Snippet: NY Regulators Investigating Apple Card After Viral Complaint of Sexism ☍

Shared on November 14, 2019

Kate Cox for Ars Technica:

Software developer and entrepreneur David Heinemeier Hansson took to Twitter late last week to complain about his wife Jamie Heinemeier Hansson’s experience with AppleCard. […]

Speaking with Apple customer service did no good, he added, with representatives repeatedly deflecting blame to the black box that makes the determinations. Customer service representatives were, “very nice, courteous people representing an utterly broken and reprehensible system,” Hansson said. “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!'”

Several other men on Twitter chimed in with replies outlining similar experiences. They said their wives, who on paper look like the better credit risks, received significantly less favorable terms on their Apple Cards than they did. One of the responses came from Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, who tweeted that, although he and his wife have only joint bank accounts and assets, his Apple Card was given a limit 10 times higher than his wife’s.

Having done some research on credits even before the Apple Card launched, there’s more factors than just a credit score when getting approved and without people sharing all the data points, these rants tend to stir up controversy without any analytical truth. Considering the amount of people that I know with Apple Card’s who have shared some data points, the limits seemed to be very dependent on stated income once you were in the door. In a relationship where one person may not be working or have investment income, and don’t list “household income,” they would appear to be limited on resources. Some lenders look at total assets and weigh that heavily, but it seems Goldman Sachs doesn’t.

If it turns out that there really is a sexist algorithm, that’s concerning and needs to be addressed, but if it’s a lack of understanding of how the underwriting process works and that a married couple is still considered individual people by many financial institutions, then that demonstrates how we need to do better with financial literacy.

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