Apple Card sexist, Apple Card controversy, Apple Card sexist credit limit, Apple Card credit limit less for women
Apple co-founder Steve Woz­ni­ak says Apple Card gave his wife low­er cred­it lim­it, while he got 20x the cred­it lim­it. (Image source: AP)

Apple Inc co-founder Steve Woz­ni­ak joined in the online debate over accu­sa­tions of gen­der dis­crim­i­na­tion by the algo­rithm behind the iPhone maker’s cred­it card, fuelling scruti­ny of the new­ly launched Apple Card.

The crit­i­cism start­ed on Thurs­day, after entre­pre­neur David Heine­meier Hans­son railed against the Apple Card in a series of Twit­ter posts, say­ing it gave him 20 times the cred­it lim­it his wife received.
The much antic­i­pat­ed tita­ni­um cred­it card, part of a broad­er effort by Apple to derive greater rev­enue from ser­vices after years of heavy reliance on iPhone sales, was launched in August, in part­ner­ship with Gold­man Sachs Group Inc.

In an email, Gold­man said Apple Card appli­cants were eval­u­at­ed inde­pen­dent­ly, accord­ing to income and cred­it­wor­thi­ness, tak­ing into account fac­tors such as per­son­al cred­it scores and per­son­al debt.
It was pos­si­ble for two fam­i­ly mem­bers to receive sig­nif­i­cant­ly dif­fer­ent cred­it deci­sions, the bank said, but added, “We have not, and will not, make deci­sions based on fac­tors like gen­der.”

Hans­son, who is the cre­ator of web-appli­ca­tion frame­work Ruby on Rails, did not dis­close any spe­cif­ic income-relat­ed infor­ma­tion for him­self or his wife but tweet­ed that they filed joint tax returns and that his wife had a bet­ter cred­it score. On Sat­ur­day, Woz­ni­ak chimed in with a sim­i­lar expe­ri­ence, say­ing he got 10 times more cred­it on the card, com­pared with his wife.

“We have no sep­a­rate bank or cred­it card accounts or any sep­a­rate assets,” Woz­ni­ak said on Twit­ter, in reply to Hansson’s orig­i­nal tweet. “Hard to get to a human for a cor­rec­tion though. It’s big tech in 2019.”

New York’s Depart­ment of Finan­cial Ser­vices said it was begin­ning an inquiry into Gold­man Sachs’ cred­it card prac­tices. “New York law pro­hibits dis­crim­i­na­tion against pro­tect­ed class­es of indi­vid­u­als,” Lin­da Lacewell, the super­in­ten­dent of the New York State Depart­ment of Finan­cial Ser­vices, wrote in a blog post.

That barred an algo­rithm, like any oth­er method of deter­min­ing cred­it­wor­thi­ness, from dis­parate treat­ment based on indi­vid­ual char­ac­ter­is­tics such as age, creed, race, col­or, sex, sex­u­al ori­en­ta­tion, nation­al ori­gin, among oth­ers, she added. “We know the ques­tion of dis­crim­i­na­tion in algo­rith­mic deci­sion­ing also extends to oth­er areas of finan­cial ser­vices.” Apple did not imme­di­ate­ly respond to a Reuters request for com­ment on Sun­day.

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