Goldman Sachs Under Investigation Over Alleged Apple Card Credit Algorithm Gender Bias

Apple Card issuer Goldman Sachs is facing an inquiry following claims that the card is being offered with substantially higher credit limits for men than women.

Late last week David Heinemeir Hansson, the creator of Ruby on Rails and CTO of software development firm Basecamp, published a series of tweets voicing his frustration with the algorithms used to determine the Apple Card’s credit limits, reads a new report from Bloomberg.

Noticing a discrepancy between the credit limit he was offered and the credit limit offered to his wife, the entrepreneur tweeted: “The Apple Card 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.”

The day after the thread was posted, Hansson’s wife was given the same spending limit after discussions with several Apple representatives, and the discovery that her credit score was, in fact, higher than his. He said and his wife bought their credit scores from TransUnion, but that score is based on the VantageScore algorithm and may give results that are different from the FICO credit score that most lenders use.

While pleased with the outcome, Hansson still questioned the integrity of the algorithm that had decided his wife’s initial spending limit, and why the people they had spoken to were so confident in its accuracy despite having no way of examining it.

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak responded to Hansson’s tweet, saying: “The same thing happened to us. I got 10x the credit limit. We have no separate bank or credit card accounts or any separate assets. Hard to get a human for a correction though. It’s big tech in 2019.”

New York state regulators have now announced an investigation into Goldman Sachs, the bank that issues the Apple Card after a series of viral tweets from other consumers were also shared. A spokesperson for the New York Department of Financial Services later issued a statement: “Any algorithm, that intentionally or not results in discriminatory treatment of women or any other protected class of people violates New York law.”