Apple’s tech-oriented credit card is at the heart of a new investigation into alleged gender discrimination.

New York state regulators have announced an investigation into Goldman Sachs, the bank that issues the Apple Card, after a series of viral tweets from a consumer who shared the vastly different credit limits that were issued to him and his wife when they both applied for the card.

“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,” said a spokesman for the New York Department of Financial Services in a statement provided to Bloomberg.

On Thursday, David Heinemeier Hansson, a programmer who created the web application framework Ruby on Rails, posted a lengthy tweet thread explaining how both he and his wife applied for the Apple Card. Despite having the same financials, Hansson said his wife was issued a much smaller line of credit than he was.

DHH@dhh · Nov 8, 2019

The @AppleCard 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.

DHH@dhh

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??!3,0012:06 AM – Nov 8, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy253 people are talking about this

“My wife and I filed joint tax returns, live in a community-property state, and have been married for a long time,” Hansson tweeted. “Yet Apple’s black box algorithm thinks I deserve 20x the credit limit she does.”

After his complaints on Twitter, Hansson found his wife’s Apple Card’s credit limit was increased to match his.

However, Hansson’s frustration was not only with the credit line issue, but also how customer support is trained to handle the accusation of gender bias: blame the algorithm. 

DHH@dhh · Nov 9, 2019Replying to @dhh

I wasn’t even pessimistic to expect this outcome, but here we are: @AppleCard just gave my wife the VIP bump to match my credit limit, but continued to be an utter fucking failure of a customer service experience. Let me explain…

DHH@dhh

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!”.3,6624:50 AM – Nov 9, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy563 people are talking about this

“She spoke to two Apple reps. Both very nice, courteous people representing an utterly broken and reprehensible system,” he tweeted. “The first person was like “I don’t know why, but I swear we’re not discriminating, IT’S JUST THE ALGORITHM.”

As everyone should know, computers are not sentient (yet). People created the algorithm, meaning any inherent bias was created by people.

DHH@dhh · Nov 8, 2019

The @AppleCard 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.

Carmine Granucci@whoiscarmine

Just read this thread. My wife has a way better score than me, almost 850, has a higher salary and was given a credit limit 1/3 of mine. We had joked that maybe Apple is just sexist. Seems like it’s not a joke. Beyond f’ed up.1,0598:38 PM – Nov 9, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy148 people are talking about this

DHH@dhh · Nov 8, 2019

The @AppleCard 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.

shareProud@shareproud

Same here my wife is a doctor, I haven’t worked in 5 years and my credit limit is $20,000 her is $4,800. She wanted to surprise me with the new Apple Watch and phone for both of us, price tag came out to $5,200. She had to put the rest on our AMX.13:02 AM – Nov 10, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacySee shareProud’s other Tweets

Hansson’s viral tweets sparked a discussion around credit card algorithms and gender bias with many other Apple Card holders sharing similar experiences, including Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak.

DHH@dhh · Nov 8, 2019

The @AppleCard 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.

Steve Wozniak@stevewoz

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 2019.2,9136:21 AM – Nov 10, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy581 people are talking about this

“The same thing happened to us,” tweeted Wozniak. “I got 10x the credit limit. We have no separate bank or credit card accounts or any separate assets.”

“Any algorithm, that intentionally or not results in discriminatory treatment of women or any other protected class of people violates New York law,” said the New York Department of Financial Services spokesperson.

The Apple Card is issued by Goldman Sachs as the investment bank’s first credit card in its recent foray into consumer banking.

https://bit.ly/2KojaOj

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