The Government is in a David versus Goliath battle as it attempts to turn people away from payday lenders, a Labour MP has warned.
Chris Evans backed calls to regulate the high-cost credit industry and restrict advertising budgets in an attempt to ensure credit unions flourish.
But the Islwyn MP said the Government's three-year commitment of £38 million to expand the credit union industry was a drop in the ocean compared to the big five payday lenders who are thought to have spent £36.3 million on advertising in one year.
M r Evans also said the characters adopted by payday firms, such as Wonga's "granny puppets", made the firms appear friendly compared to the "scary experience" some people associate with wa lking into a mainstream bank.
Moving a backbench business debate on high-cost credit, Mr Evans told the Commons: " When they find themselves in dire straits and they see the friendly advertising of... the granny puppets from Wonga or the Amigo loans and the friends, they think that's a friendly place to go and they phone up. And they find it so easy.
"And so I welcome the actions of the Government's investigation into the effects of advertising and a year-long study into the market. I also look forward to the Financial Conduct Authority formulating strategy in the autumn.
"However, I have to say the speed of these measures to me and others like me who have campaigned on this issue is absolutely frustrating.
"As this is going on, the short-term loan companies are devoting huge budgets to advertising. The large number of daytime adverts predominantly reaches the old, the young and unemployed.
"As much as I welcome the announcement by the Government in June 2012, the Department of Work and Pensions will proceed with a credit union expansion project and make up to £38 million available to credit unions up to March 2015, it is really just a drop in the ocean."
Mr Evans praised Championship football team Bolton Wanderers for abandoning a kit sponsorship deal with QuickQuid.
He said if football supporters saw the names of payday lenders alongside reputable companies it could legitimise them.
Mr Evans said: "I think the problem I come to, and I think the huge problem I have noticed with payday lenders and short-term loan lenders as well, is the absolute power of advertising.
"And to me I feel sorry, I wouldn't say this very often as an Opposition MP, but I feel sorry for the Government when I see investment like £38 million in credit unions - that is a good thing and should be applauded and I see nothing wrong with doing that - but they really are in a David and Goliath situation.
"Think about it: £38 million for three years while the big five payday lenders have just spent £36.3 million in one year on advertising and that is just going to continue."
He added: "Credit unions rightly receive support from all sides of the Commons. However, f or them to flourish they need the support and help of Government.
"If that means regulating the high-cost credit industry while at the same time restricting advertising budgets as we have done in other industries then so be it."
Labour MP Stella Creasy, who has been a vocal opponent of irresponsible payday lenders, spoke of the nurse whose £100 loan spiralled into debts totalling £17,000 and of a father who has been struggling to stop loans being approved for his son who suffers with mental health problems.
The Walthamstow MP said: "For the average payday lending customer who earns £18,000 a year that means they're paying 6% of their income - their entire annual income - paying off a £300 loan."
Affordability checks among payday lenders were practically non-existent, she said.
"Little wonder that the Office of Fair Trading research shows that few of these companies are doing affordability checks, because affordability doesn't matter once you've got people hooked. It means that you can always get some money from them," said Ms Creasy.
"Who are these people?
"They're the nurse who came to see me, who borrowed £100 because she had a flat tyre on her car. She's ended up paying back £17,000. Thankfully, because her mother got a redundancy settlement, she was able to help her out.
"They're the father whose come to me whose tried to tell QuickQuid multiple times that his son has mental health issues and please not to lend him any more because he can't afford to keep paying the bailiffs who are turning up on his doorstep."
Ms Creasy said "all those practices break the self-regulatory codes that these companies have come up with".
She called for the Government to follow the example of other countries, which have controlled pricing without witnessing the end of the industry. Countries like Japan, Australia and US states including Indiana and Washington, which had introduced total cost capping as opposed to interest rate capping, had lower levels of illegal lending as well as lower rates of personal debt, Ms Creasy said.
Labour's Meg Hillier (Hackney South and Shoreditch) said credit unions need to offer a service that will be competitive with "flash" payday loan companies.
She said: "We need to work with the credit union sector to get them to step up to the mark. If they are going to be competing with people who are going to walk into a flash shop like The Money Shop and get a good quality of service, whatever the issues around the products, then they need to be remembering that people will shop around."
Replying for the Government, Business Minister Jo Swinson said: "I share the concerns that have been raised and Government and regulators are acting.
"Of the 50 top lenders in this market the OFT (Office of Fair Trading) has taken action, 19 of those have left the market already. Three further licences have been revoked.
"The FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) has strong new powers from April and the Competition Commission is investigating but the Commons is right to keep the pressure up and I commend the MPs who have taken time this afternoon to put forward the concerns on behalf of their constituents."