Apple Card sexist, claims Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak

Andrew Cummings
November 12, 2019

The tech giant's credit card, launched in partnership with Goldman Sachs earlier this year, uses an algorithm to assign credit limits, and many online pointed out it may favor men over women.

AI-powered algorithms have been problematic in the past, researchers have found.

Apple did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment and has yet to publicly respond to the claims of gender discrimination.

Superintendent of the NYSDFS Linda Lacewell said Sunday in a statement that state law bans discrimination against protected classes of individuals, "which means an algorithm, as with any other method of determining creditworthiness, can not result in disparate treatment for individuals based on age, creed, race, color, sex, sexual orientation, national origin or other protected characteristics".

Goldman Sachs, which issues the Apple Card, says in a statement: "Our credit decisions are based on a customer's creditworthiness and not on factors like gender, race, age, sexual orientation or any other basis prohibited by law".

"DFS is troubled to learn of potential discriminatory treatment in regards to credit limit decisions reportedly made by an algorithm of Apple Card, issued by Goldman Sachs, and the Department will be conducting an investigation to determine whether NY law was violated and ensure all consumers are treated equally regardless of sex", the statement said.

On Saturday, Wozniak chimed in with a similar experience, saying he got 10 times more credit on the card, compared with his wife. "I got 10x the credit limit".

"In all cases, we have not and will not make decisions based on factors like gender", the statement reads. "It's big tech in 2019". He is an author and decorated race auto driver on the Le Mans circuit, according to a biography on his website.

"We have no separate bank or credit card accounts or any separate assets", Wozniak said on Twitter, in reply to Hansson's original tweet.

Gizmodo has also reached out to the New York Department of Financial Services and David Heinemeier Hansson and will update the post if we hear back. He detailed how his card's credit limit was 20 times higher than his wife's, even though she has a higher credit score and they file joint tax returns. However, Goldman Sachs probably didn't do itself any favors when it released a statement via tweet explaining that two people who share assets could still have different credit scores and, thus, access to credit based on a variety of other factors. Hansson referred to the Apple Card as a "sexist program" and said that its over-reliance on a "biased" algorithm did not excuse discriminatory treatment.

"My thread is full of accounts from women who've been declared to be worse credit risks than their husbands, despite higher credit scores or incomes", he said.

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