Incident 92: Apple Card's Credit Assessment Algorithm Allegedly Discriminated against Women

Description: Apple Card's credit assessment algorithm was reported by Goldman-Sachs customers to have shown gender bias, in which men received significantly higher credit limits than women with equal credit qualifications.


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Alleged: Apple developed an AI system deployed by Goldman-Sachs, which harmed Apple Card female users and Apple Card female credit applicants.

Incident Stats

Incident ID
Report Count
Incident Date
Sean McGregor, Khoa Lam

CSETv0 Taxonomy Classifications

Taxonomy Details

Full Description

In November 2019, customers of Goldman-Sachs and Apple's Apple Card, the first credit offering by Goldman-Sachs, claimed that there was gender discrimination in the credit assessment algorithm that distributes credit lines, with men receiving significantly higher credit limits than women with equal credit qualifications. Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak confirmed this also happened with him and his wife and the New York Department for Financial Services have launched an investigation regarding the discrimination claim. In response to this incident, Goldman Sachs made a statement that it has not and will never make decisions based on factors like gender, race, age, sexual orientation or any other legally prohibited factors when determining credit worthiness.

Short Description

In November 2019, Apple Card clients claimed that the credit assessment algorithm possesses a gender bias in favor of men.



Harm Distribution Basis


Harm Type

Financial harm

AI System Description

Goldman-Sachs uses a credit assessment algorithm that factors credit score, credit report, and reported income to determine credit lines for clients

System Developer


Sector of Deployment

Financial and insurance activities

Relevant AI functions

Perception, Cognition, Action

AI Techniques

machine learning, daya analytics

AI Applications

data analytics, recommendation engine, decision support


United States

Named Entities

Goldman Sachs, Apple Card, Apple, Steve Wozniak, New York Department of Financial Services

Technology Purveyor

Apple, Goldman-Sachs

Beginning Date


Ending Date


Near Miss

Harm caused



Lives Lost


Laws Implicated

The Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) prohibits credit discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, age, or because you get public assistance.

Data Inputs

credit score, credit report, reported income · 2019

What started with a viral Twitter thread metastasized into a regulatory investigation of Goldman Sachs’ credit card practices after a prominent software developer called attention to differences in Apple Card credit lines for male and femal…

The Apple Card Is the Most High-Profile Case of AI Bias Yet · 2019

The algorithm responsible for credit decisions for the Apple Card is giving females lower credit limits than equally qualified males. Those are the allegations that began spreading as consumers took to social media with complaints about App…

The Apple Card algo issue: What you need to know about A.I. in everyday life · 2019

When tech entrepreneur David Heinmeier Hansson recently took to Twitter saying the Apple Card gave him a credit limit that was 20 times higher than his wife's, despite the fact that she had a higher credit score, it may have been the first …

Goldman Sachs’ misguided World Cup predictions could provide clues to the Apple Card controversy · 2019

US regulators are investigating whether Apple’s credit card, launched in August, is biased against women. Software engineer David Heinemeier Hansson reported on social media that Apple had offered him a spending limit 20 times higher than h…

Gender Bias Complaints against Apple Card Signal a Dark Side to Fintech · 2019

The possibility that Apple Card applicants were subject to gender bias opens a new frontier for the financial services sector in which regulators are largely absent, argues Karen Mills.

In late August, the Apple Card debuted with a minimali…

How the law got it wrong with Apple Card · 2021

Advocates of algorithmic justice have begun to see their proverbial “days in court” with legal investigations of enterprises like UHG and Apple Card. The Apple Card case is a strong example of how current anti-discrimination laws fall short…


A "variant" is an incident that shares the same causative factors, produces similar harms, and involves the same intelligent systems as a known AI incident. Rather than index variants as entirely separate incidents, we list variations of incidents under the first similar incident submitted to the database. Unlike other submission types to the incident database, variants are not required to have reporting in evidence external to the Incident Database. Learn more from the research paper.