Goldman Sachs and Apple Card being investigated after viral tweet questions lower credit limit for women

Nov 10, 2019

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

On Saturday, The Associated Press reported that a New York regulator is investigating Goldman Sachs “for possible sex discrimination” following a series of tweets that accused the Apple Card and Goldman Sachs — who have a partnership between the technology giant and the New York City-based bank — of curbing women’s credit limits.

According to the AP, the bank “denies wrongdoing” and Apple has not provided a comment.

For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

David Heinemeier Hansson, the website creator and author whose tweets first caught the attention of the New York Department of Financial Services, called the Apple Card a “sexist program” in a Nov. 7 tweet.

“My wife and I filed joint tax returns, live in a community-property state and have been married for a long time,” Hansson said in the tweet, adding later that a TransUnion report proved his wife’s credit score, which is higher than his own. “Yet Apple’s black box algorithm thinks I deserve 20 [times] the credit limit she does. No appeals work.”

“Even when she pays off her ridiculously low limit in full, the card won’t approve any spending until the next billing period. Women apparently aren’t good credit risks even whey they pay [the balance] in advance and in full.”

Appeals to Apple Card’s customer service representatives illuminated a lack of transparency. No one, Hansson said, was “authorized to discuss the credit assessment process.” They could not explain why, despite his wife’s identical if not superior application, she had been offered such a comparatively low credit limit.

Of course, this is the internet, and Hansson’s original tweet had garnered 13,100 likes and 5,500 retweets by Sunday morning. Many people responded with similarly disturbing accounts.

“My wife has a way better [credit] score than me … has a higher salary and was given a credit limit [a third] of mine,” said Twitter user Carmine Granucci.

And Steve Wozniak — yes, that one — said he and his wife experienced the same thing, despite sharing all assets and accounts.

Goldman Sachs spokesperson Andrew Williams told the AP that, “Our credit decisions are based on a customer’s creditworthiness and not on factors like gender, race, age, sexual orientation or any other basis prohibited by law.”

And, in a tweet to Hansson, Goldman Sachs Bank Support said, “We take these concerns very seriously. Please know that Goldman Sachs will never consider sex/gender or any other prohibited bases when making credit decisions.”

Still, Hansson’s accusations have created a total Twitter storm. Many people have been quick to point out that, even if Goldman Sachs and the Apple Card are equally responsible for any discrimination, biases or algorithm meltdowns may be at work, similar experiences have been noted with other major issuers.

Credit card issuers take many factors into consideration when evaluating creditworthiness, which affects not only whether or not you’re approved for a card but also determines your credit limit and annual percentage rate. Among them? Credit scores (which represent your total debt, how reliably you make on-time payments, age of credit history and other factors), total assets and income, among others.

Apple’s first credit card became available to U.S. customers in August and, though it’s hardly the top travel rewards credit card on the market, does offer card holders some interesting perks, including 3% cash back on purchases made directly with Uber and Apple, as well as 2% cash back on all Apple Pay purchases. There are also no foreign transaction fees, and Apple Card-carrying customers see total rewards updated on a daily basis.

Have you ever experienced something similar when applying for a credit card? Let us know in the comments below.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points


CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 3X points on dining and 2x points on travel, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
Regular APR
16.24% - 23.24% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.