Apple Card under Investigation for Gender Discrimination
The New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) is investigating Apple and Goldman Sachs after allegations of gender discrimination for the Apple Card.
The allegations started with a Twitter thread from David Heinmeier Hansson, founder of Basecamp and Ruby on Rails. Hansson said that his Apple Card credit limit was 20 times higher than his wife’s, despite filing joint tax returns and her credit score being higher. Apple’s Co-Founder, Steve Wozniak, replied to the thread saying that he experienced a similar situation. “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.”
The day after Hansson’s initial Twitter post, Apple raised his wife’s credit limit to match his. Hansson explained his frustration along the way, stating that Apple employees continually blamed “the algorithm” for the mishap. Linda Lacewell, Superintendent of the NYDFS, said, “Financial services companies are responsible for ensuring the algorithms they use do not even unintentionally discriminate against protected groups. @NYDFS will take a look.”
After a lengthy beta test, the Apple Card launched for all U.S. consumers in August. The card boasts 3% cash back for Apple purchases, 2% back for Apple Pay transactions, and 1% back for everything else.
Hansson’s wife Jamie has since released a statement telling her perspective on the matter. Despite being a private person, Jamie said she wants to speak out for equality and transparency. “The credit limit extended, or not extended, does not matter for my livelihood. It matters for the woman struggling to start a business in a world that still seems to think women can’t be as successful or creditworthy as men…And so it matters to me.” She concluded her statement by saying, “I’m glad [my husband’s] large platform and my AppleCard issue have sparked a national conversation around institutional biases, blackbox algorithms, and the broken system that is our credit industry.”