A US financial regulator vowed to investigate claims from prominent technology industry figures that Apple’s branded credit card offered women a lower credit limit than men.
In a blog, superintendent of the New York State Department of Financial Services Linda Lacewell said the regulator would probe “what may have gone wrong, and if the algorithm used by Apple Card did indeed promote unlawful discrimination we will take appropriate action”.
Her comments follow a social media storm where David Heinemeier Hansson, co-founder of online software development company Basecamp, slated Apple and its partner on the credit card project Goldman Sachs, for running a “sexist programme” after discovering he was being offered “20-times the credit limit” of his wife.
This discrepancy, he added, was despite filing joint tax returns and her having a better credit record.
Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak was among the other names to admit his wife was also being offered a significantly lower credit limit.
Responding to claims, a Goldman Sachs spokesperson said: “As with any other credit card, your application is evaluated independently. We look at an individual’s income and an individual’s credit worthiness, which includes factors like credit scores, how much debt you have and how that debt has been managed.”
“Based on these factors, it is possible for two family members to receive significantly different credit decisions. In all cases we have not and will not make decisions made on factors like gender.”
Apple Card launched in August and is part of the company’s push into services, building on the success in the consumer financial sector reported by its mobile wallet brand Apple Pay.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back