Will Uzbekistan ever go cashless?

At the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Central Bank of Uzbekistan recommended that residents switch from paying for goods and services in cash to paying for them using cards (preferably with contactless options, if possible). Transitioning a massive amount of people away from cash, however, proved to be more of a challenge than many expected, especially as non-cash payment systems are still under development in Uzbekistan. At the same time, non-cash payment methods are growing in popularity in the country, particularly due to the rise in online purchasing and the interest among some entrepreneurs in contactless and QR-code-based payments. If such services continue to grow and the general population becomes more educated about them, the share of cash in Uzbekistan’s payments will likely slowly but systematically decrease. In short, Uzbekistan appears to be at the beginning of a long and slow journey toward cashless.