Apple credit card under investigation for potentially discriminating against female customers

Steve Wozniak said he was offered ten times the credit limit of his wife

Apple unveils credit card

Apple's new credit card is under investigation for potentially discriminating against female customers.

This is following complaints from customers including one from the company's co-founder Steve Wozniak.

Wozniak, who co-founded Apple Inc in 1976 alongside the late Steve Jobs, said on Twitter he had been offered ten times the credit limit of his wife, Janet Hill, despite the fact they had “no separate bank or credit card accounts or any separate assets”.

His comments were sparked by tech entrepreneur David Heinemeier Hansson complaining he had been given 20 times the credit limit of his wife when applying for the credit card.

Hansson didn’t disclose any specific income-related information for himself or his wife but said they filed joint tax returns and that his wife had a better credit score.

“Apple Card is a sexist program. It does not matter what the intent of individual Apple reps are, it matters what THE ALGORITHM they've placed their complete faith in does. And what it does is discriminate,” Hansson 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??!”

Hannson later added that as soon as he raised the issue with Apple his wife's credit limit was increased.

The tweets sparked a series of replies from people who had the same experience, including Wozniak.

"The same thing happened to us," Wozniak tweeted.

“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.”

Following Hansson’s now-viral tweet, which has received more than 20,000 likes, New York’s Department of Financial Services (DFS) has initiated a probe into alleged gender discrimination in the algorithm being used to determine credit limits.

“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,” a spokesperson for Linda Lacewell, the superintendent of the New York DFS told Bloomberg.

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

Goldman Sachs, which runs the Apple Card, denied that gender factored into any decisions made about credit limits, saying that accounts are based on the individual and that person's specific credit history.

“As with any other individual credit card, your application is evaluated independently. We look at an individual's income and an individual's creditworthiness, which includes factors like personal credit scores, how much debt you have, and how that debt has been managed,” Goldman Sachs said in a statement on Sunday.

“Based on these factors, it is possible for two family members to receive significantly different credit decisions."

Apple announced the launch of its credit card in March, aiming to draw in iPhone users by offering a card with two per cent cash back on purchases with the ApplePay service, no fees, an app to manage related finances, and a focus on data privacy.

The card is designed to work with the iPhone, where users sign up for the card and can start using it immediately if approved via the Apple Wallet app and Apple Pay system.

The Independent has contacted Apple for comment.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in