Carrying a wallet full of credit and debit cards may soon be unnecessary if you'd rather use a handheld computer.

The Infrared Data Association (IrDA) has successfully completed an authorised transaction using an infrared messaging system.

The project is being done by IrDA's Special Interest Group for Financial Messaging (IrFM), which is working on an Infrared Financial Messaging protocol.

The technology uses existing equipment and connections to send infrared payment messages and existing network infrastructure to clear and settle transactions. It supports credit cards or deposit accounts to make payments.

Digital transactions are simpler for both the customer and the merchant, according to IrDA representatives. Instead of writing out a paper cheque or using a plastic card, you'll beam the instructions from your personal information manager, which will hasten the transaction process, IrDA says.