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MODELING PERCEIVED USEFULNESS ON ADOPTING ON LINE BANKING THROUGH THE TAM MODEL IN A CANADIAN BANKING ENVIRONMENT

Jean-Pierre Lévy Mangin1,Normand Bourgault2,Mario Martinez Guerrero3,José Manuel Ortega Egea4
  1. Jean-Pierre Lévy Mangin, Ph.D. Full Professor, Université du Québec en Outaouais, Québec, Canada. Postal Address: 101 rue Saint Jean Bosco, Gatineau (Québec), Canada, J8X 3X7. Email : [email protected] Dr. Jean-Pierre Lévy Mangin is a professor at l’Université du Québec en Outaouais and he teaches in North American and European Universities. He holds two Ph.Ds and is specialized in marketing channels, marketing research, product segmentation, multivariate analysis and structural equation modeling
  2. Normand Bourgault, DBA. Associate Professor, Université du Québec en Outaouais, Québec, Canada. Postal Address: 101 rue Saint Jean Bosco, Gatineau (Québec), Canada, J8X 3X7.
    Email : [email protected] Dr. Normand Bourgault is an associate professor at l’Université du Québec en Outaouais, he is a specialist on marketing modeling and is a special adviser for Québec government on speciality products
  3. Mario Martinez Guerrero, Ph.D. Assistant Professor, Universidad de Almería, Facultad de CCEE. Cajamar, Almeria, Spain. Postal Address: Ctra, Sacramento s/n. La Cañada de San Urbano. 04120 Almería. Spain. Email : [email protected], Dr. Martinez Guerrero is an assistant professor at the University of Almería, Spain, he also is a new channel developer manager for Cajamar, a big credit union in Andalusia, Spain. He is a bank specialist and researcher that has extensively used the TAM model
  4. José Manuel Ortega Egea, Ph.D. Associate Professor, Universidad de Almería, Facultad de CCEE. Postal Address: Ctra, Sacramento s/n. La Cañada de San Urbano. 04120 Almería. Spain. Email : [email protected]@ual.es Professor Ortega Egea is an associate professor of marketing at the University of Almería, Spain. He has been actively involved in many investigations on banks and particularly on internet banking
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Abstract

Actually Internet is a powerful device that completes with satisfaction all other traditional channels used by banks. Based on the Technology Acceptance Model this paper focuses on the importance of the impact of two external latent variables ‘Price’ and ‘Convenience’ on the latent variable ‘Perceived Usefulness’ of online banking in a Canadian environment; the model highlights the predictive importance of this model and the accuracy of the results. Based on previous investigations in Spain the results are quite similar for the Canadian on-line banking environment and results explain without any doubt the level of ‘Perceived Usefulness’ in the TAM Model. Conclusions and recommendations are provided for future research.



 

Keywords

Technology Acceptance Model, Internet, on-line banking, ‘Perceived Usefulness’, Structural Equation Modeling, Canadian financial services.

INTRODUCTION

In the last years many important changes in the access of financial services have taken place in Canada; current usage and growth rates in the use of e-banking services (Fox 2005i) suggest that there is a huge potential in the offer of related internet banking services. This situation has been offset by the necessity to reduce costs, increase revenues and sales and improve the quality of service finding new ways of doing business. The online banking allows customers to access information, do many banking operations (except perhaps cashing money) through a telecommunication network without leaving home or business in a complete virtual environment (Lallmahamood, 2007; Mukherjee and Nath, 2003).
The financial services offered by internet banking could include viewing all transactions and all accounts balances in real time, payment of bills, change of money in other currencies, transfers of money, stocks operations, purchase of all kind of insurances, purchase of travel tickets and travel packages, etc.. (Ainin, Lim and Wee, 2005; Gerrard and Cunningham, 2003; Polatoglu and Ekin, 2001). In a virtual environment there are two major factors to take into account when doing business: they are the risk of transactions first and the confidence that customers could give to a virtual address. Customers that do not feel confident about a virtual address will not be loyal and will not make business with the bank even if they are satisfied with it (Lee, Kwon and Schumann, 2005; Gerrard and Cunningham, 2003; Anderson and Srinivasan, 2003).
The purpose of this research is to analyze the adoption of the on-line banking services among Canadians based on the Technology Acceptance Modelii (TAM) (Mathieson, K, 1991; Davis, F, D, 1989) and the influence of the external latent variables ‘Price’ and ‘Convenience’ on the TAM latent dependent variable ‘Perceived Usefulness’. These external latent variables are very important and many authors think they should be added to the TAM Model; as the matter of fact, we will add them as external variables to the core TAM Model and test them in a North American environment, particularly in a Canadian financial environment.

THEORETICAL BACKGROUND

The TAM model latent variables

Ease of Use
The latent variable ‘Ease of Use’ is very important to accepting an information system because it is the basis of a system use (Davis, Bagozzi and Warshaw, 1989). The perceived ‘Ease of Use’ refers to the degree in which the future user thinks that the system use will be free of effort. A difficult system to use will be perceived as less useful by user and probably will be abandoned (Davis, 1989) by the user.
All researches offer evidence of significant effects of ‘Ease of Use’ perception on ‘Intention to Use’ directly or indirectly through ‘Perceived Usefulness’ and ‘Attitude towards Using’ (Venkatesh and Bala, 2008; Wixom and Todd, 2005; Moon and Kim, 2001; Venkatesh and Morris, 2000). ‘Ease of Use is a crucial factor for adopting and using services of banking on line (Gounaris and Koritos, 2008; Amin, 2007; Rigopoulos and Askounis, 2007). See hypothesis H1.
Perceived Usefulness
The TAM model is based on the Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA, Ajzen and Fishbein, 1975; Fishbein and Ajzen, 1980) that seeks explain behaviour and the intention of using a technology as well as factors that influence the user. The behaviour intention is determined by ‘Perceived Usefulness’ influenced by the technology ‘Ease of Use’ and the attitude by using this technology. The ‘Perceived Usefulness’ is defined as the subjective probability that user will increase its productivity using a specific application in its work, this application will help them to do a better and more efficient job (Davis, Bagozzi and Warshaw, 1989).
See hypothesis H1.
Attitude towards Using
This latent variable is defined as the individual feeling towards behaviour objectives and realizations, it is a positive or negative feeling’ evaluation. Nevertheless the bank customer attitude towards new bank technologies has been extensively analysed in many researches because they determine which people are more able to adopt new electronic channels (McKechnie, Winklhofer and Ennew, 2006; Al Sukkar and Hassan, 2005). It has been demonstrated that user attitude has a strong effect, direct and positive, on the real consumer intentions by using a new system or technology (Bobbitt and Dabholkar, 2001; Dishaw and Strong, 1999; Venkatesh and Davis, 1996). In conclusion, customers with a more positive attitude to new technologies will be more motivated to using new bank on line products and its financial services (Guerrero, Egea and Gonzalez, 2007).
See hypothesis H2.
Intention to Use
The Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA) as well as the TAM model says that technology use is determined by the intention to have a particular behaviour, the intention to use a technology. The behaviour to using a technology could be predicted measuring the intention and other factors influencing the user behaviour (Davis, Bagozzi and Warshaw, 1989). In the on-line banking context some authors confirm that there is a significant relation between ‘Intention to Use’ and the real use of banking operations by internet (Walker and Johnson, 2006).
See hypotheses H3 and H4.

The External Latent Variables to the TAM model

Price
Customers seem consider that they could obtain better prices using internet than going to the bank (Karjaluoto, Mattila and Pento, 2002; Sathye, 1999) due to the harsh competition between traditional banks outlets and on-line banking (Roman Gonzalez and Martinez Guerrero, 2004). There is a very stiff competition between bank offers of virtual financial services but that is not the case in Canada where there are only five major banks, all of them displaying on-line banking services as a complement to the services offered at the branch. In Canada, customers are clearly split on saying that on line banking permits them to save on the cost of their traditional financial operations. In other major countries customers are clearly solicited by internet and the prices services are very much competitive.
See hypothesis H5.
Convenience
Many customers think that to do business at the branch takes too much time and efforts (Pikksrainen, Pikksrainen, Karjaluotoy, Pahnila, 2004), the ‘convenience’ is an advantage that customers associate with on-line banking (Karjaluoto, Mattila and Pento, 2002) and appreciated by them (Lee, Kwon and Schumann, 2005; Sarel and Marmorstein, 2003). Canadian customers agree overwhelmingly with this affirmation. See hypothesis H6.

METHODOLOGY

The questionnaire

Data for this research are issued from a questionnaire handed out to a convenience sample of full time students in a Quebecer metropolitan university and received 225 fully useful responses, which include missing data.
The questionnaire is divided in 48 questions directly related to bank operations made by internet and 10 general questions related to gender; age; level of education; social and personal questions; questions directly related to using internet and general questions related to internet and banking services. All respondents are at least 18 years old, have a bank account and make some too many bank operations using internet.
Table 2 shows the four TAM model latent variables ‘Ease of Use’, ‘Perceived Utility’, ‘Attitude towards Use’ and ‘Intention of Use’, three external latent variables used in our model, as well as the observed variables (items) explaining the latent variables all measured on a five points Likert Scale ranging from ‘not agree at all’ to ‘completely agree’. The items or observed variables are just a part from a more extended questionnaire; these items have been directly adapted from the referenced literature and from the authors mentioned in the table 2. We used multi-item scales adapted to the suitability of the research, the instrument was translated into French and a prior confirmatory factor analysis was also performed. Some items were deleted on substantive and statistical grounds (Anderson and Gerbing 1988iii), as the result only 17 items remained but all very significant for p<0.000.
The model is analyzed using Structural Equation Modeling; the original TAM model presents four latent variables, the ‘Perceived Usefulness’ using internet for banking operations, ‘Attitude towards Use’ of internet for banking operations and the ‘Intention of use’. We added two external latent variables ‘Price’, and ‘Convenience’.

VALIDATION OF SCALES

The scales of measure used in this research comply with all psychometric criteria establish in literature; in the TAM model, the latent variable ‘Ease of Use’ has been measured by three items, ‘Perceived Usefulness’ by four items, ‘Attitude towards Use’ by two items and the ‘Intention of Use’ by three items. As stated before, we added two external latent variables or dimensions, ‘Price’ measured by three items, ‘convenience’ represented by two items. Each item has been measured in a five points’ scale ranging from ‘not agree at all’ to ‘completely agree’. The results obtained for the reliability analysis show that all Cronbach’s Alpha for the latent variables are significant and superior to 0,70, like in table 6iv (except for ‘Convenience’).
Before analyzing convergent and discriminant validity we proceeded to perform a confirmatory factor analysis (Table 3) with those latent variables showed in figure 1. We kept only those loadings superior to 0.60 (Hair et al., 1999; Bagozzi and Baumgartner, 1994; Bagozzi and Yi, 1988).
The table 4 shows that the confirmatory factor analysis model responds to the major acceptable criteria. Incremental indices CFI and the IFI are superior to 0.90 and the RMSEA is inferior to 0.09, so the model could be considered as significant (Q19 has been erased because it does not comply with the minimum loading 0.60, the next model fit indices for a re-specified factor model have been computed without this variable).
These tables allow us to confirm that the Critical ratios or Student T tests are very significant for p<0.05 (T > 1.96) and there is a significant convergent validity between the observed and the latent variables of the model.
The next stage will evaluate discriminant validity to identify the specificity of each factor (or latent variable); for this reason correlations between factors should not be superior to the 0.80 value. Correlations between ‘Perceive Usefulness’ (PU) and ‘Attitude towards Using’ (AU) (0.814) and ‘Intention to Use’ (0.841) as well as ‘Attitude towards Using’ (AU) and ‘Intention to Use’ (IU) (0.828) do not respect this criteria. Usually the square root of the extracted average variance (AVE) should be superior to the correlation between latent variables, this makes that the correlation between ‘Attitude towards Using’ (AU) and ‘Intention of Use’ (0.828) should be acceptable because it is inferior to the AVE square root 0.915 (Fornell and Larcker, 1981). In conclusion we can say that there is substantial suspicion of lack of discriminant validity between ‘Perceived Usefulness’ and ‘Intention to Use’ (0.784 versus 0.841) and some between ‘Perceived Usefulness ‘with ‘Attitude towards Using’ (0.784 versus 0.814).
The AVE figures in the table 6 represent the average extracted variance for each latent variable, they are superior to 0.50 which is usually recommended and accepted (Fornell and Larcker, 1981). The reliability and the Cronbach’s alpha are superior to 0.70 (with exception of ‘Convenience’ which has a very low loading for Q19, this variable has been suppressed) which means that the instrument is reliable.
Traditional criteria were used to analyze measurement reliability and validity, Cronbach’s alpha values (with the exception of ‘Convenience’) and Average Variance Extracted measures provided evidence of reliability measurement (Fornell and Larcker 1981; Nunnally and Bernstein, 1994). The results indicate a reasonably good fit between the factor model and the observed data, the main fit indices are significant, (Chi-Square= 150.590, df=90, p<0.000),  the Comparative Fit Index (CFI)= 0.961, the Tucker Lewis Index (TLI)= 0.942 and the RMSEA= 0.063.
In conclusion we can say that once tested, the scales comply with all psychometric properties established in the literature; next we will present the hypothesis the model will have to test.

THE TAM MODEL

Many versions of the TAM model have been used in different settings; here we will adapt the general model for the banking services offered on line. The actual technology seems particularly suitable to the internet operations for banking services (see figure 1). As stated before we added two external latent variables to the traditional TAM Model: ‘Price’ and ‘Convenience’ then, we will test the next set of hypothesis:
Hypothesis related to the TAM Model
H1. There is a significant positive relationship between the ‘Ease of Use’ and the ‘Perceived Usefulness’ of banking by internet.
H2. There is a significant positive relationship between the ‘Perceived Usefulness’ and ‘Attitude towards Using’ banking by internet.
H3. There is a significant positive relationship between the ‘Perceived Usefulness’ and ‘Intention to Use’ banking by internet.
H4. There is a significant positive relationship between ‘Attitude towards Using’ and ‘Intention to Use’ banking by internet.
Hypothesis involving external variables
H5. There is a significant positive relationship between ‘Price’ and ‘Perceived Usefulness’.
H6. There is a significant positive relationship between ‘Convenience’ and ‘Perceived Usefulness’.

Results

The TAM Structural Model
The TAM structural model applied to on-line banking for services offered in Canada are highly significant. Table 7 shows that the Comparative Fit Index of the global model is superior to 0.90 as well as the Incremental Fit Index, the RMSEA is inferior to 0.09 and the confidence interval ranges from 0.069 to 0.09 which is highly acceptable.
The TAM model has also a high predictable capability. All R2 (or explained variances) displayed in Table 8 are superior to 0.50; for the variable ‘Perceived Usefulness’ the prediction strength increases with the introduction of two external variables ‘Price’ and ‘Convenience’; comparing with the TAM basic model, the prediction increases 0.206 for ‘Perceived Usefulness’, and it remains stable with a slight decrease for the two other latent variables.
Regression Weights and Measurement Model
Table 9 shows the standardized estimates for all relationships between latent variables of the structural model as well as loadings for all items on latent variables. All standardized regression weights are significant for p<0.05 (Student T or Critical Ratios are >1.96).

HYPOTHESES TESTING AND DISCUSSION

Table 10 shows the results of hypothesis testing relative to the TAM Model; hypotheses H1, H2, H3 and H4 are accepted and are perfectly significant and all these hypotheses corroborate the nomological structure of the model.
The relation ‘Ease of Use’ to ‘Attitude towards Using’ as well as ‘Ease of Use’ to ’Intention to Use’ have not been added because they are not significant to the model for p<0.05.
Without the direct relation ‘Perceived Usefulness’ to ‘Intention to Use’ the regression weight value between ‘Attitude towards Using’ to ‘intention to Use’ should have been 0.610 (significant for p<0.05) and significantly high in comparison to 0.290 (with the relation ‘Attitude towards Using’ to ‘Intention to Use’).
The TAM Model applied to on-line banking with the two external variables ‘Price’ and ‘Convenience’ applied to ‘Perceived Usefulness’ represents a substantial and significant increase in the model predictability (table 8).
In conclusion, our model integrates all latent variables of the TAM original Model; they are all significant and the TAM Model could easily be applied to analyze the adoption of on line banking on a Canadian environment in North America (Davis, Bagozzi, Warshaw, 1989).
Limitations
This research has some limitations; the first one could be the sample selection, which is made of university students that have a banking account and generally use on line banking and have proven abilities in computer manipulation. These people are very opened to new technologies; they enjoy using them and in majority prefer to have an internet connection with their bank instead to go to the branch to perform some operations. For these reasons they think they control reasonably well on line banking operations over internet. It would be interesting examining if we obtain the same results over on line banking operations with other people than university students.
Management Implications
To attract people and new users to online banking, banks and credit unions should offer a complete selection of financial services based on perceived usefulness and not only with an easy system to manipulate. Banks and credit unions should offer utility completing the financial services in internet at the same level than those they offer at the branch. Banks should differentiate the products they offer from those of competitors’ and this differentiation will not come from technology or products’ complexity but from innovation and creativity. Actually Canadian banks offer some financial products by internet that you can only manage by on-line banking.
A common problem with on-line banking is to lose financial counselling you normally get when going to the bank and for that reason it is important for user-customer to have an easy access to direct help through special phone numbers for customer support, chat opportunity and customer e-mail help and support as well as develop all channels to interaction between bank branch and users.
Banks in Canada are trying to start direct communication with their customers through special e-mail accounts that they give to their customers; some countries are using Facebook or Twitter as communication channels in both directions for sharing news of interest, offering new products, financial counselling and even to manage customer’ complaints. This way of doing things by social networks seems very much appreciated in some European countries.

CONCLUSIONS

The TAM model is strongly supported in a Canadian banking environment (and more specifically in Québec), the influence of the ‘Perceived usefulness’ on ‘Attitude towards using’ is very strong as well as the ‘Attitude towards using’ on the ‘Intention of use’ banking on line.
Our findings have significant meaning to encourage Canadian people to use internet for making all their personal banking operations in a secure, easy and self efficacy way. All Canadian banks or Credit Unions operating in all provinces should be encouraged to continue investing and developing services offered in the net (particularly for people that do not have an easy access to a branch) and complete the financial services offered by e-mails, telephone, internet, on line help, chats and all means that will permit and accelerate communication.
We would like also notify that the social networks as Facebook or Twitter are extensively used in other countries to inform customers, to chat with bank representatives or to lodge a formal complaint, this avenue should be explored by Canadian financial institutions to improve communication with customers.
In conclusion to attract customers, banks should develop usefulness completing financial products’ offer on internet at a very close level they offer at the branch. This is good for the customer and for controlling bank costs (Wang, Wang, Lin and Tang, 2003).

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank the UQO Professor Pierre Collerette for his valuable advice on this subject.

APPENDIX A – SURVEY INSTRUMENT- (in French as handed out)

QUESTIONNAIRE

Bonjour,
Le but de ce questionnaire est de connaître votre utilisation des services bancaires par Internet offerts par les banques, les caisses d’économie comme Desjardins et les autres institutions financières, que vous soyez usager ou non. Ce questionnaire est confidentiel. Nous vous présentons une série d’affirmations pour lesquelles vous exprimez votre niveau d’accord ou de désaccord sur une échelle de 1 à 5 où le chiffre 1 représente l’assertion complètement en désaccord et le chiffre 5 complètement d’accord.
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Voici des questions d’ordre général. Le questionnaire est anonyme et confidentiel. S’il y a des questions auxquelles vous ne souhaitez pas répondre, n’écrivez rien..
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Tables at a glance

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Table 1 Table 2 Table 3 Table 4 Table 5
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Table 6 Table 7 Table 8 Table 9 Table 10

Figures at a glance

Figure 1 Figure 2
Figure 1 Figure 2

References