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Can Financial Services Companies Violate Fairness Regulations With Waitlists?

by Kareem Saleh
May 1, 2024 · 2 minutes
by: Kareem Saleh
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Robinhood recently announced the launch of a credit card that pays 3% cash back. Consumers who want the card have to add themselves to a waitlist, from which Robinhood plans to gradually grant access in batches.

The waitlist raises a question: Could Robinhood unintentionally discriminate based on who gets early access?

Let’s unpack the potential pitfalls:

You might think it’s fair to let those who signed up first get cards first. But that method may disadvantage those who learned about the offer later due to mere differences in time zones.

Another idea might be to clear the list based on creditworthiness.

This seems logical, but it could also be unfair to people who are new to building credit, such as recent graduates or immigrants.

What about using some other measure to clear the wait list? For example, how about offering the card to Robinhood’s most active users first?

This option could create a gender bias: men might be statistically more likely to engage in frequent trading, leaving women at a disadvantage.

So what might be a fairer solution?

Random selection of consumers and geographic areas!

This method ensures that everyone has an equal shot, regardless of when they signed up, where they live, their credit score, or how often they use Robinhood.

It’s like a lottery where everyone has an equal chance to win.

No consumer likes wait lists. Don’t make things worse for your customers by not being fair when it comes to deciding who gets off the list…and who doesn’t.

After all, the only thing nearly as universally disliked as unfairness is waiting in line!

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