Do you take the time to read the small print, or you do throw caution to the wind and hope for the best? 

Two thirds of Brits (66%) admit they don’t always read contracts – or have never read a contract – before they sign on the dotted line. 

That’s despite 87% of people claiming to be naturally suspicious and 91% believing things aren’t always as they seem. 

A survey by Nationwide has revealed that credit cards are the financial product most likely to be taken out without checking the terms and conditions.

But it’s not just financial small print people can’t be bothered to read – 51% have tried to use electronic devices and 24% have attempted to put flat-pack furniture together without reading the instructions.

One in five (22%) have even managed to ruin dinner after not taking note of cooking instructions.

It’s one thing to incinerate a microwave meal by ignoring the instructions, quite another to be blindsided by a fee or penalty

John Crossley, head of credit cards and personal loans, Nationwide
An atom of type quote lives here

Nationwide’s survey of 2,000 UK adults was aimed at getting a better understanding of how people make decisions and follows changes made by the building society to make its credit cards easier to understand.

According to the poll, 18% of people have taken out a credit card without looking at the contract while 17% have done the same with a mobile phone contract.

Only 6% have joined a gym without going through the paperwork.

A quarter Brits have tried putting flat-pack furniture together without looking at the instructions. Image by Monkey Business Images/

All of this carelessness has consequences, though, and a quarter of Brits (25%) have regretted signing a contract immediately after doing so.

More than a fifth (22%) have had to pay a fee for exceeding the limit on their credit card and 19% say they simply don’t understand the fees and charges associated with a product.

John Crossley, Nationwide’s head of credit cards and personal loans, said: “The research shows that many of us fail to take the time to understand our action before we make commitments.

“It’s one thing to incinerate a microwave meal by ignoring the instructions, quite another to be blindsided by a fee or penalty. We would always urge people to check any paperwork carefully or ask questions if at all unsure.

“We would like to see the industry also begin stripping away some of the complex and vague rules surrounding credit cards.

“Not simplifying the way they are structured will continue to confuse and irritate people in equal measure. This would send a reassuring message that the interests of the customer are being put at the front of the queue.”