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posted by martyb on Friday November 15 2019, @06:13AM   Printer-friendly
from the very-interesting dept.

A few days ago, Jamie Heinemeier Hansson went public with the observation that Apple Card gives better interest rates to husbands than to wives. Several sites have since picked up the story and now it has caught the attention of the US Senate.

I care about transparency and fairness. It's why I was deeply annoyed to be told by AppleCard representatives, "It's just the algorithm," and "It's just your credit score." I have had credit in the US far longer than David. I have never had a single late payment. I do not have any debts. David and I share all financial accounts, and my very good credit score is higher than David's. I had a career and was successful prior to meeting David, and while I am now a mother of three children — a "homemaker" is what I am forced to call myself on tax returns — I am still a millionaire who contributes greatly to my household and pays off credit in full each month. But AppleCard representatives did not want to hear any of this. I was given no explanation. No way to make my case.

From Gizmodo: Now a Senator Is Investigating the Sexist Apple Card Debacle

Wyden has lately taken up the bailiwick in fighting algorithmic bias. In April, he and Senator Corey Booker introduced the Algorithmic Accountability Act, which would obligate companies to assess their decision-making systems and training data "for impacts on accuracy, fairness, bias, discrimination, privacy and security." The bill has yet to move forward.

Earlier on SN:
Maybe Don't Keep Your Apple Card in a Leather Wallet, Apple Warns (2019)
Apple Unveils... a Titanium Credit Card (2019)

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  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by VLM on Friday November 15 2019, @12:33PM (4 children)

    by VLM (445) on Friday November 15 2019, @12:33PM (#920663)

    As a guy with a pretty large net worth I don't understand the mindset (beyond the usual political BS and grandstanding)

    I do not have any debts.

    I am still a millionaire

    pays off credit in full each month

    Running up a permanent debt to the limit and paying the minimum payment for the rest of their life is a poor people thing, not at all like the quotes above, not at all like my lifestyle.

    So ... why should they care what the limit is? So... I think Costco gave me several thousand as a limit but how could I possibly spend that each month and if I wanted to buy a $4K hot tub or something like that, it hasn't been 1990 in a couple years so rather than paying off the card when they send an old fashioned paper mail bill with a paper mail stamp and paper check, I'd just pay it to zero online before driving to costco and it works fine.

    To some extent people who throw money away on conspicuous consumption apple products are probably not downmarket poverty, so the whole discussion is weird. Its not like Apple wonders if someone who wastes $1K on a phone can pay their bill; its more like Apple is setting a limit based on acceptable losses when she forgets her purse at the bar or as an urbanite, gets jumped in some alley, vs some dude who is a much lower theft loss risk because his purchase history indicates he doesn't drunkenly walk down "diverse" alleyways at 2am or her loss history is worse than his loss history.

    Given that debt is pretty toxic its stupid to demand more for women. In a similar manner I DEMAND the government provide women with balls so they can experience the pain of being kicked in the balls, because everything gotta be equal.

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 15 2019, @03:15PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 15 2019, @03:15PM (#920695)

    I am also a millionaire, but I understand that creditors (and Apple is just the face here, the real creditor is someone else) have arbitrary and capricious rules on how they will extend it. I don't recall net worth ever being a field on an application.
    Jamie, you are fortunate not to need credit. Since creditors are still free to choose what to do with their money, you can deny them your business. Credit scoring will trend to cargo cult among all banks, but you could get a card through your local bank, who may give you a fatter line because they care about your relationship.
    "Algorithmic accountability act"? If congress passes something like this to force creditors to make bad lending decisions for the optics, they will, at the cost of everyone else.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 15 2019, @09:44PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 15 2019, @09:44PM (#920815)

    I've applied for credit far in excess of what I will ever use. I used to not care, but when I bought a house I was hurt my local bank's credit card still being at the default 4k credit line, and having 3.5k charged to it. My other account had a 15k limit with no balance. You get penalized for "close to limit" per account, no matter if you are really maxing out your credit. So I asked for an increase.

    It's dumb, but that's the way the industry operates. You can either play the game, or tilt at windmills trying to get them to change. Personally, I got the credit I wanted, and then never applied for any more.

  • (Score: 2) by The Mighty Buzzard on Saturday November 16 2019, @06:40AM (1 child)

    by The Mighty Buzzard (18) Subscriber Badge <> on Saturday November 16 2019, @06:40AM (#920904) Homepage Journal

    Faulty thinking from the bean counters. Employment status matters a hell of a lot for most people's ability to pay their debts. They just didn't put enough thought into the matter to get that rich people don't necessarily share the same risk flags as poor folks.

    My rights don't end where your fear begins.
    • (Score: 2) by VLM on Saturday November 16 2019, @01:56PM

      by VLM (445) on Saturday November 16 2019, @01:56PM (#920964)

      Employment status matters a hell of a lot for most people's ability to pay their debts.

      I would tentatively agree in principle with 90% of your argument, but I think what you're aiming at and slightly missing is the old saying that lower class gets its spending money from the government, middle from sweat/labor paychecks, and upper gets their money from investment.

      Its admittedly worth pointing out that there's a lot of "10K millionaires" out there. Just 'cause you bought a $1M california house using a $999K mortgage doesn't mean you're a millionaire, although some very poor people think so, in that sense the journalist might be faking a higher economic status while actually being extremely poor. When I was a kid just graduated I got a CC with a whopping $200 credit limit, and much like the journalist I had little trouble paying it off in full every month LOL, but looking at my purchasing habits you'd think I was extremely poor. When I was at uni I always wanted a really nice new hybrid on/off road bike so when I got my first job I saved up to buy it, and then road it for hundred (thousands?) of miles on rails-to-trails conversions, but it was like $300 so I couldn't use my CC, that being over my limit, and had to withdraw money from the ATM for three days to pay in cash, LOL. Which probably looked on my credit report like I was too poor to buy a bicycle, although I actually was "wealthy" enough to pay cash rather than credit, LOL. Maybe this happened to the "wealthy" journalist.