Apple Co-Founder Steve Wozniak Complaints About Apple Card Algorithm Having Gender Bias

BY Rajesh Pandey

Published 11 Nov 2019

Physical Apple Card

Apple and Goldman Sachs are currently involved in a controversy for giving a lower credit score to females. The issue was first brought to light by Ruby on Rails creator David Heinemeier Hansson on Twitter who noted how his wife had a lower Apple Card credit limit despite having a better credit score than him.

The Twitter thread lead to other Apple Card users chiming in with their own experience and they all share the same report. Many people reported that despite their wives having a higher credit score, their Apple Card credit limit was 1/3rd of theirs. It is clear that the algorithm which Goldman Sachs and Apple are using to give a credit limit to an individual is being sexist and giving a higher credit limit to male persons.

Making matters worse for Apple, the company’s co-founder also chimed in with a similar experience. Steve Wozniak noted that her wife also has a lower credit limit than him despite both of them sharing the same assets and accounts.

This controversy has led to the New York State Department of Financial Services announcing that it would be investigating the algorithm used by Apple Card which determines the credit limit for a person. Linda A. Lacewell, the Superintendent of New York State Department of Financial Services has written a Medium post about the issue and why Apple and Goldman Sachs will be investigated for this.

DFS regulates financial products and services offered in New York State. Financial service companies are responsible for ensuring the algorithms they use do not even unintentionally discriminate against protected groups. Our North Star is that the consumer comes first. We will work to investigate what may have gone wrong, and if the algorithm used by Apple Card did indeed promote unlawful discrimination we will take appropriate action.

Apple redirected all questions about how the credit limit of an individual is calculated for Apple Card to Goldman Sachs. A Goldman Sachs spokesperson said that the application of every individual is evaluated independently and it is based on factors like personal credit scores, debt history, and more.

The statement from Goldman Sachs also reveals that the bank is working on the ability to allow Apple Card customers to share it with their family members.