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What is “CHATS” for Payments to Hong Kong?

June 26, 2024July 15th, 2024No Comments
Mariel Rhetta
Content Strategist at Rutland FX
Published on: (Updated ) - minute read

When making international payments to Hong Kong in Hong Kong Dollars (HKD), one available local payment route is CHATS (Clearing House Automated Transfer System). CHATS provides an efficient and secure way to transfer funds to and within Hong Kong, serving as an alternative to the SWIFT network. Here’s a detailed guide on making international payments to Hong Kong with CHATS.

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What is CHATS?

CHATS (Clearing House Automated Transfer System) is a real-time, electronic funds transfer system that allows customers of participating banks to transfer HKD quickly and securely within Hong Kong. It offers a modern solution for instant fund transfers. In 2023, HKD CHATS settled, on average, around 30,000 RTGS (Real Time Gross Settlement) transactions each operating day, with an average daily value of HK$1,106 billion.

Background and Operation

  • Operated by: Hong Kong Interbank Clearing Limited (HKICL)
  • Inception: Launched in 1996
  • Purpose: To enhance the efficiency and speed of fund transfers within Hong Kong, allowing for immediate settlement of transactions.

Key Features

  • Real-Time Transfers: CHATS allows for immediate fund transfers between participating banks.
  • Availability: The system is available 24/7 for domestic transactions within Hong Kong.
  • Transaction Types: Supports various types of transactions, including individual and business payments.
  • Security: Adheres to stringent security measures to ensure the integrity and confidentiality of transactions.

Same-Day Settlement

Same-day settlement is available with both CHATS and SWIFT, with a cut-off time of 14:00 UK local time. This ensures that your payments can be processed immediately if initiated before this time.


For payments to Hong Kong using Rutland FX, the maximum transaction size via CHATS is HKD 500,000. If you need to send more than this amount, you have two options:

  • Multiple Local Payments via CHATS: Split the amount into multiple transactions, each not exceeding HKD 500,000.
  • Use the SWIFT Network: For larger payments, you can use the SWIFT network, which does not have a transaction size limitation.

What Bank Details Do I Need to Send HKD with CHATS?

To make an international payment to Hong Kong using CHATS with Rutland FX, you will need the following details:

  • Bank Code
  • BIC/SWIFT Code
  • Account Number
  • Company Name and Address

To specify CHATS as the payment route you will need to select “Regular Payment”.

What is a Bank Code?

A Bank Code is a unique identifier assigned to each bank in Hong Kong. It is used to ensure that the funds are transferred to the correct financial institution. The Bank Code is essential for routing payments accurately within the CHATS network.

Example of a Bank Code

In Hong Kong, each bank is assigned a unique Bank Code which is used to identify it in the CHATS network. The Bank Code is essential for ensuring that funds are routed to the correct institution. Here is an example of a Bank Code:

  • Bank Name: HSBC (Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited)
  • Bank Code: 004

Alternative to SWIFT

CHATS serves as an alternative to the SWIFT network for international payments. If the beneficiary’s account does not support SWIFT or if for some reason you prefer to use a local route, CHATS offers a reliable and efficient option for transferring HKD.

Still not sure?

If you are still unsure or have any further questions, please call us on 0203 026 0112 or request a callback below to discuss your requirements.