The algorithm used to set credit limits for the new Apple Card will be the subject of an official investigation, following tweets from a tech entrepreneur blasting the company for gender discrimination.
New York's Department of Financial Services confirmed that an investigation was being conducted.
He said that as soon as he raised the issue his wife's credit limit was increased.
"Our credit decisions are based on a customer's creditworthiness and not on factors like gender, race, age, sexual orientation or any other bias prohibited by law", the statement read.
Launched with Goldman Sachs and Mastercard in August, Apple Card is both a digital and physical credit card that requires no number, CVV security code, expiration date or signature on the card. It became available in the USA in August. They continued, "any algorithm, that intentionally or not results in discriminatory treatment of women or any other protected class of people violates NY law". One such person was none other than Steve Wozniak, the co-founder of Apple, who was also concerned as to why he had been approved for 10X the credit limit his wife was given.
Hansson's original tweet was shared nearly 5,000 times and garnered a lot of attention, including from the New York Department of Financial Services, who have confirmed that they will be investigating to see if the algorithm is inherently gender-biased.
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.
"The same thing happened to us", Wozniak wrote. It's big tech in 2019.
A spokesman for Mastercard, which provides support for Apple Card's global payments network, did not respond to a request for comment Saturday.
He said that customer service employees were unable to explain why the algorithm had designated her to be less creditworthy but had assured his wife that the bank was not discriminating against women. Now, there's a probe to figure out whether Goldman Sachs is engaging in gender bias as applications for the Apple Card are submitted.
The firestorm kicked off late last week when Ruby on Rails creator David Heinemeier Hansson indicated on Twitter that his Apple Card credit limit was twenty times that offered to his wife, even though the couple has been married for many years, file joint tax returns, and live in a community property state where all income and assets acquired while married are considered jointly owned. He said that didn't make up for the flawed algorithm used by Apple Card.