UK payments app Zapp announced partnerships with leading retailers, including supermarkets Sainsbury’s and Asda, claiming a record level of support for a new payment method in the UK.

It plans a commercial launch “in the front half of 2015”.

Zapp, which is part of the VocaLink payment system, is working with banks, as well as retailers, on pilots ahead of next year’s full launch.

It lists first direct, Nationwide, Santander and Metro Bank as having agreed to integrate  Zapp into their own banking apps. However, this is the same list of banks it announced at the start of 2014 and does not include such leading names as Barclays, Lloyds Banking Group and Royal Bank of Scotland.

These no-shows are among the 18 banks and building societies that own VocaLink. Many have their own strategies for mobile payments.

And the proposed 1H 2015 launch date is actually a slippage from the previously announced target of between September and October this year.

However, Zapp has gained more ground among UK retailers. In addition to Sainsbury’s and Asda, other partners include House of Fraser and Shop Direct.

Other partners include Thomas Cook, Clarks, Dune Thomas Cook, Clarks, Dune, Spar, Best Western, Starstock, QD Stores, Anglian Water, Bristol & Wessex Water, Sutton and East Surrey Water.

“This is the largest retailer support for a new payment method ever announced in the UK”, Zapp’s announcement trumpeted.

Zapp’s app will enable consumers to make both offline and online payments via their handsets.