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Apple Card under investigation for alleged gender bias

A stream of viral tweets over the weekend accuse the popular card of discriminating against women

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Since its launch over the summer, the Apple Card has gotten no shortage of attention from the public, with fanatics rushing to sing its praises and critics calling out a limited rewards rate.

Now, Apple Card is facing an entirely new criticism – that its algorithm is unfairly awarding credit limits in a way that discriminates against women.

See related: Guide to the new Apple Card

On Nov. 7, 2019, David Heinemeier Hansson – a renowned programmer and creator of the Ruby on Rails web development framework – tweeted a complaint against the card. According to Hansson, Apple’s algorithm awarded his wife a credit limit 20 times lower than his own, despite her identical income and higher credit score. He called the card “a sexist program.”

Hansson’s Twitter thread quickly built up steam, with dozens recounting similar experiences. In fact, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak claims that his wife was given a credit limit 10 times lower than his.

In response to the criticism, Goldman Sachs tweeted a statement from CEO Carey Halio, ensuring customers who feel they’ve been wronged that Goldman Sachs will address any discrepancy.

“If you believe that your credit line does not adequately reflect your credit history because you may be in a similar situation, we want to hear from you. Based on additional information that we may request, we will re-evaluate your credit line,” said Halio.

State of New York launches investigation

Allegations of sexism have not fallen on deaf ears. Since tweets including Hansson’s have gone viral, the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) has announced the start of an investigation into Apple and Goldman Sachs’ credit limit algorithm.

“New York law prohibits discrimination against protected classes of individuals, which means an algorithm, as with any other method of determining creditworthiness, cannot result in disparate treatment for individuals based on age, creed, race, color, sex, sexual orientation, national origin or other protected characteristics,” said Linda Lacewell, superintendent of the New York State DFS in a statement.

Part of a widespread gender bias in the industry

As the investigation continues, only time will tell if the Apple Card’s algorithm is truly discriminating against women when awarding high credit limits.

Nevertheless, this is hardly the only example of gender discrimination in financial services. Beyond big picture struggles like the gender pay gap and pink tax, women have been shown to receive higher credit card interest rates and suffer worse in financial pitfalls like divorce.

In fact, there are a bevy of financial issues facing women every single day and a lack of education to confront these problems. CreditCards.com has launched the To Her Credit series to address such topics every other week, striving to encourage empowerment through financial literacy.

If you believe you have experienced gender discrimination on behalf of the Apple Card or any other financial service – we want to hear your story. Reach out to tohercredit@creditcards.com to comment.

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The editorial content on this page is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. It has not been provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners.

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