinance (AMLO), (Cap. 615), if a person who operates or wishes to operate a money service, he or she is required to apply for a licence. A money service means a money changing service or a remittance service.

A money changing service refers a service for exchanging of currencies that is operated in Hong Kong as a business, but does not include such a service that is incidental to the main business e.g. certain exceptions apply to this definition. For instance, a retail business that accepts foreign currencies during transactions would not be considered a money changing service if this service is merely incidental to its primary business activities. Similarly, if a person managing a hotel provides currency exchange services within the hotel premises primarily for the convenience of hotel guests, and these services solely involve the purchase of non-Hong Kong currencies in exchange for Hong Kong currency, it would not fall under the category of a money changing service. These exceptions acknowledge that such activities are peripheral to the core purpose of the business or are primarily intended to cater to the specific needs of hotel guests, rather than functioning as standalone money changing services.

A remittance service refers a service of one or more of the following that is operated in Hong Kong as a business— (a) sending, or arranging for the sending of, money to a place outside Hong Kong; (b) receiving, or arranging for the receipt of, money from a place outside Hong Kong; (c) arranging for the receipt of money in a place outside Hong Kong.