Goldman Sachs will let people appeal their Apple Card credit limit after allegations of sexist algorithms

Apple CardHollis Johnson/Business Insider

  • Goldman Sachs will allow Apple Card customers to appeal their credit limit if they think it's suspiciously low, US bank CEO Carey Hailo said on Monday evening.
  • The bank is Apple's partner for Apple Card and determines people's credit score. It has been at the centre of accusations that it offers lower credit scores for women for no discernible reason.
  • Programmer David Heinemeier Hansson posted a viral thread on Thursday saying that he had been offered 20 times the credit limit of his wife, despite the fact they share all their assets. Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak also said his partner had been offered a lower credit limit.
  • Goldman Sachs hasn't explained how its algorithms come up with people's credit scores, but says it doesn't discriminate against women.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Goldman Sachs has a message for angry Apple Card customers worried about alleged sexist credit limits: "We hear you."

CEO of Goldman Sachs Bank USA Carey Halio put out a statement on Twitter on Monday saying that it doesn't decide Apple Card customers' credit limits based on their gender.

She added that anyone unhappy with their credit limit for the Apple Card can appeal, and Goldman Sachs may reevaluate their credit line.

"We hear you," she wrote. "Your concerns are important to us and we take them seriously."

Goldman Sachs is the banking partner for Apple's new credit card, Apple Card, and has been at the centre of a furore over whether its algorithms make sexist decisions about credit limits.

Web programmer and author David Heinemeier Hansson posted a viral Twitter thread accusing Apple Card's credit scoring system of being sexist, as it gave him a credit limit 20 times higher than his wife. Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak said he and his wife had encountered a similar problem, and the thread prompted an investigation from a Wall Street regulator.

Halio reiterated the bank's earlier position, that it does not make credit decisions based on gender. The explanation she offered for customers receiving lower credit limits than usual was that they may have existing supplemental credit cards under their spouse's name.

Here is Halio's statement in full:

We hear you. Your concerns are important to us and we take them seriously.

We have not and never will make decisions based on factors like gender. In fact, we do not know your gender or marital status during the Apple Card application process.

We are committed to ensuring our credit process is fair. Together with a third party, we reviewed our credit decisioning process to guard against unintended biases and outcomes.

Some of our customers have told us they received lower credit lines than they expected. In many cases, this is because their existing credit cards are supplemental cards under their spouse's primary account - which may result in the applicant having limited personal credit history. Apple Card's credit decision process is not aware of your marital status at the time of the application.

If you believe that your credit line does not adequately reflect your credit history because you may be in a similar situation, we want to hear from you. Based on additional information that we may request, we will re-evaluate your credit line.

Thank you for being an Apple Card customer.

Halio's statement offered more detail than Goldman Sachs' original response to the outrage, which did not give the explanation of supplemental credit cards.

Notably critics like Wozniak were not accusing Goldman Sachs of deliberately disadvantaging women, but rather that the algorithm used to calculate credit may have become ingrained with bias.

Do you work at Apple? Contact this reporter via email at ihamilton@businessinsider.com or iahamilton@protonmail.com. You can also contact Business Insider securely via SecureDrop.

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