British cooperative loyalty scheme Nectar, which claims twelve million cardholders - accounting for just under half of all UK homes - is to lose one of its anchor sponsors, Barclaycard.

To fill the void, Nectar plans a September launch for its new joint venture with US financial services giant American Express: a Nectar-branded Amex credit card.

Word from within the Nectar bunker is that Barclaycard will withdraw from the scheme at the end of August. A spokesman for the bank said its exit was prompted by a customer review and claimed to be unaware of the upcoming Amex project.

Nectar, conceived by Air Miles founder Keith Mills, is an electronic points collection card backed by a number of major retailers and services.

These include the UK's number three supermarket business J Sainsbury, department store chain Debenhams, the petrol retailing arm of BP, travel agency eBookers and Hertz car rental.

Data sourced from Financial Times Online; additional content by WARC staff