The number of payday loans adverts appearing on television rocketed from 17,000 in 2009 to 243,000 in 2011 and 397,000 in 2012 - a 2,235% increase in three years.
The research, published by telecoms regulator Ofcom, also shows that children aged four to 15 saw a collective three million payday loan TV adverts in 2008, rising to 466 million by 2011 and 596 million in 2012 – 0.7% of all adverts seen by this age group last year.
Ofcom said the average child aged four to 15 saw 70 payday loan adverts in 2012. This corroborates Moneysavingexpert.com research from November 2013 that revealed almost 70% of children under the age of 16 have seen payday loan ads.
The Ofcom research indicates that payday loans firms are placing adverts during children's TV programming. It said children's channels accounted for 3% of payday loans "impacts" (the total number of times an advert is seen by viewers) seen by four to 15-year-olds in 2012.
Moneysavingexpert.com said more than one in three parents with children under 10 claimed their children had been exposed to payday loan advertising to the extent they have repeated advertisement slogans; and 14% of parents have had children under 10 nagging them to use a payday loan after being refused something.
Peter Tutton, head of policy at StepChange Debt Charity, said: “As payday lenders continue to invest in attracting new customers, we continue to see the number of people struggling with payday loans increase.
“If the payday loan industry is serious about addressing the harm done to consumers, then it needs to use its resources to tackle the problem of widespread irresponsible lending that is pitching tens of thousands of people into serious financial hardship.”
Find the best loan for you
In general, payday loans are taking up a greater share of advertising across all TV channels in the UK. In 2008 they accounted for just 0.1% of all advertising spots, rising to 0.7% in 2011 and 1.2% in 2012.
In 2012, payday loans accounted for 7.3% of all finance advertising spots and 90.3% of all advertising relating to personal loans.
Ofcom said that, collectively, adults had seen payday loans ads 12 million times in 2008, rising to 4.2 billion in 2011 and a staggering 7.5 billion in 2012. This means individual adults saw an average of 152 payday loan adverts on TV in 2012.
Ofcom said it will continue to monitor trends in TV advertising for payday lending to inform its understanding of this area; although it said the content of advertising is regulated by the Advertising Standards Authority.