Goldman Sachs, in response to criticism that its algorithm for setting credit limits varies wildly between men and women, even if they are husband and wife (and the wife has a better credit score), said on Wednesday (Nov. 13) that it’s going to allow households to share an Apple Card credit line, according to a report by Bloomberg.
Previously, only individuals were allowed to apply for the card, regardless of their marital status. Because of this, notable tech personalities, including Steve Wozniak, who works at Apple, complained about the disparity between his credit limit and that of his wife. He said he was given a credit limit ten times that of what she was given.
“Some say the blame is on Goldman Sachs, but the way Apple is attached, they should share responsibility,” Wozniak said.
Another tech entrepreneur, David Heinemeier Hansson, shared a similar story, saying he was offered a limit 20 times higher than his wife, even though they share assets and her credit score is better.
Goldman Sachs said that when it is determining a credit line, it doesn’t take marital status or gender into account, but the results are made from an algorithm that calculates these things. One Wall Street regulator said that even if the bias is unintentional, it’s up to Goldman to rectify those issues, and it will be held responsible for any repercussions.
The New York Department of Financial Services has opened an investigation into the matter.
Earlier on Wednesday, Senator Ron Wyden said that his office is also looking into the accusations of bias.
“As companies increasingly rely on algorithms to handle life-changing decisions and outcomes, federal regulators must do their part to stamp out discrimination before it’s written into code,” Wyden wrote on Twitter. He said the “risks of unaccountable, black-box algorithms shouldn’t be underestimated.”