The @AppleCard is such a fucking sexist program. My wife and I filed joint tax returns, live in a community-property state, and have been married for a long time. Yet Apple’s black box algorithm thinks I deserve 20x the credit limit she does. No appeals work.
I’m surprised that they even let her apply for a card without the signed approval of her spouse? I mean, can you really trust women with a credit card these days??!
It gets even worse. 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 when they pay off the fucking balance in advance and in full.
The customer service experience is infuriating too. They’re quick to respond, but nobody is authorized to discuss the credit assessment process. No opportunity to present evidence. Just a “sorry, your wife is deemed to be 1/20th the credit worth you are, check again in 6 months!”
I hear that this has turned into a formal internal complaint that’s being investigated. Hopefully a moment to revisit some assumption about black-box algorithms, bias, and customer service! 🙏
Hilarious how much mansplaining is flowing in this thread. Every single poster questioning my wife’s credit score, a man. Every single defense of Apple blaming GS, a man. Almost like men are over represented in the defense/justification of discrimination that doesn’t affect them?
And the best defense of all: THAT’S JUST HOW THE CREDIT INDUSTRY WORKS. Ehh, okay? How is that anything but the most damning charge upon Apple’s pitch with their card? Did the iPhone launch pledging to please carriers and the status quo as its modus operandi? No.
This gets to the crux of how diverse teams make better products. I’d be surprised to learn if the team at Apple working on this wasn’t over-represented with men, or at least women who haven’t had to worry about credit approval. Easy to go with status quo when it flows for you.
I wasn’t even pessimistic to expect this outcome, but here we are: @AppleCard just gave my wife the VIP bump to match my credit limit, but continued to be an utter fucking failure of a customer service experience. Let me explain...
She spoke to two Apple reps. Both very nice, courteous people representing an utterly broken and reprehensible system. The first person was like “I don’t know why, but I swear we’re not discriminating, IT’S JUST THE ALGORITHM”. I shit you not. “IT’S JUST THE ALGORITHM!”.
Second rep went on about how she couldn’t actually access the real reasoning (again IT’S JUST THE ALGORITHM is implied). But then revealed that my wife really should check her credit score, again implying that it was less than mine, and that’s why. Even named TransUnion to check.
So obviously we both furiously signup for the fucking $25/month credit-check bullshit shakedown that is TransUnion. Maybe someone stole my wife’s identity? Even though we’ve verified there was nothing wrong previously. Guess what: HER CREDIT SCORE WAS HIGHER THAN MINE!!!
So let’s recap here: Apple offers a credit card that bases its credit assessment on a black-box algorithm that 6 different reps across Apple and GS have no visibility into. Even several layers of management. An internal investigation. IT’S JUST THE ALGORITHM!
So nobody understands THE ALGORITHM. Nobody has the power to examine or check THE ALGORITHM. Yet everyone we’ve talked to from both Apple and GS are SO SURE that THE ALGORITHM isn’t biased and discriminating in any way. That’s some grade-A management of cognitive dissonance.
Apple has handed the customer experience and their reputation as an inclusive organization over to a biased, sexist algorithm it does not understand, cannot reason with, and is unable to control. When a trillion-dollar company simply accepts the algorithmic overlord like this...
What’s even worse is how complete and unquestioned the faith of these Apple reps were in the wisdom of THE ALGORITHM. To be point of essentially credit shaming my wife, assuming her score must have been lower than mine, and roping us into a TransUnion shakedown to check.
So yeah, I completely stand by my original charge: @AppleCard is a sexist program. It does not matter what the intent of individual Apple reps are, it matters what THE ALGORITHM they’ve placed their complete faith in does. And what it does is discriminate. This is fucked up.
It’s also fucked up how they chose to raise my wife’s limit without ever addressing the root of the issue. Let’s just, essentially, bribe one loud mouth on Twitter, then we don’t have to actually examine our faulty faith in THE ALGORITHM.
Now excuse me while I go Kung Fu fighting with the dark patterns that surely guards any attempt to cancel this monthly shakedown subscription.
This is the soft undermining of people’s sense of self. The algorithm might discriminate out of biased historical training data, faulty but uncorrectable inputs, programming errors, or malicious intent. You’ll never be able to know.
You can follow @dhh.
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