Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. has decided against rolling out Internet banking software from Security First Technologies Inc., after testing it for 18 months.

The Australian banking company, known as ANZ, will base its Internet offering instead on software from Edify Corp.

The switch is indicative of the intense rivalry between the two software vendors - a rivalry that is spreading internationally.

"ANZ Bank was a significant win for us because of who we replaced," said William Soward, vice president of business development at Edify, which is based in Santa Clara, Calif.

Melbourne-based ANZ expects to complete the switch to Edify and roll out Internet banking later this year.

"It became clear we needed a more customizable, user-friendly platform," said Paul Edwards, an ANZ spokesman.

He said the decision was based on "customer feedback and our experience with the technology gained during the pilot." Nearly 10,000 customers participated.

Mr. Edwards noted more software options are available now than four years ago, when ANZ began discussions with Security First Technologies, based in Atlanta.

ANZ struck up a relationship with Edify and its Australian reseller, Parkers' Edge of Sydney, in November after a review of the pilot's progress.

Mr. Edwards said Edify will let ANZ "deliver better functionality," such as confirming payments, including electronic bills. The system can also link to products such as home loans, he said.

Jeffrey Ayton, senior vice president of global sales at Security First, said ANZ's decision was the reverse of everything he had seen in the United States market.

He said ANZ opted for a "tool kit solution" that would let it customize its Internet banking product in-house, as opposed to licensing software with "a defined set of functionality."

He added, "ANZ made the decision based on where they were and what they wanted to achieve, and that strategy was not closely aligned with ours."

ANZ has a large in-house development shop and a site in India where it develops technologies and modifies them to meet Australian demands and conditions, Mr. Ayton said.

Security First has two other bank customers in the Asia-Pacific region. It discloses only one - Southern Bank in Malaysia.

Both Edify and Security First have been struggling to boost revenues. Edify made a profit of 1 cent a share in the fourth quarter on revenue of $20.6 million.

Edify said 50 of its 100 contracted customers are live with its Electronic Banking System, including Chase Manhattan Bank, Wilmington Trust Co., and Mercantile Bank of St. Louis. ANZ is Edify's largest Internet banking customer in the Asia-Pacific region.

"We're pushing hard on the international level," Mr. Soward said. Countries it has set its sights on are the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and Italy.

Security First said it also has 100 institutions signed for its software, and just under 50 are live. It recorded a loss of $4.6 million, or 39 cents a share, for the fourth quarter on revenues of $9.7 million, and expects to break even by the end of this year.

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