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The Apple Card program is under investigation after consumers claim their processing algorithm is discriminatory against women.
David Heinemeier Hansson, a programmer and creator of the web application framework Ruby on Rails, went on a Twitter rant last week to share his frustration with the Apple Card application process. Hansson claims that both he and his wife have similar credit, yet she received a much smaller line of credit than he did.
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
“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,” Hanson tweeted.
“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??!” Hanson sarcastically tweeted.
Hanson explained that he was further infuriated by Apple’s spending approval process and how the issue was handled by customer support.
The customer service experience is infuriating too. They’re quick to respond, but nobody is authorized to discuss the credit assessment process. No opportunity to present evidence. Just a “sorry, your wife is deemed to be 1/20th the credit worth you are, check again in 6 months!”— DHH (@dhh) November 7, 2019
“It gets even worse. Even when she pays off her ridiculously low limit in full, the card won’t approve any spending until the next billing period. Women apparently aren’t good credit risks even when they pay off the fucking balance in advance and in full.
The customer service experience is infuriating too. They’re quick to respond, but nobody is authorized to discuss the credit assessment process. No opportunity to present evidence. Just a ‘sorry, your wife is deemed to be 1/20th the credit worth you are, check again in 6 months!'” he added.
Hanson alleged that after his formal complaint that his wife’s limit was raised to match his, yet nothing was done to address the alleged discrimination in the process.
She spoke to two Apple reps. Both very nice, courteous people representing an utterly broken and reprehensible system. The first person was like “I don’t know why, but I swear we’re not discriminating, IT’S JUST THE ALGORITHM”. I shit you not. “IT’S JUST THE ALGORITHM!”.— DHH (@dhh) November 8, 2019
Hanson tweeted that she also spoke to a pair of Apple reps who pointed to the “algorithm” for the credit approval process.
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.
Ironically Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak was also one of these consumers.
“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 to a human for a correction though. It’s big tech in 2019,” Wozniak replied.
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.”
Tiffanie Drayton is a geek culture and lifestyle reporter whose work covers everything from gender and race to anime and Xbox. Her work has appeared in Complex, Salon, Marie Claire, Playboy, and elsewhere.