"Damn sexist": Apple under pressure for credit card


The Apple Card is a "damn sexist program," wrote entrepreneur David Heinemeier Hansson on Twitter. He has been married to his wife for years, they submit the tax declaration together – and yet he has 20 times the credit limit available.

On the reference of the Apple customer service that the classification is based on an algorithm and this includes, inter alia, the credit score, Hansson had his rating and that of his wife check. The result: his wife was rated even better than he – on the credit line, however, that changed nothing.

Apple prominence support

The tweet by Hansson triggered countless other reactions in social networks. He also received support from one of the most prominent figures in Apple history: Steve "Woz" Wozniak, who founded Apple with Steve Jobs in the 1970s, reported the same phenomenon.

Wozniak wrote on Twitter that he had been granted tenfold frame of his wife. He and his wife have a joint account and no shared possessions. He also criticized the algorithm: "It is difficult to get to a person for correction. This is what 'Big Tech' looks like in 2019. "

Authority wants to check

The complaints now also called the Financial Market Authority in the US state of New York on the plan. The Department of Financial Services initiated investigations against Goldman Sachs, which provided the credit card in the name of Apple. They said they "will conduct an investigation to determine if New York law has been violated and ensure that all consumers, regardless of gender, receive equal treatment," said a spokeswoman for Reuters.

"Any algorithm that – deliberately or otherwise – leads to discriminatory treatment of women or any other protected class violates New York law," the spokeswoman said. Goldman Sachs has not confirmed the investigations so far. However, a spokesman for the bank said credit line decisions were based "on the creditworthiness of a client and not on factors such as gender, race, age, sexual orientation or any other basis prohibited by law".

Credit line of wife has been increased

At least in the case of Hansson's wife, there is now movement: her credit line has been upgraded. "As soon as this has become a PR topic, they have immediately increased their credit limit – without asking for further documentation," quoted the financial portal Bloomberg the entrepreneur. When asked by Apple's customer service, however, no explanation could be given as to how it came to exactly the original assessment.

Hansson – who among other things is responsible for the software framework Ruby on Rails, which is frequently used in web applications – sees the algorithm used as a problem in particular. "I do not think there was a vicious person who explicitly wanted to discriminate. But that does not matter. How do you know that there is no problem with the algorithm if nobody can explain how a decision was made? "

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