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  • Writer's pictureMagdalena Gołębiewska

Apple Card faces investigation over sexist credit limit claims

US regulators have opened a probe into the algorithm used to determine the credit worthiness of Apple Card applicants after a man took to Twitter to call it "sexist" for giving him a credit limit 20 times higher than his wife's.

On Friday, David Heinemeier Hansson, a prominent technology entrepreneur, complained to his 355,000 Twitter followers that the Apple Card is "such a fucking sexist program" because its "black box algorithm thinks I deserve 20x the credit limit she [his wife] does".

DHH✔@dhh The @AppleCard is such a fucking sexist program. My wife and I filed joint tax returns, live in a community-property state, and have been married for a long time. Yet Apple’s black box algorithm thinks I deserve 20x the credit limit she does. No appeals work. 24.2K 8:34 PM - Nov 7, 2019 Twitter Ads info and privacy

The Twitter vent, in which Hansson revealed that his wife has a better credit score than him, quickly went viral, with Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak among those chipping in to report similar issues.

Steve Wozniak✔ @stevewoz Replying to @dedwards93 and 2 others I'm a current Apple employee and founder of the company and the same thing happened to us (10x) despite not having any separate assets or accounts. Some say the blame is on Goldman Sachs but the way Apple is attached, they should share responsibility. 1,9987:06 AM - Nov 10, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy

By Saturday, regulators were involved with New York State Department of Financial Services superintendent Linda Lacewell tweeting that "financial services companies are responsible for ensuring the algorithms they use do not even unintentionally discriminate against protected groups. @NYDFS will take a look."

DHH✔ @dhhReplying to @dhh So yeah, I completely stand by my original charge: @AppleCard is a sexist program. It does not matter what the intent of individual Apple reps are, it matters what THE ALGORITHM they’ve placed their complete faith in does. And what it does is discriminate. This is fucked up. 1253:09 PM - Nov 9, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy

Goldman Sachs, which issues the Apple Card, says in a statement:

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."

Meanwhile, one couple has carried out an experiment, both applying for an Apple Card, with the wife offered a higher limit and lower APR (well, you always have 2 sides of the story :)):

Alex Cohen @anothercohen I just tested this out myself. My wife and I also live/own at the same address, have similar credit scores, and file taxes jointly. The applications were identical. She got approved for a $2.5k higher credit line and 5% better APR.

Well, I am buying popcorn and will observe :)

Have a great day to all of you and if you want to share feedback - please do! Twitter: @Magdalena_Goleb

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