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International Journal of Bank Marketing

Mobile banking service quality and customer relationships


Manon Arcand, Sandrine PromTep, Isabelle Brun, Lova Rajaobelina,
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Manon Arcand, Sandrine PromTep, Isabelle Brun, Lova Rajaobelina, "Mobile banking service quality and customer
relationships", International Journal of Bank Marketing, https://doi.org/10.1108/IJBM-10-2015-0150
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Mobile banking service quality and customer relationships

Abstract

Purpose: This study investigates the multidimensional concept of mobile banking service
quality (security/privacy, practicity, design/aesthetics, enjoyment and sociality) and the
impact of the latter on the quality of the relationship (commitment, trust and satisfaction)
between consumers and their primary financial institution.
Methodology: An online survey was conducted using a sample of 375 respondents, all
owners of a mobile device and all accustomed to conducting banking activities on mobile
platforms. Results were analysed using structural modelling techniques (EQS 6.1).
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Findings: Findings confirm that trust significantly and positively impacts


commitment/satisfaction. Mobile banking service quality dimensions also influence trust and
commitment/satisfaction. Trust is associated with security/privacy and practicity (regarded as
utilitarian factors), while commitment/satisfaction is driven by enjoyment and sociality
(dimensions more hedonic by nature). No link is found between interface design and either
trust or commitment/satisfaction.
Originality/value: This study contributes to bank marketing theory since it is the first to
demonstrate how key mobile banking service quality dimensions drive customer perceptions
of relationship quality. In so doing, this research extends beyond mobile adoption (short term)
by addressing customer engagement with financial institutions and issues relating to
relationship quality (long term). Regarding managerial implications, findings signal to
marketers in the financial services industry the importance of not underestimating the power
of hedonic factors (sociality and enjoyment) when developing mobile platforms. These
dimensions are often overlooked in the banking industry, a sector in which consumers are
believed to be mostly driven by utilitarian motives.
Keywords: Mobile service quality, bank marketing, relationship quality, commitment, trust,
satisfaction.
Article classification: Research paper

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Introduction

In recent years, households around the world have witnessed a tremendous influx of portable
electronic devices. Consider, for example, mobile telephone penetration among US adults
which currently stands at 80%, 71% of which are Internet-enabled smartphones (Board of
Governors of the Federal Reserve System, 2015). With adoption having quickly spread to a
mass of consumers, even the banking industry could not escape the trend. Indeed, owing to
the ever increasing number of mobile devices equipped with an Internet connection, notably
3G and 4G, mobile banking has grown rapidly (Laukkanen, 2007; Shunbo et al., 2016).
Mobile banking, in concrete terms, refers to “[. . .] an interaction in which a customer is
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connected to a bank via a mobile device such as cell phone, smartphone or personal digital
assistant (PDA)” (Laukkanen and Kiviniemi, 2010, p. 373). It complements existing
electronic channels such as automated banking machines (ABMs) and Internet banking
(Hoehle et al., 2012) adding features such as mobile payment capability and mobile wallet
functions (Wessels and Drennan, 2010; Moser, 2015). In 2014, an estimated 42% of
US adults were mobile banking users, a 24% jump over 2013 (Yeager, 2014). Growth in this
segment of the financial services industry continues despite consumer concerns over a number
of key e-banking issues such as security/privacy (Sreejesh et al., 2016), connection failures
and the perceived risk of identity/personal information theft (Rawashdeh, 2015).

Mobile options available to consumers have expanded considerably in only a few short years.
In transitioning from traditional branch operations and first generation Web-based solutions to
the mobile Web and mobile applications, banks face challenges anew in managing and
building significant relationships with their customer base. For example, by nature, electronic
services are self-service technologies intended to replace human interaction, an important
component of relationship marketing, by human/computer interactive system dialogue
(Hoffman and Novak, 1996; Sang and Rono, 2015). Then again, mobile banking also features
considerably enhanced flexibility, ubiquity and connectivity (Ha et al., 2012), and comes
replete with proactive capabilities (alerts, push notifications and geolocation) for customizing
the offer and seizing the social potential of these platforms. With the advent of mobile
banking, fresh insight is needed to understand more fully the complex facets of
consumer/bank relationships (Lin et al., 2014).

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To engage and retain mobile customers, banks need to develop effective mobile strategies
such as highlighting and promoting the benefits and value of the mobile services (Laukkanen,
2016). Service quality as a concept has been widely examined in marketing literature and
resulted in the development of an instrument of measure known as SERVQUAL
(Parasuraman et al., 1988). Service quality has also been investigated in electronic
environments and while studies have revealed interesting new findings, they have received
less attention in e-banking (Ayo et al., 2016). In the banking sector, service quality research
has tended to focus primarily upon Internet, banking machine and telephone banking (Curran
and Meuter, 2005). There is a growing need to understand service quality in the rapidly
expanding mobile context, especially given that customers perhaps value service quality
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dimensions differently in mobile versus Web-based channels. The concepts of service quality,
e-service quality and mobile service quality are all different and must therefore be revisited.

Moreover, to date, few studies have assessed the impact of mobile service quality on customer
relationships with their financial institutions. Indeed, Shaikh and Karjaluoto (2015) clearly
demonstrate that research has tended to focus mainly on factors which impact attitudes
towards banking and mobile banking adoption based on the technology acceptance model
(TAM) (Davis, 1989). That being said, we believe it is important to examine mobile banking
not only from an adoption standpoint but also from a relationship marketing perspective, an
approach rarely observed in topical literature. More specifically, it is important to consider the
impact of mobile service quality on variables of relationship quality (trust, satisfaction and
commitment as per De Wulf et al., 2001). To date, few studies have probed the impact of
mobile service quality on satisfaction (Sagib and Zapan, 2014; Thakur, 2014; Shunbo et al.,
2016.) and to our knowledge, the impact of mobile service quality on the other two relational
variables (trust and commitment) has yet to be surveyed in the banking sector. This study
seeks to fill that gap.

In short, this study seeks to empirically test the impact of mobile banking service quality
(i.e. security/privacy, practicity, design/aesthetics, sociality and enjoyment) on relationship
quality (trust, satisfaction and commitment). The aim is to provide a better understanding of
how the quality of mobile services made available through portable devices enhances the
customer/bank relationship. This study will contribute to bank marketing literature while
expanding the scope of relationship marketing and service quality knowledge. Findings will
help financial institutions develop strategies designed to engage customers, serve them better
and enhance their confidence in mobile banking services.

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This article comprises four sections. The first presents the conceptual background, main
variables studied and hypotheses tested. The second details research and data collection
methodology. The third presents the findings. The fourth and final section discusses the
implications of findings for academics and practitioners, points out study limitations and
proffers suggestions for future research.

Literature review and research hypotheses


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Drawing on existing relationship marketing and service quality literature on the one hand and
bank marketing literature on the other, we define the concepts of customer relationship quality
and mobile banking service quality. Hypotheses on how mobile banking service quality
impacts relationship quality variables (trust, commitment and satisfaction) are then proposed.

Relationship quality with financial institution

Relationship quality is a construct comprising several key dimensions which together reflect
the overall nature of relationships between businesses and consumers (Hennig-Thurau et al.
2002). According to Grönroos (2004), customer perceptions of relationship quality, defined as
‘long term quality formation’ are holistic and cumulative, and form a dynamic construct based
on multichannel interaction, namely offline, online and mobile. A number of authors
(Palmatier, 2008; De Wulf et al., 2001; Vesel and Zabkar, 2010; Brun et al. 2014) construe
relationship quality as having three key components, namely satisfaction, trust and
commitment. Indeed, these specific dimensions are shown to be important in an online
context when operationalized as independent dimensions (Chung and Shin, 2010; Walsh et al.
2010). This study therefore conceptualizes relationship quality, using the three key
dimensions of trust, satisfaction and commitment in the capacity of related but independent
constructs. Relationship quality perceptions are also considered at the institution level from a
holistic perspective versus a mobile- or channel-specific perspective. The following section
discusses the constructs and hypothesized relationships.

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Commitment

In relationship marketing, the concept of commitment is viewed as an ‘enduring desire to


maintain a valued relationship’ (Moorman et al., 1992, p. 316), where consumers are prepared
to invest resources and make significant efforts in order to do so (Eastlick et al., 2006;
Morgan and Hunt, 1994). It is generally conceptualized based on three dimensions, namely
affective, normative and calculative. Each dimension implies different motivations or
mindsets for maintaining a relationship. Allen and Meyer (1990) define them as follows:
affective commitment is a positive emotional attachment or psychological bond, calculative
commitment entails a rational, economic calculation of the benefits sacrificed and losses
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incurred were the relationship to be terminated and normative commitment is a moral-based


attachment or obligation to an organization. According to Vesel and Zabkar (2010), the sense
of moral obligation to continue to conduct business with an institution is not as commonplace
in the retail or financial services sectors. Additionally, some studies show that normative and
affective commitment are often highly correlated (Allen and Meyer, 1990; Bansal et al.
2004). As a result, drawing on findings by Vesel and Zabkar (2010), normative commitment
has not been retained for the purpose of this study. Lastly, several studies shed light on the
paramount impact of the affective dimension: 1) Cater and Zabkar (2009) find that only the
affective dimension significantly affects customer loyalty; and, 2) Vatanasombut et al. (2008)
show the powerful impact of affective commitment on customer retention in the online
banking industry. Therefore, for the study at hand, only the affective dimension of
commitment has been retained as it would appear to be the most relevant in the present-day
banking context. Moreover, it would seem more relevant to examine what makes consumers
‘want’ to remain in their relationship with their mobile banking provider (affective
commitment) rather than what makes them feel that they ‘must or ought’ to stay (calculative
and normative commitment).

Readers will note that while commitment has been widely examined in the traditional context,
the concept has commanded considerably less attention in the online environment. In an
e-commerce setting, it would appear that loyalty tends to attract the favour of researchers.
However, Chung and Shin (2010) propound that commitment in the online context is
important and not to be neglected. This being said, commitment and loyalty do present some
common threads (e.g. continued patronage), especially respecting the affective dimension
which refers to the sense of loyalty felt by customers (Geyskens et al., 1996). This study

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therefore draws on e-loyalty literature to better support the hypotheses regarding commitment.
Furthermore, since literature focusing on these relationships is, in some instances, more
abundant for online settings (e.g. desktops/laptops) than for mobile platforms (e.g.
smartphones/tablets), studies relating to the former are often used for formulating hypotheses
respecting the mobile environment.

Satisfaction

Satisfaction can be viewed as a key construct for explaining all manner of relationships
between two parties (Sanzo et al., 2003), and is situated at the core of exchange-based
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relationships (Vesel and Zabkar, 2010). Satisfaction is deemed the result of a comparison
between actual performance and expectations regarding a firm or ‘the extent to which benefits
actually received meet or exceed the perceived equitable level of benefits’ (Gruen, 1995, p.
456). While these definitions could be considered more transactional in nature, Oliver (1997)
believes satisfaction to be a complex emotional response to a consumption experience.
Indeed, many authors agree that satisfaction stems from the emotion felt when consumers
compare experiences with previous ones (Chang and Wang, 2008; Flavian et al., 2006b). For
the purpose of this research, satisfaction is considered a cumulative construct and defined as
‘an affective customer condition that results from a global evaluation of all the aspects that
make up the customer relationship with the service provider rather than being a transaction-
specific phenomenon’ (Anderson et al., 1994; Thakur, 2014).

Trust

Morgan and Hunt (1994) and De Wulf et al. (2001) define trust as ‘consumer confidence in a
retailer’s reliability and integrity.’ Similarly, for Moorman et al. (1992), trust is defined as a
‘willingness to rely on a partner (or firm) in whom [in which] one has confidence.’ Other
authors (Flavian et al., 2006a; Mayer et al., 1995; McKnight et al., 2002) recognize trust as a
multi-dimensional concept with three components that define the perception of
trustworthiness: competence (firm possesses the wherewithal to perform tasks effectively and
reliably), benevolence (caring and motivation to act in the customer’s interest) and integrity
(honesty and respect of promises). Respecting benevolence, Vesel and Zabkar (2010) argue
that in a retail environment, supply and demand go a long way towards regulating the market
and ensuring that broader market mechanisms lead to consumer welfare. Accordingly, they

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posit that the measure of benevolence is more appropriate in studies on charitable
organizations than in studies on retail entities. In keeping with the ideas advocated by Vesel
and Zabkar (2010), the study at hand uses a one-dimensional trust construct with items
reflecting both credibility and expertise since the latter dimension appeared to be the most
relevant to the banking sector. Furthermore, while the facets of trust may differ from the
conceptual standpoint, they have been shown to be empirically inseparable (Bhattacherjee,
2002) which further supports a one-dimensional approach. Indeed, other studies (e.g. Bart et
al., 2005) consider trust as a unidimensional construct with inherent facets.

While commitment, satisfaction and trust are considered dimensions of relationship quality,
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topical literature supports interrelations which provide for the development of the first
hypotheses of this study. Literature to date indeed points to trust as an antecedent of
commitment and successful relationships (Morgan and Hunt, 1994; Cater and Zabkar, 2009;
Geyskens et al., 1996). More specifically, Mukherjee and Nath (2003) find this relationship to
be supported in the online banking context.

As for satisfaction and trust, they are two closely intertwined concepts. Many empirical
studies conducted in various sectors, including the financial services industry, speak to the
positive impact of trust on satisfaction (Gummerus et al., 2004; Kim et al., 2009). Kim et al.
(2009) indeed argue that, in the financial services sector in particular, trust is the leading
factor for ensuring satisfaction. We therefore posit as follows:

H1a: Trust positively impacts affective commitment to one’s primary financial institution
H1b: Trust positively impacts satisfaction regarding one’s primary financial institution

Service quality: From traditional retail to Internet and mobile banking

Traditional retail service quality

Service quality is an important topic in marketing and has been broadly investigated in
traditional retail settings. Parasuraman et al. (1985) and Grönroos (1984) substantiate the
bases of service quality which is generally defined as a global consumer judgement or attitude
relating to service and resulting from consumer comparisons of their expectations and

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perceptions of actual service performance (Choudhury, 2013). Building on this conceptual
definition, Parasuraman et al. (1988) developed SERVQUAL, an instrument designed to
measure the five dimensions of reliability, tangibles, empathy, responsiveness and assurance.
SERVQUAL currently remains the most widely used instrument for measuring and
operationalizing service quality in traditional settings (Choudhury, 2013). However,
traditional banking services are characterized by personal interaction between customers and
employees. As a result, the majority of the dimensions/items of service quality have been
developed to capture the nature of interpersonal service encounters during the transaction
process. This initial conceptualization of service quality evaluation cannot be adequately
applied to virtual environments (Parasuraman and Grewal, 2000; Bauer et al., 2005), where
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customers interact with technology rather than with people based on a self-service logic.

E-service quality

In e-service environments, the quality of the website as the technical interface is of vital
importance (Bauer et al., 2005) given that it replaces human interaction. Since the technology
actually delivers the service (Ganguli and Roy, 2011), it is referred to as self-service
technology (Sang and Rono, 2015), bringing about the need to revisit the definition of e-
service quality. Santos (2003) defines e-service quality as the overall evaluation by consumers
of the calibre and excellence of the e-service offering in the virtual marketplace. Similarly,
Parasuraman et al. (2005) define e-service quality as the extent to which a website facilitates
efficient, effective shopping, purchasing and delivery (George and Kumar, 2014). New scales
therefore had to be developed to make allowance for these differences. Dimensions added
include ease of use, accessibility and security (Ganguli and Roy, 2011; Ramseook-Munhurrun
and Naidoo, 2011) and are consistent with the benefits readily associated with Internet
banking such as time saving, ubiquity and 24-hour availability (Ramseook-Munhurrun and
Naidoo, 2011). As electronic channels become increasingly more sophisticated, service
providers, including banks, are turning to multichannel and mobile offerings to satisfy
customers (Laukkanen, 2007). According to Ha et al. (2012) and Laukkanen (2007), as a
result of differences in how information is presented (e.g. screen size, device display and
small keyboards), style of interaction (e.g. customers on the go) and technological
developments, commerce conducted using mobile devices is more than a simple extension of
Web-based trade. Despite some additional privacy/security risks, the mobile channel comes

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ripe with the potential for multiple value-added services for banks and customers, including
location-based customized content (Hoehle et al., 2012) and proactive information pushed to
consumers such as alerts from bank representatives or friends (Ha et al., 2012). Hence the
definition of service quality and the dimensions used to capture quality in a mobile
environment may differ from the Web-based channel experience and need to be adapted
accordingly.

Mobile service quality


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Lin (2013) defines mobile banking service quality as a global consumer judgement of the
quality and excellence of mobile content delivery in the context of m-banking. Studies
exploring the dimensions of mobile banking service quality (Sagip and Zapan, 2014; Jun and
Palacios, 2016) and motivations for using/adopting mobile banking (Hanudin et al., 2012;
Chemingui and Iallouna, 2013; Ha et al., 2012) employ dimensions primarily associated with
utilitarian consumer value such as perceived usefulness, perceived risk, perceived
compatibility (with lifestyle or device), responsiveness, reliability, security, perceived cost
and ease of use. Interestingly, some authors have integrated into their model some dimensions
more in keeping with hedonic consumer values, dimensions particularly relevant to the mobile
context such as perceived enjoyment (Hanudin et al., 2012; Chemingui and Iallouna, 2013),
as well as a social dimension (Singh and Srivastava, 2014; Hanafizadeh et al., 2014). In fact,
individuals use smartphones and mobile applications for the majority of their social media
interaction (Kumari, 2016). Hedonic elements such as perceived enjoyment and social aspects
can play an important role in evaluating the quality of professional, information-based Web
services which tend to dominate in e-banking (Bauer et al., 2005). An enhanced
understanding of the specifics of mobile banking service quality and how the latter relates to
commitment, trust and satisfaction is needed to identify the primary drivers of successful
customer relationships in the banking sector.

Mobile banking service quality scale

As no service quality scale for mobile banking could be found in existing literature, a
multidimensional scale including security/privacy, practicity and design/aesthetics has been
created ad hoc based on studies seeking to assess service quality in both Web-based (Barnes

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and Vidgen, 2003; Bressolles, 2006) and mobile contexts (Sagib and Zapan, 2014). Since the
security/privacy and practicity dimensions relate essentially to utilitarian value and consumers
also consider hedonic values in their choices (Babin et al., 1994), we enrich the contribution
of our research by investigating the impact of other hedonic dimensions. While utilitarian
benefits generally relate to efficiency, productivity, safety and convenience (Laukkanen and
Lauronen, 2005), hedonic values refer to perceived fun and social experience (Arnold and
Reynolds, 2003). According to Babin and James (2010, p. 471), value and service represent
two inseparable concepts, with consumer values (or motivations) explaining why consumers
prefer a particular channel, whether retail, online or mobile (Arnold and Reynolds, 2003; Ono
et al. 2012). For this reason, we include enjoyment and sociality as important hedonic
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dimensions given that they are readily associated with mobile devices. The latter, often
considered entertainment devices, benefit from an aura of perceived enjoyment. This hedonic
factor of intrinsic motivation positively impacts mobile banking service use (Hanudin et al.,
2012; Chemingui and Iallouna, 2013). We therefore believe that these dimensions can play an
essential role in developing relationships with mobile consumers in the banking sector.

In keeping with the consumer value framework (Zeithaml, 1988; Babin et al., 1994), mobile
banking services must satisfy both utilitarian and hedonic customer values. Therefore, the
mobile banking service quality scale comprises the utilitarian (security/privacy, practicity)
(Bhatt, 2016) as well as the hedonic or social aspects (design/aesthetics, sociality and
enjoyment) which can be associated with mobile devices (Chemingui and Iallouna, 2013). The
scale is therefore useful for identifying whether or not utilitarian and hedonic dimensions are
important and/or complementary in ensuring relationship quality. These five dimensions are
defined in the following sections and accompanied by hypotheses regarding their predicted
impact on commitment, trust and satisfaction.

Let us begin by introducing the utilitarian dimensions of our mobile banking service quality
scale and how they relate to relationship quality.

Utilitarian dimensions of mobile banking service quality

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● Security/privacy and relationship quality
As mentioned previously, the security/privacy aspect forms a part of most e-service quality
scales. Elbehiery et al. (2014, p. 137) note as follows: ‘Security is no longer an afterthought in
anyone’s software design and development process.’ Rather it is deemed a fundamental
dimension for driving Internet banking (Bolar, 2014) and mobile banking adoption (Singh and
Srivastava, 2014; Sreejesh et al., 2016). For the purposes of this study, the construct is
defined as the perceived security/privacy involved in the transmission of information via a
mobile device. In other words, prior to adopting mobile banking services, consumers must
perceive them as safe to use. Mobility increases the threat to security/privacy since there is
more perceived risk in mobile banking given both remote connectivity and potential loss or
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theft of the mobile device (Hanafizadeh et al., 2014). From the standpoint of relationship
quality, security/privacy proves to positively impact e-trust (Casalo et al., 2008; Kim et al.,
2009; Rajaobelina et al., 2014). Transaction security in an electronic environment also proves
to be an important predictor of e-satisfaction (Szymanski and Hise, 2000), especially in the
financial services industry (Liao and Cheung 2008).

Lastly, there would appear to be a direct link between security and satisfaction, as well as an
indirect link between security and trust and commitment (Chung and Shin, 2010). Hence this
study posits the following hypothesis:

H2: Perceived security/privacy associated with the mobile platform of one’s financial
institution positively impacts: commitment (H2a), trust (H2b) and satisfaction (H2c).

● Practicity and relationship quality


For the purpose of this study, perceived usefulness and ease of use have been grouped
together into a single dimension termed practicity on the e-service scale. This deliberate
choice reflects the hypertextual/hypermedia nature of electronic environments in which
information and function are intertwined as e-content. Text and images convey information
and serve as navigational cues based on hyperlink clickability, resulting in an environment in
which content (usefulness of information) and function (ease of use of information content)
cannot be dissociated (Garrett, 2002) from one another. Chae et al. (2002) also group together
content and interaction, as well as connection and contextual quality in their electronic service
quality scale. Encompassing ergonomic criteria used for interface design and inspection in

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human computer interaction (HCI) literature, the term practicity refers to that which is use-
oriented and supports interactivity to enhance self-efficacy with the medium (Brangier et al.,
2015). For the purpose of the study at hand, practicity is defined as a composite of the
perceived usefulness and ease of use of content and function by the users of mobile devices.

In an examination of the mobile services sector in Korea, Kim and Lee (2013) find that
perceived usefulness and ease of use significantly impact customer satisfaction. Easy access
to Web-based information also positively influences trust and commitment (Bauer et al.,
2002). Casalo et al. (2008) observe that perceived usability indirectly impacts customer
loyalty by enhancing satisfaction in a Web-based environment. In consideration of existing
literature, this study posits the following hypothesis:
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H3: Perceived practicity associated with the mobile platform of one’s financial institution
positively impacts: commitment (H3a), trust (H3b) and satisfaction (H3c)

Hedonic dimensions of mobile banking service quality

Having presented the classic utilitarian dimensions of mobile banking service quality, let us
now turn to the hedonic counterparts of design/aesthetics, sociality and enjoyment.

● Design/aesthetics and relationship quality


It has been amply demonstrated that content and design should be ‘well laid out’ on website
pages. A carefully selected, well balanced set of graphic cues also attracts consumer attention
to a brand’s Web presence, thereby enhancing effective website design and boosting
conversion performance (Rosen and Purinton, 2004; Hausman and Siekpe, 2009). Beyond
conversion, from a customer relationship perspective, content and design further contribute to
consumer brand identification through a sense of belonging and feeling of sameness. Indeed,
they experience a sharing of brand attributes. Consider, for example, consumers who purchase
Apple products as part of their pursuit of a lifestyle of elegance and simplicity. For the
purposes of this article, design is defined as the aesthetics of content and function presented in
a mobile device. Respecting e-commerce, Urban et al. (2009) demonstrate that website design
is closely and positively connected to online trust. Kim et al. (2009) observe a positive
relationship between website design and satisfaction. Chung and Shin (2010) find that website
design directly influences satisfaction while indirectly impacting trust and commitment. In the
context of mobile commerce, Cyr et al. (2006) demonstrate that design/aesthetics indirectly

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impact user loyalty intentions towards mobile services. Thus the following hypothesis is
proposed:

H4: Design/aesthetics associated with the mobile platform of one’s financial institution
positively impacts: commitment (H4a), trust (H4b) and satisfaction (H4c).

● Sociality and relationship quality


Internet technology has propelled consumers into a social era (Bernoff and Li, 2008) where
everyone can contribute and interact with unacquainted consumers online (Cook, 2008).
Aljukhadar and Senecal (2011), in their segmentation of online consumers, show that a large
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proportion of consumers, referred to as social thrivers, are especially likely to use interactive
Web-based features to interact socially. Some research also establishes the need for social
interaction as a factor driving adoption/use of self-service technology, including mobile
banking services (Hanafizadeh et al., 2014; Sang and Rono, 2015). Further, Bauer et al.
(2005, p. 159) argue that virtual elements providing for the development of customer-to-
customer interaction create a form of social capital for banks which can boost relationship
quality by enhancing the perceived benefits of long term relations with e-banking
organizations. Lastly, Nambisan and Watt (2011) point to sociality as a key dimension of
service quality which explains attitudes towards organizations that provide support through
online communities.

In the context of mobile banking, sociality does not occur among friends but rather with
customer representatives and other customers. Hence, sociality is defined as the social
benefits derived from interacting with others (e.g. consumers, banking representatives) via a
mobile device. In the mobile banking services environment, connectedness enables users to
chat online with a customer service representative whenever they perceive the need to do so,
while interaction with others relates to financial institutions offering relevant customer
testimonials on mobile platforms. Sociality enhances customer perception of both the website
and the online relationship (Cyr et al., 2007). The following hypotheses test the connection
between sociality and customer relationship quality in mobile banking:

H5: Perceived sociality associated with the mobile platform of one’s financial institution
positively impacts: commitment (H5a), trust (H5b) and satisfaction (H5c).

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● Enjoyment and relationship quality
Enjoyment is defined as perceived intrinsic motivation based on the pleasure or fun
experienced when using an electronic device (Giovannini et al., 2015). To capture the hedonic
or pleasurable facet of the Web-based context, various authors extend the technology
acceptance model to include enjoyment as an additional antecedent to attitude towards the
Web (Van der Heijden, 2004; Venkatesh et al., 2003).

The emotional and experiential value derived from perception of enjoyment play a positive
significant role in motivating the adoption and/or use of innovative technologies (Davis et al.,
1992; Moon and Kim, 2001) including the adoption of mobile banking platforms (Hanafizade
et al., 2014; Sang and Rono, 2015; Shaikh and Karjaluoto, 2015). In the banking sector,
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Bauer et al. (2005) even demonstrate that enjoyment increases both the duration of Internet
banking visits and customer loyalty. These findings extend also to the general mobile services
context according to Giovannini et al. (2015) who substantiate enjoyment as an antecedent of
mobile trust. The impact of website enjoyment on e-satisfaction has also been researched
(Chen and Xie, 2008; Nusair and Kandampully, 2008), albeit mostly through qualitative
studies. Hampton-Sosa and Koufaris (2005) indeed stress that e-trust is enhanced by a site’s
enjoyment level.

Based on the findings of the aforementioned studies, this article posits the following
hypothesis:

H6: Perceived enjoyment associated with the mobile platform of one’s financial institutinon
positively impacts: commitment (H6a), trust (H6b) and satisfaction (H6c).

Figure 1 illustrates the model and corresponding hypotheses.

<Please insert Figure 1 approximately here>

Methodology

The following section details sample and data collection procedures, and presents the
measurement scales used in this study.

14
Sample, procedures and data collection

The study sample consists of mobile banking consumers. To be eligible to take part in the
survey, respondents had to be at least 18 years of age and use a mobile application or mobile
website provided by their financial institution to conduct banking activities using a
smartphone or tablet. People employed with a financial institution were deemed ineligible.
When answering, respondents were asked to refer to the financial institution with which they
carried out the majority of their financial transactions. The questionnaire was developed by
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the research team and pretested twice to validate the measures and ensure that the
questions/statements were clear and well understood. The first pre-test was performed online
with a convenience sample of 115 respondents. The time required to complete the streamlined
questionnaire was estimated at about 20 minutes, and was then forwarded to a large North
American marketing research firm to be administered to their Canadian online consumer
panel (n=151). Final data was collected in cooperation with the same marketing research firm
tasked with randomly sending invitations to panellists. To ensure proper gender and age
representation across the sample, recruitment quotas were set based on these variables.
Incentives were offered to panellists such as gift cards, points programs, firm’s partner
products or services. Of the 3806 individuals invited to take part, 375 questionnaires were
completed and deemed usable for our study for a completion rate of 9.8%, based on the
procedure advocated by Paraschiv (2013) for assessing survey response rates by Web-based
panellists. The response rate figure proved high and compared with the average of 3.94%
observed by Paraschiv (2013). Online surveys provide a number of advantages compared with
their traditional counterparts, especially in instances such as this study (Chang and Vowles,
2013). In addition to being time-efficient and flexible for respondents, they eliminate
concerns about interviewer bias and geographical boundaries, as respondents can be reached
anywhere in the world. An online survey was considered the format of choice as it was
particularly well suited to both the objectives of this study and the target population. As
suggested by Sparrow (2007), quality control procedures were put in place to ensure rigour:
check questions were used (i.e. if you read this question, please answer 2) and respondents
showing repetitive patterns in their answers were deleted from the final sample.

15
On average, typical respondents had been clients of their primary financial institution for
18 years (ranging from a few months to 60 years). Half of the sample was male (50.9%), and
consumers of all ages were represented. Thirty-eight percent of respondents had completed an
undergraduate degree compared with 46% who had not; a further 16% had obtained a
graduate degree. Sixty-nine percent of the respondents used a smartphone for m-banking and
31% a tablet. They reported using mobile banking capability an average of 9.2 times a month
and spending an average of 6.21 minutes per visit. The overall sample profile proved fairly
representative of mobile banking users (eMarketer, 2015a).

Measurement of constructs
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To maximize the content validity of the measures, scales developed by other marketing
scholars were used and adapted to the context of the study at hand. Most were scales used in
an online context that were adapted to a mobile environment. All were 7-point Likert-type
scales ranging from (1) ‘strongly disagree’ to (7) ‘strongly agree’. Commitment to the
institution was assessed using three items adapted from Liang and Chen (2009) and
Vatanasombut et al. (2008) to measure the affective dimension. Items relating to trust were
adapted from Bhattacherjee (2002) and Chouk and Perrien (2005), while those relating to
satisfaction were drawn from Ping (1993). Constructs relating to the mobile banking service
quality scale were adapted from topical literature on e-service quality. Design/aesthetics were
derived from Bressolles (2006), and security/privacy items evaluated using items drawn from
Chen and Barnes (2007). Perceived enjoyment was adapted from items employed to measure
intrinsic motivation to use a system as proposed by Davis et al. (1992), while practicity was
measured using a mix of items from perceived usefulness (Davis, 1989) and ease of use
(Bressolles, 2006). Lastly, considering the absence of any specific scale for measuring
sociality, the latter was evaluated based on two items freely adapted from the social
connectedness dimension of the Social Capital Benefits and Sources scale by Williams (2006)
in studies of social networking sites. To reflect the mobile banking services environment, the
aspect relating to connectedness (‘have a feeling of being connected to others’) has been
replaced by ‘I can chat online with a customer service representative from the institution
whenever I need to on my mobile’. Similarly, the aspect pertaining to updates about friends
(‘I am updated about my friends’) has been replaced by ‘the institution offers relevant
customer testimonials on my mobile’.

16
Results

Psychometric properties of scales

The psychometric properties of the scales and testing of the hypotheses with regard to the
structural model were analysed using EQS6.1 (Bentler, 2004). Since study data presented
limited degrees of skewness and kurtosis, in addition to some incomplete data, we used the
robust methodology available with EQS to address these issues. Cronbach’s alpha values
were calculated to assess the reliability of measures and factor loadings, and average variance
extracted (AVE) was used to assess the validity of the scales. Results point to (See Table 1)
alpha values all over 0.80, well above the recommended threshold of 0.70 (Nunally, 1978;
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Fornell and Larcker, 1981). Factor loadings (λ) are all higher than 0.70 and average variance
extracted for the constructs range from between 0.70 and 0.88, all greater than the 0.50
threshold recommended by Fornell and Larcker (1981). Average variance extracted for each
construct is also greater than the squared correlation coefficient between factors as
recommended by Fornell and Larcker (1981), evidencing discriminant validity (See Table 2),
except respecting commitment and satisfaction which exhibit a correlation in excess of 0.90.
Commitment and satisfaction were subsequently merged into a single construct,
demonstrating that even though, in theory, they are distinct constructs, for respondents they
are closely associated and consumers tend to lump them together (De Wulf et al. 2001, p. 36).
A similar discrimination issue between trust, satisfaction and/or commitment has been
reported in many studies (Brun et al., 2014; Vesel and Zabkar, 2010).

<Please insert Table 1 approximately here>

<Please insert Table 2 approximately here>

Common method bias

Since we used self-reported data, there was the potential for the occurrence of common
method variance. Two procedures were carried out to address the issue. First, a Harmon one-
factor test was conducted (Podsakoff and Organ, 1986). Results from this test suggested the
presence of four factors (not just one), indicating that common method effects were not a

17
likely contaminant of the results observed in this investigation. Further, as recommended by
Podsakoff et al. (2003), the multifactor measurement model was tested, with an additional
method factor. Results from these analyses indicated that while the method factor did improve
model fit (CFI from 0.963 to 0.975), it accounted for only a small proportion (14%) of the
total variance compared with the average substantive variance of the items (64%). The result
was a ratio of substantive variance to method variance of over 4.5, which is in the low range
for social science studies according to the analyses reported by William et al. (1989). The
outcome of these tests suggests that common method variance is not a pervasive issue in this
study.
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SEM analysis and hypotheses testing

The adequacy of the structural model was then estimated (Yuan-Bentler χ2 = 444.109(209),
p = 0.000; CFI = 0.963; RMSEA = 0.046 (0.038 – 0.053)). According to the parameters
recommended by Hu and Bentler (1999) for CFI (cut-off value of 0.95) and Browne and
Cudeck (1993) for RMESA (below 0.05) to supplement chi-square tests, the proposed model
fits the data extremely well. Further, the χ2/df ratio is lower than 5, suggesting a good fit
according to Joreskog (1969).

Turning to hypothesis testing, results show that trust significantly impacts


commitment/satisfaction (γ = 0.69, p < 0.05), thereby supporting H1. Regarding the impact of
the different dimensions of mobile banking service quality in the model, we note that
commitment/satisfaction and trust in the mobile banking context are explained by different
dimensions. Actually, commitment/satisfaction are positively and directly impacted only by
hedonic dimensions such as perceived enjoyment (γ = 0.26, p < 0.05) and sociality (γ = 0.14,
p < 0.05) as proposed under H5a and H6a. In contrast, trust is directly associated with
utilitarian dimensions such as security/privacy (γ = 0.39, p < 0.05) and practicity (γ = 0.18,
p < 0.05), as proposed by H2b and H3b. Turning to the assessment of indirect effects,
Preacher and Hayes (2004) recommended using SEM as the latter estimates common and
unique variance separately, thereby providing a reasonable manner in which to control for
measurement error in models such as ours involving latent variables with multiple measured
indicators. As a result, indirect effects, if present, are more likely to be exposed. Note that the

18
approach developed by Sobel (1982) has been incorporated into EQS, which decomposes the
effects and provides the indirect effects with standardized and unstandardized values.
Therefore, using this method, we find that security/privacy (0.27, p < 0.05) and practicity
(0.12, p < 0.05) indirectly impact commitment/satisfaction through trust. Moreover, by
removing the indirect link to trust, complementary SEM analyses point to a significant direct
effect of security/privacy (γ = 0.26, p < 0.05) on commitment/satisfaction. Therefore, in this
case, trust completely mediates the relationship between security/privacy and
commitment/satisfaction. However, contrary to expectations, design/aesthetics of the mobile
interface exercise no impact on relationship quality in the banking industry (practicity p >
0.10), refuting H4. This result is further discussed in the next section. The model explains
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30% of the variance in trust towards financial institutions and 63% respecting
commitment/satisfaction. Overall results are presented in Figure 2.

<Please insert Figure 2 approximately here>

Discussion and conclusion

Study findings have important implications from the dual standpoint of theory and practice.
To our knowledge, ours is the first study to assess the impact of the dimensions of mobile
banking service quality (e.g. security/privacy, practicity, design/aesthetics, sociality and
enjoyment) on relationship quality (including commitment) respecting financial institutions,
thereby contributing to bank marketing theory. The research conducted indeed extends
beyond attitudes to technology and adoption of mobile capability (short term goal) and
assesses the impact of mobile service quality on long term relationships. The result is
expanded knowledge on how financial institutions can use this recently integrated channel to
interact more effectively and bond with their customer base. While some studies have focused
on perceived enjoyment respecting mobile adoption in the banking industry (Hanudin et al.,
2012; Chemingui and Iallouna, 2013), the study at hand ranks as one of the very few to
consider the hedonic dimensions (enjoyment and sociality) of service quality in the mobile
banking context and to test the impact of the latter on relationship quality. Given that
consumers use their mobile devices in their quest for efficiency and social benefits (Yang and

19
Kim, 2011), this study shows that utilitarian and hedonic factors are key to and
complementary for developing quality relationships with customers in the banking sector.
Findings provide added measures of understanding how to engage and serve customers on
mobile platforms, and how to use the latter to enhance banking service quality. We
demonstrate that hedonic components must not be neglected in efforts deployed to
satisfy/engage customers, and that functionalities and applications designed to make banking
easier and more productive require a secure environment to promote trust. The following
paragraphs provide more detail on the results of this study, pinpointing findings relating to
each dimension explored and including attendant managerial implications.
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Firstly, it comes as no surprise that trust acts as a powerful determinant of


commitment/satisfaction in the financial services industry. Our findings are highly coherent
with studies which show trust to be a powerful mediator between service quality and
satisfaction or loyalty in instances of each of in-store shopping (Shpëtim, 2012), online
shopping (Al Nasser et al., 2013), online banking (Rajaobelina et al., 2014) and mobile
banking (e-loyalty only according to Roostika, 2011). In addition, Wang and Shan (2013)
point to the existence of an online-to-mobile trust transfer model from one electronic
environment to another. They further substantiate the power of trust to trigger positive
customer perceptions of mobile banking, which undeniably enhance overall levels of initial
trust in mobile banking (p. 115). The foregoing show that given an environment in which
companies increasingly offer omnichannel access to consumers, trust remains a construct of
vital importance, especially for building relationships which transcend channels.

The results of this study also demonstrate the importance of security/privacy for building
trust. Findings in this regard are in keeping with recent mobile industry reports which point to
US consumer concern over mobile data being intercepted and telephones being hacked, lost or
stolen (eMarketer, 2015b). Marketers at financial institutions must take mobile
security/privacy seriously, improve the security of mobile transmissions over both Wi-Fi and
mobile networks, and communicate action instituted to mitigate threats to consumers by
underscoring to the latter that their personal financial information is protected whatever the
mode of transmission. Enhancing customer productivity with practicity (service usefulness
and ease of use) is another characteristic of mobile services which positively impacts trust and

20
should be privileged by financial institutions. The mobile cheque deposit functionality
introduced by banks in 2009 in the US is a good example of an innovative service which
leverages the unique practicity of the mobile platform, using the smart devices’ camera
function to deposit a cheque. Another telling example of a mobile-enabled attribute providing
for enhanced practicity is the Facebook Messenger contact information option. Since March
2015, this function makes it possible to transfer funds from within the mobile application,
thereby using Facebook login details to initiate a secure online transaction (Facebook
Newsroom, 2015). Customized services relying on geofencing functions native to mobile
devices to suggest the location of the nearest branch of a financial institution or to look up
specific banking services have the potential to enhance relationship marketing. It is
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interesting to note, that while practicity and security/privacy do not directly impact
satisfaction/commitment, they do so indirectly via their effect on trust.

Over and above trust, findings point to hedonic dimensions (sociality and enjoyment) as the
primary dimensions of mobile banking service quality to impact commitment/satisfaction.
Results such as these have an important bearing on the development of marketing strategies in
the banking sector, where one might typically be given to believe that consumers are
motivated primarily by utilitarian factors. Stakeholders must not underestimate the importance
of a pleasurable interface and the social benefits derived from interacting with customer
service agents and other consumers on mobile service platforms. Findings presented herein
prove that underestimation in this regard would be wrong, given that mobile consumers value
connectedness with banking representatives, testimonials from other customers and
user-friendly systems, even in the financial services industry. In addition to the possibility of
enjoying direct contact with banking representatives, secure messaging functions could be
incorporated into various mobile applications to ensure push notifications and in-application
messages to educate, welcome new mobile banking services subscribers and spur mobile
engagement (Urban Airship, 2013). Additionally, gamification strategies focusing on fun and
social motivation encourage behaviour that is positive for consumers and profitable for
financial institutions. SaveUp, Goal Card Play and Save and Earn Rewards are each
examples of gamified financial tools and layered technology solutions integrated into
financial institution and/or social media applications and which allow consumers to set
personal financial goals and share the latter with their inner circle of family and friends. In
fact, peer-to-peer (P2P) social saving services such as eSavingsClub represent true

21
expressions of the unique advantages of the mobile channel for offering new, innovative
financial services. Novel service offers of the like illustrate the potential managerial
implications of experiential segmentation at a strategic level, especially for targeting efforts at
millennials whose interest in the newest banking technologies is strong (Harris et al., 2016).

Study findings respecting sociality are also in keeping with those of Nambisan and Watt
(2011) who point out that in online support communities devoted to problem resolution
respecting technology-based products (highly utilitarian situations), sociality and hedonic
performance strongly impact consumer attitudes towards products. However, the fact that
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design/aesthetics is found to exercise no impact on relationship quality comes as a surprise


given the influence of the latter on user loyalty intentions in the context of m-commerce (Cyr
et al., 2006). Findings in this regard could be the result of the responsive design trend which
now extends to mobile website browsing to comply with new mobile-friendly algorithmic
ranking criteria in Google’s search results, and which perfectly adapts any content to all
screen resolutions, regardless of the ever increasing speed at which portable devices continue
to evolve (Flurry Analytics, 2015). Hence design/aesthetics is of lesser importance than other
characteristics of mobile sites or applications (e.g. security, ease of use).

This study bears some limitations which restrict our ability to generalize based on findings but
which provide opportunities for future research. Firstly, sample size (n=375) is modest.
Secondly, the use of a panel is deemed non-probabilistic. While age and gender quotas
unquestionably enhance sample representativeness, the use of an online panel could indicate
that respondents may have been more at ease with mobile and Internet use than average
consumers. Other limitations include the lack of discrimination between satisfaction and
commitment, and conduct in the specific context of the banking industry in Canada. Before
generalizing and applying results to other sectors or other regions of the globe, the study
should be replicated in other countries and in other sectors of the financial services industry
(e.g. insurance, investments). Future studies should also formally test whether results vary in
accordance with key financial sector segmentation variables such as age and gender as they
were found relevant variables in recent mobile banking adoption studies (Laukkanen, 2016;
Harris et al., 2016). Other dimensions of commitment (i.e. calculative) could similarly be
included in future studies given that service quality dimensions may exercise differing impact

22
on this form of commitment. Nonetheless, it is our hope that these findings will spur further
research into the factors impacting customer relationship quality in mobile banking, especially
in light of the current shift towards mobile platforms and the paramount importance of long
term customer relationships in the banking industry.

Acknowledgments :The authors would like to thank the Financial Services Management
Chair for their financial support in funding the data collection.

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Biographies

Dr. Manon Arcand, Ph.D. is a Professor of Marketing at the Université du Québec à Montréal
(UQAM). Her research interest includes omnichannel marketing, online consumer behavior

33
and mobile marketing. Manon Arcand is the corresponding author and can be contacted at :
arcand.manon@uqam.ca

Dr. Sandrine Prom Tep, Ph.D. is a Professor of Marketing at the Université du Québec à
Montréal (UQAM). Her research interest includes online consumer behavior, human-
computer interaction interface design and evaluation and consumer-to-consumer marketing in
online communities.

Dr Isabelle Brun, PhD is an Professor of Marketing at the Université de Moncton. She is also
an Associate Researcher of the Financial Services Management Chair at the UQAM
(www.chaire-msf.uqam.ca). Her research interests are in bank marketing, relationship
marketing, experiential marketing, online consumer marketing and consumer behavior.

Dr Lova Rajaobelina, PhD, is a Professor of Marketing at the Université du Québec


à Montréal (UQAM). He is also an Associate Researcher for the Financial Services
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Management Chair at the same university (www.chaire-msf.uqam.ca). His research interests


are in experiential marketing, bank marketing, hospitality and tourism strategies, relationship
marketing and online consumer marketing.

34
Table 1 : Psychometric properties of the scales

Cronbach Standardized Average


Constructs and items alpha factor variance
loading extracted
α λ ρvca

Commitment/satisfaction 0.94 0.75

- I am very committed to my relationship with 0.92


this financial institution

-The relationship with the financial institution is


something I intend to maintain for a long time 0.91
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- I put the efforts into maintaining this 0.78


relationship for a long time

- Globally, I am very satisfied with my


relationship with this financial institution 0.82

- Doing business with this financial institution 0.89


makes me a very satisfied customer

Trust 0.90 0.84

- This financial institution is really trustworthy 0.92

- This financial institution is very competent in 0.91


its field

Enjoyment 0.96 0.88

- Mobile banking is fun 0.92


- Mobile banking is pleasant 0.94
- Mobile banking is enjoyable 0.94

Design/aesthetics 0.87 0.70

- The design (e.g. colors, font size, graphics, 0.77


animations, etc.) of the mobile application/site
is professional

- The design of the mobile application/site is


0.78
creative
- Overall, the design of the mobile 0.95
application/site is visually appealing

Security/privacy 0.93 0.84

- I think that the personal information that I 0.87


provide on mobile is well protected
0.95
- I think that online transactions carried out on
mobile are secure

- I think that the confidentiality and privacy of


my personal information is assured when I do 0.93
mobile banking
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Sociality 0.83 0.71

- I can chat online with a customer service 0.87


representative of the institution when I need it
on my mobile

- The institution offers relevant customers’


0.81
testimonials on mobile

Practicity 0.92 0.70

-The productivity of my banking activities is 0.78


improved on mobile
0.83
- Banking is convenient on mobile

-The effectiveness of my banking activities is 0.84


enhanced on mobile

-On mobile, it is easy to find what you are 0.84


looking for
0.89
-Overall, mobile banking is very easy to use
Table 2 : Convergent and discriminant validities of the measures (CFA, EQS 6.1)a

Construct 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Commitment / satisfaction(1) 0.75
Trust (2) 0.54 0.84
Enjoyment (3) 0.20 0.07 0.88
Design/aesthetics (4) 0.15 0.14 0.24 0.70
Security/privacy (5) 0.19 0.27 0.16 0.25 0.84
Sociality (6) 0.13 0.04 0.23 0.23 0.09 0.71
Practicity(7) 0.17 0.20 0.30 0.45 0.36 0.22 0.70
a
Average variance extracted appears on the diagonal (in bold) and squared correlation is below the
diagonal
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