In recent years, Uzbekistan has witnessed rapid development in the digital economy, with an expansion of the electronic commerce sector, digital services, and financial technologies. However, concurrently, there has been a rise in cases of fraud and theft using bank cards and other digital tools. In this context, with the aim of sustaining the positive rise in the digital sphere, ensuring robust protection of consumers’ rights in the field of digital products and services, combating digital crime, and enhancing financial literacy among the population, the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan, on November 30, 2023, signed Decree No.PP-381, “On Measures to Strengthen the Protection of Consumers’ Rights of Digital Products (Services) and Combat Offenses Committed through Digital Technologies.”
One of the key amendments introduced by this decree is the requirement for the establishment and operation of payment system operators and payment organizations exclusively in the form of joint-stock companies, starting from July 1, 2024.
Another significant change is the increase in the minimum charter capital size for:
- Payment system operators by 5 times – from 10 billion UZS (current) to 50 billion UZS (effective from July 1, 2024).
- Payment organizations by 10 times – from 1 billion UZS to 10 billion UZS (effective from July 1, 2024). However, it is important to note that starting from July 1, 2025, this amount will increase to 20 billion UZS.
Furthermore, the state’s 100% shares in the charter capital of LLC “National Interbank Processing Center,” better known as the HUMO payment system, is transferred to the Agency for State Asset Management.
The powers of the National Agency for Project Management also undergo significant expansion. Henceforth, tasks, functions, and authorities previously under the purview of the Ministry of Digital Technologies and the Ministry of Investments, Industrial, and Trade in the regulation and development of electronic commerce, as well as the Ministry of Economy and Finance in the regulation of activities related to organizing lotteries and bookmaking, are transferred to the National Agency for Project Management.
Additionally, for the purpose of timely prevention of theft and fraud cases, the Central Bank has the authority to issue mandatory directives to commercial banks, payment system operators, and payment organizations, imposing temporary restrictions on the use of bank cards, bank accounts, and accounts on mobile applications for a period of up to 3 days in the event of suspicious transactions associated with bank cards.
Finally, in order to incorporate anti-fraud systems in banks and payment organizations, the following implementation mechanisms will be employed by payment system operators:
- Implementation of a transactional anti-fraud system for payment system operators and a centralized anti-fraud system at the Central Bank for the use of session-based anti-fraud systems in banks and payment organizations.
- Implementation in banks, payment organizations, and payment system operators of a data identification system through SIM card, mobile phone IMEI code, Internet network (roaming).
- Enhancement of the security level of mobile applications for banks and payment systems, specifically by restricting the ability of newly registered users to make money transfers for a period of up to 1 hour, with an immediate SMS notification sent to the primary user upon login to their profile, as well as the collection of IMEI, IMSI, DeviceID, and other additional information about the mobile device.