Apple Card issuer investigated after claims of sexist credit checks
The algorithm used to set credit limits for the new Apple Card will be the subject of an official investigation, following tweets from a tech entrepreneur blasting the company for gender discrimination, according to various news outlets.
New York’s Department of Financial Services (DFS) has initiated the probe into the credit card practices of Goldman Sachs, which provides the Apple Card. In a series of Twitter posts starting on Thursday, David Heinemeier Hansson, creator of Ruby on Rails and the founder and CTO at Basecamp, railed against the Apple Card for giving him 20 times the credit limit that his wife got.
Hansson didn’t disclose any specific income-related information for himself or his wife but said they filed joint tax returns and that his wife had a better credit score.
The tweets sparked a series of replies from people who had the same experience, including Apple co-founder, Steve Wozniak.
Andrew Williams, a Goldman Sachs spokesman, declined to comment on whether Hansson had contacted Goldman regarding the concerns raised on Twitter because the bank does not discuss matters involving individual customers publicly.
But Williams told Bloomberg that: “Our credit decisions are based on a customer’s creditworthiness and not on factors like gender, race, age, sexual orientation or any other basis prohibited by law.”
The Apple Card, launched in August, is Goldman’s first credit card. The Wall Street investment bank has been offering more products to consumers, including personal loans and savings accounts through its Marcus online bank.
The DFS notes that it “will be conducting an investigation to determine whether New York law was violated and ensure all consumers are treated equally regardless of sex,” a department spokeswoman told Reuters in a statement.
“Any algorithm that intentionally or not results in discriminatory treatment of women or any other protected class violates New York law.”
The iPhone maker says the card would be synchronised with iPhone users’ Apple Wallet and could be used to buy Apple products at a discount.