A New York financial regulator launched an investigation into Goldman Sachs’ credit card practices after Twitter users, including Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, complained that Apple Card gives much lower credit limits to women.
The Wall Street bank behind Apple Card found itself in hot water after tech entrepreneur David Heinemeier Hansson lambasted the service’s “black box algorithm” for giving him 20 times the credit limit that his wife got. The thread, which was started on Thursday, has gone viral since then, gaining more than 5,000 retweets.
Some users and couples said they found themselves in the same situation. Tech legend Steve Wozniak also appeared in the comments section, revealing that he got a 10-times higher limit than his spouse, despite having no separate bank accounts or any separate assets.
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.
— Steve Wozniak (@stevewoz) November 10, 2019
The viral tweets have drawn the attention of the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS). Now the regulator wants to check if Apple Card’s algorithms on credit limits violate NY anti-discrimination laws, the deputy superintendent and special counsel at the NYDFS wrote on Saturday.
“Financial services companies are responsible for ensuring the algorithms they use do not even unintentionally discriminate against protected groups,” department superintendent Linda Lacewell said.
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Goldman Sachs said in a statement to Bloomberg that its credit decisions are based solely on “creditworthiness” and have nothing to do with gender, ethnicity, age, or sexual orientation. However, the bank failed to explain why Hanson’s wife was eventually granted a stronger credit score without providing any additional documentation after the story became “a PR issue.”
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