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Photo: Apple

State regulators in New York are looking into whether Apple Card is violating any laws by giving some spouses lower credit limits than their mates.

Background: It all began with a series of tweets that went viral by well-known software engineer (and Ruby on Rails creator) David Heinemeier Hansson, complaining that he was given 20 times as much credit as his spouse (even though she had a higher credit rating).

  • Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak chimed in, saying he and his wife had a similar experience.

Why it matters: Apple has billed its credit card as devoid of the fees and hassles of traditional credit cards; the current incident is a reminder of just how much of Apple Card under the hood is traditional consumer credit.

Between the lines: While the issue appears specific to Apple, it may be exposing a broader industry issue.

  • What's unique about Apple Card is it is always an individual, not a family account.
  • That's meant Apple had a lot of spouses applying for the same card at the same time, highlighting the discrepancy in credit limits.

What they're saying: Apple deferred to Goldman Sachs, which makes the credit decisions as the issuing bank.

In a statement, Goldman said it doesn't know the gender or marital status of applicants, but suspects that affected spouses may have been authorized users and not primary account holders on past credit cards, and thus not building as much credit on their own.

  • Goldman invited customers who think their "credit line does not adequately reflect your creditworthiness" to request a re-evaluation."

My thought bubble: Apple is right to note that Goldman makes the decisions. But it is also true that Apple will get a significant share of the blame, in no small part because the lengths that it has gone in establishing Apple Card as its baby, even using the tag line: "Created by Apple. Not a bank."

Go deeper: The Apple Card, like checks and Venmo, fails the instant payments test

Go deeper

34 mins ago - World

Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai detained on fraud charge

An activist holds a placard highlighting China's Tiananmen Square massacre as pro-democracy media tycoon Jimmy Lai arrives at West Kowloon Magistrates' Court in Hong Kong in November. Photo: Isaac Wong/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai is being detained until an April court hearing after the pro-democracy supporter was charged Thursday with fraud, per his Apple Daily news outlet.

Why it matters: His arrest and denial of bail is another blow for the pro-democracy movement in the former British colony amid concerns about a fresh crackdown on activists.

4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Inhofe loudly sets Trump straight on defense bill

Sen. Jim Inhofe speaks with reporters in the Capitol last month. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Senator Jim Inhofe told President Trump today he'll likely fail to get two big wishes in pending defense spending legislation, bellowing into his cellphone: "This is the only chance to get our bill passed," a source who overheard part of their conversation tells Axios.

Why it matters: Republicans are ready to test whether Trump's threats of vetoing the bill, which has passed every year for more than half a century, are empty.

Conspiracy theories blow back on Trump's White House

Sidney Powell. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

President Trump has rarely met a conspiracy theory he doesn't like, but he and other Republicans now worry the wild tales told by lawyers Sidney Powell and Lin Wood may cost them in Georgia's Senate special elections.

Why it matters: The two are telling Georgians not to vote for Republicans David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler because of a bizarre, baseless and potentially self-defeating theory: It's not worth voting because the Chinese Communist Party has rigged the voting machines.