A Sinn Féin Private Member's motion seeking to impose a cap of 40% on the interest rates charged by licensed money lenders has been defeated in the Dáil by 88 votes to 48.
Sinn Féin TD Sean Crowe criticised the Government for failing to support its bill on consumer credit.
He said it was bizarre to claim that supporting the motion would promote illegal money lending.
Minister for Finance Michael Noonan said the Government was well aware of the financial circumstances of people who have to use money lending services.
He said the interest rate they charged had to be kept under review.
Mr Noonan said the Central Bank would be best placed to provide greater transparency on interest rates.