The Apple Card and Goldman Sachs are being investigated for gender bias in making credit card decisions.
The investigation stems from a tweet from David Heinemeier Hansson — creator of web framework Ruby on Rails. In a tweetstorm (linked below), he noted that despite having similar financials, his wife was issued a lower credit limit on her Apple Card. As per his tweet, he received a 20x credit limit than she, an incongruous amount based on the information supplied.
I’m surprised that they even let her apply for a card without the signed approval of her spouse? I mean, can you really trust women with a credit card these days??!
— DHH (@dhh) November 7, 2019
“The department will be conducting an investigation to determine whether New York law was violated and ensure all consumers are treated equally regardless of sex. Any algorithm, that intentionally or not results in discriminatory treatment of women or any other protected class of people violates New York law,” said a spokesman for Linda Lacewell, the superintendent of the New York Department of Financial Services told Bloomberg this weekend.
Goldman Sachs for its part simply said that it made its credit decisions solely on creditworthiness. This wasn’t a satisfactory explanation for Hansson, who noted that Sachs increased the credit card limit after he put the company on blast on social media. Unless tweets from your spouse factor into your credit limit, there was no reason for the firm to change its earlier decision without a request made for further documentation.
The issue here appears to be the algorithm behind credit making decisions, which will form the basis of the investigation from New York.