Purpose ' The purpose of this paper is to examine the extent to which inertia is distinct from calculative commitment and to extend the knowledge on these constructs in the corporate financial services context in Australia. The study proposes and empirically analyses a research model that considers switching costs as an antecedent to inertia and calculative commitment.Design/methodology/approach ' An e-mail URL-embedded web questionnaire was used to collect data online from responding organisations. The psychometric properties of the measures were analysed using confirmatory factor analysis, and the hypothesised relationships among the latent constructs were estimated using structural equation modelling.Findings ' The variance-extracted test established discriminant validity between inertia and calculative commitment. Switching costs affected both inertia and calculative commitment differently.Research limitations/implications ' The measurement scales should be subjected to further assessment before drawing conclusions on their construct validity. The findings support the contention that inertia occurs from high search and learning costs associated with transaction account products, and that calculative commitment is caused by the existence of sunk costs.Practical implications ' Managers should be cautious in employing barriers as mechanisms for customer retention, because calculatively committed customers might be behaviourally loyal only for as long as it is instrumentally rewarding to be so. However, dissatisfied customers often can become involved in inert buying patterns.Originality/value ' This paper is an important initial step in highlighting the extent to which inertia is distinct from calculative commitment, in addition to providing a measure of inertia.