In a recent survey, 69% of small-business owners said they had seen unfavorable changes in their credit card terms over the previous 12 months -- just when more entrepreneurs are turning to plastic to help keep their companies afloat. To avoid a "rate-jacking," experts recommend dealing with smaller, local banks; reading the legalese that comes with your statement; resisting the urge to switch to low teaser rates; and researching your card issuer with the Better Business Bureau.

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