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Square is using its trove of payment data to build an engine for making local recommendations, a move that could upend the conventional wisdom about luring customers through their mobile devices.

The recommendation engine, which is already at work in the commerce startup’s merchant directory, will someday suggest places to visit based on a customer’s previous purchase history.

If the feature proves successful, it could cause companies like Facebook, Foursquare, and Yelp to rethink the value of check-ins as the currency that powers local recommendations.