Top Alternatives

If you are looking to scale your SaaS product's native integration roadmap, this article will stack Merge up against its top 5 alternatives in both the unified API and embedded iPaaS space.

Brian Yam
Head of Marketing


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Top 5 Merge Alternatives for Native Integrations

Are you looking for Merge alternatives that can help you scale your SaaS product’s native integration roadmap? If so, you’re in the right place.

Unified APIs like Merge have emerged to tackle the challenge of a never-ending integration roadmap, but they are a secondary take to solving this long-standing problem. To ensure you’re equipped to pick the best solution for accelerating integration development, we’ll explore not only the top Merge alternatives in the unified APIs space, but we have also included worthy Merge alternatives in the embedded iPaaS category.

Let’s get right into it. 


  • Merge is a unified API platform that offers unified APIs across 5 different verticals (HRIS, ATS, Ticketing, CRM, and Accounting).

  • Unified APIs save developers time by enabling them to define integration logic once and have it scale across all 3rd party services supported by the unified API. This works for extremely simple and generic integration use cases, but leads to many limitations if your customers need deeper integration logic or bespoke integration features.

  • Merge supports numerous integrations within their five unified APIs, as well as managed authentication, but beyond the inherited limitations of unified APIs, their solution does come with certain drawbacks around security and a lack of infrastructure.

  • Apideck is the top Merge alternative in the unified API space, with nine supported verticals (Accounting, ATS, CRM, Ecommerce, File Storage, HRIS, Issue Tracking, POS, and SMS) but far fewer integrations supported per vertical. 

  • is the second Merge alternative in the unified space, with seven categories supported (HRIS, ATS, Ticketing, Marketing, CRM, Enrichment, and Call Center)

  • Embedded iPaaS solutions provide 1:1 abstractions of 3rd party APIs that enable you to build much deeper integration functionality, amongst many other infrastructure benefits and tooling that streamline the integration development process.

  • Paragon is the best Merge alternative in the embedded iPaaS category, enabling a fully white-labeled and native end-user experience, provides a load-tested infrastructure and robust error-handling and monitoring, as well as a highly extensible workflow builder with connectors for over 90 integrations in more than a dozen categories.

  • Tray Embedded is an embedded iPaaS with hundreds of pre-built connectors, but the developer experience is handcuffed by Tray’s core product, which is an internal automation solution used by operations teams.

  • Cyclr is the oldest embedded iPaaS platform on the market and maintains a large number of pre-built connectors and useful product features, albeit with a clunky UI. 

What is

Founded in 2020, Merge is a unified API platform that aims to make building and scaling B2B SaaS integrations as straightforward as possible.

The pitch is that developers can integrate once with Merge’s API and gain access to over 150 different integrations. In theory, this would save developers from having to build the same integration logic multiple times for each third-party application in a given vertical.

Merge offers unified APIs in 5 different verticals:

  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

  • Human Resource Information Systems (HRIS)

  • Application Tracking Systems (ATS)

  • Accounting

  • Task Management

  • Marketing Automation - beta

Before we get into the comparisons, let’s first cover the inherent benefits and drawbacks of unified APIs as a solution class, all of which applies to Merge and its alternatives in the unified API space.

Benefits and drawbacks of unified APIs

If you’re looking to accelerate your integration roadmap, working with a unified API platform like Merge is just one solution of many. Like any of the options on the market, unified APIs come with both pros and cons. Let’s first talk about the solution approach before we get into the specifics of Merge as a vendor.


Building a native integration fully in-house is both time-consuming and technically demanding. One component of this process is that your engineers will need to spend weeks combing through API documentation in order to learn how to push or pull the data they need between your application and each platform you need to integrate with. 

The main advantage of a unified API is that it removes the need to learn the specifics of dozens of unique APIs. Instead, you only need to learn how to interact with a single unified API for any given category and build out the integration logic once.

The unified API will then communicate with all its supported APIs, and the vendor behind the unified API will maintain those integrations over time.


Inherently, unified APIs can only accommodate the lowest common denominator of objects and endpoints across a group of APIs in order to provide a generalized data model across those services, which creates an inverse relationship between the number of supported integrations and the possible coverage that the unified API can provide.

This means that a unified API cannot reference any unique entities a specific service may have, as features unique to a platform cannot be generalized across the rest of the integrations.

Here are a few examples of scenarios where a unified API is unable to support the use case or creates severe limitations in what can be achieved, across both API coverage and other factors such as rate limits and required fields:

  • One app in the unified API has an object or field that the others don’t, such as Salesforce having lead/contact objects that behave differently than the single contact objects of other CRMs like HubSpot. 

  • One app in the unified API requires specific fields that the others don’t. An example here is that Salesforce requires you to enter Last Name, Company and Lead Status to create a new lead, while HubSpot does not. 

  • One app in the unified API has a single field that corresponds to multiple fields in other apps. The classic example here is when one app requires you to enter First Name and Last Name as two different fields, whereas another just has one field for Name. 

  • Two apps might have features that do the same thing, but in a way that’s irreconcilable. For instance, you cannot reconcile an applicant tracking system app that rates candidates with a score between 1-10 with another one that has a Yes/No system coupled with comments.

  • If one app’s API has a significantly higher rate limit than another, what do you do if you need to make more requests per hour than is allowed by the app with the lower rate limit? In this situation, it’s not possible to update both apps concurrently. 

  • Not all apps provide the same methods for updating objects and fields. For instance, sometimes one app might support specific webhooks while others do not.

  • If a use case requires field mapping to custom fields in your customers’ apps, that cannot be supported.

While this is just a high level overview of unified APIs, you can find a more in-depth analysis of unified APIs and the considerations you need to be aware of before working with one here.

Merge’s strengths and weaknesses

Before we explore some alternatives to Merge, let’s first examine its strengths and weaknesses compared to the other integration solutions on the market.



Merge’s biggest strength is the sheer range of individual APIs that they integrate with for each of the six unified APIs that they offer. The company now offers connections to nearly 150 third-party apps, with more being added as time goes on. So while they currently only have five unified APIs, amongst all other unified API solutions in this list, they provide the best coverage for each of the five categories.


Unlike some of the other solutions in this article, Merge also offers fully managed authentication for each of the supported integrations. This is crucial as supporting OAuth based authentication requires you to build the mechanisms for requesting access and refresh tokens, and each integration may have specific expiry rules that you need to account for.


Merge supports pagination across all requests, which is advantageous when compared to building in-house, but also a benefit that most other solutions in this article provide.


Unfortunately, all the limitations of unified APIs that we identified earlier apply to Merge - as such, it’s a viable solution if you want to build a very surface level integration to a group of apps in the same category. For anything more specific to any particular integration, the unified model is simply too reductive.

Vertical limitations

The integrations that you can build on Merge are strictly limited to the 5 verticals for which Merge provides unified APIs. If your software needs an integration that’s not in one of those verticals, you’ll have to work with a Merge alternative or build that integration in-house.

Additionally, if you have an integration on your roadmap that does not fit within one of their unified API verticals, it won’t be remotely supported in the near term as they would need sufficient demand for the entire category to justify building a new unified API.

This is a challenge all unified API solutions face, but not necessarily the case for embedded iPaaS solutions which we’ll highlight further down.

End-user experience

Assuming that you can build an integration with Merge that is suitably customized to your customers’ unique needs, that integration will still have Merge branding on.

Additionally, given that there are no tools available that can provide visibility into integration activity to anyone outside of your engineering team, any support requests around integrations will need to be triaged to engineering. This will result in longer incidence response times and wasted engineering resources when integration errors are caused by non-technical issues such as having to re-authenticate or update integration configurations.

Lack of support for bespoke use cases

Merge does not provide a way to build bespoke integration features for specific users, due to the nature of the unified model, which is meant to be 1:many. This limitation is less than ideal, especially for certain categories such as HRIS where end-users may have very different requirements. Here are a few reviews that show why this may be less than ideal.


Merge requests all scopes for its integrations instead of the least privileged set of them upon authenticating your users, which can be a security concern as your customers will not want you to have access to data that is unnecessary for enabling the integration.

Additionally, for certain integrations, they do not require you to supply your own client ID/secret. While this may seem convenient, it presents a significant security risk because if Merge’s supplied client secret ever gets leaked, all your customers’ integration data will be at risk.

Lack of infrastructure

Ultimately, Merge only provides an API. You will be tasked with building an integration infrastructure that can handle the request volume you need to support as you scale the number of integrations you support and the number of users you have. This will require you to solve hard engineering challenges such as:

  • Supporting high concurrency in a high availability runtime

  • Designing robust error-handling mechanisms

  • Auto-scaling resources as needed


While Merge provides the largest integration catalog amongst in the unified APIs space, it is inherently limited by the unified construct as well as its focus on only five categories of integrations. Let’s dive into some alternatives you should consider.

Merge Alternative #1 - Apideck

Apideck is a viable Merge alternative in the unified API category, and they are the second to market in the category. Currently, the unified APIs they offer are:

  • Accounting

  • CRM

  • File Storage

  • HRIS

  • ATS

  • Ecommerce

  • Issue Tracking

  • POS

  • SMS

If the integration you need falls within one of their unified API categories that Merge does not offer, then Apideck would have a clear advantage in your evaluation of potential integration solutions.

Let’s take a look at their various features.

Integration marketplace product

In contrast to other solutions in this list, Apideck is primarily known for its integration marketplace. Branded as Apideck Ecosystem, this is a portal for displaying integrations on your website, designed to make it easier to manage listings for integrations with third-party developers and other partners.

While this feature did get them big logos such as Gong and Lever, the Apideck Ecosystem is not an in-app integration marketplace, nor a place where you or your customers can build integrations. It’s essentially a marketing/partner portal.

However, in 2022, they began to focus their efforts on their Unified API products - let’s take a look.


Categorical Coverage

Apideck has taken a slightly different approach to Merge when it comes to their integration roadmap. Instead of competing head on with Merge in terms of going deep in each vertical, they’ve focused on building more unified APIs, each with far fewer supported integrations (as few as two).

This shows an openness to accommodating integrations that don’t fit within their existing unified APIs, whereas Merge focuses primarily on their core unified API categories.

However as you can see here, the majority of integrations listed on their catalog are not live, although they do provide users a way to vote for future integrations as a way to get leads.

Managed authentication

Like all other solutions in this article, Apideck provides fully managed authentication for their live integrations. This means you won’t need to worry about storing API keys and handling token refresh.

Onboarding Experience

APIDeck provides a great onboarding experience that walks new users through building their first integration, which can be helpful given the complexity of the various components of their application.


Unfortunately, Apideck suffers from all the limitations that Merge and other unified APIs do in terms of use case limitations.

Beyond the API coverage limitations that are inherent with unified APIs, Apideck doesn’t support dynamic or custom objects/fields mapping, and simply doesn’t provide a sufficiently expansive catalog of integrations.


If you are looking solely in the unified API space, Apideck is a solid competitor to Merge. What it primarily comes down to is what your integration roadmap looks like, and who you believe is better equipped to support the integrations you need in their roadmap.

Merge Alternative #2 - is another unified API competitor to Merge.


Category Coverage offers over 100 integrations across 7 different categories, which is just slightly above what Merge offers. operates unified APIs covering:

  • CRM software

  • MarTech

  • Ticketing

  • Enrichment

  • Call Center vendors

  • ATS

  • HRIS

In comparison to Merge, they have fewer HRIS integrations, but do provide a critical mass of integration support within each of the remaining categories (with the exception of ticketing).


The reason why can offer more integrations across more categories than its competitors is that the API coverage they support within each integration is even more limited than Merge. For example, they only provide actions for two objects in the HRIS unified API.

Additionally, their categorization of integrations into their various unified APIs are in certain occasions incorrect. For example, QuickBooks is an accounting software, not an HRIS.

This further limits the capabilities of each unified API because the incorrectly categorized integrations will become an even greater limiting factor for the rest of the integrations in the same unified API.

The lack of subject matter expertise in the integrations they are building is evident, and that is one consideration you can’t overlook in your evaluation.

Merge Alternative #3 - Paragon

Paragon is an embedded iPaaS rather than a unified API. It provides all of the integration functionality that Merge does, but with a far greater degree of customization.


Fully managed authentication

Get fully managed authentication for any integration you will ever need to build on Paragon, including custom integrations that are not in our pre-built catalog.

Use case and integration coverage

Unlike Merge, integrations built on Paragon do not have use case limitations. The API abstractions are designed on a 1:1 basis, and Paragon also provides access to every 3rd party API endpoint, even if it is not natively supported. This provides your team the extensibility you can rely on to support any use case your customers may need now and in the future.

Along the same theme, given that Paragon does not operate in a unified framework, any integration you may request can be supported. Whereas Merge limits you to 5 categories and forces you to build integrations outside those categories in-house, Paragon provides 16 categories of integrations (and counting), with new integrations being added every week.

Additionally, Paragon will enable you to build bespoke integration features for specific users or groups of users, which can be critical if you sell into larger orgs with unique use cases and implementation requirements.

Custom Integrations

As hinted above, you can be confident that every integration you will ever need to build can be supported by Paragon. Not only is it possible to make requests for any SaaS integration to be added to the catalog, you can build any integration you need with the custom integration builder.

Not only is this not a feature that is available within the unified API space, Paragon is one of the only embedded iPaaS solutions that provides custom connectors.

Seamless end-user experience

To enable you to provide your customers the best integration auth and configuration experience, Paragon provides an embeddable, white-labeled UI (Connect Portal) with out of the box support for dynamic object/field mapping.

However, if you want to take it a step further and use your own custom CSS to provide a truly seamless experience, Paragon is one of the only solutions that offers a headless implementation as well.

Extensible workflow builder & infrastructure

Paragon provides a highly extensible workflow construct that provides a serialized view of how the integration logic is implemented that even non-technical product managers can understand.

However, while it may appear to be a low-code tool, the product has been designed specifically for engineers, with a focus on providing high concurrency and built in error-handling functionality based on the same principles that tools such as Azure Durable Functions and Temporal have been built on.

Additionally, the engine that is responsible for executing every workflow has been load tested to support over 1 billion requests per month, which means you never have to worry about architecting and maintaining your own integration infrastructure as you scale.


SaaS companies (and their customers) have increasingly tight security requirements nowadays. In most scenarios, Paragon’s cloud offering (SOC II & GDPR certified) is sufficient. However, if you have even more extensive security requirements, such as HIPAA, Paragon provides an on-premise deployment option that can be hosted on your own infrastructure.

Robust monitoring

Building an integration is just the beginning. As you continue to scale your customer base, you will need to have full visibility across all integration activity that occurs. While most vendors on this list provide basic logging, Paragon takes monitoring a step further.

Whether it’s for analytics purposes, or to help you streamline your support process around integrations, Paragon provides a robust suite of monitoring capabilities such as a customer-management dashboard (Connected Users Dashboard) and the ability to stream event data into your existing error-management tools.


Paragon does not currently provide a unified model that allows you to define integration logic once and have it scale across multiple integration in a category. This means that compared to Merge, building multiple integrations in the same category may require more effort (assuming the use case is achievable with Merge). However, this is by design, because this is what’s required to provide the extensibility you need in a long-term solution.

Additionally, Paragon’s pre-built integrations catalog may not provide as many integrations as Merge in specific categories such as HRIS and ATS, given its broader coverage of additional integration categories. That being said, this blocker can be easily addressed by submitting requests for specific integrations that you may need, or through the custom integration builder.


Unless you are confident that every integration you will ever need to build is encompassed within Merge’s unified API categories, and that your integrations will never span beyond extremely generalizable, surface level use cases, an embedded iPaaS solution will be your best bet.

And out of the embedded iPaaS solutions, Paragon provides the best developer experience and will enable you to provide your customers the most seamless integration experience.

Merge Alternative #4 - Cyclr

Cyclr is like Paragon in that it’s an embedded iPaaS, not a unified API. Based in the UK, it was one of the first embedded iPaaS platforms to be released. 


Expansive integration library

Cyclr comes with 400 pre-built connectors to third-party apps, which is more than any other Merge alternative in this article. This means there’s a high chance that you’ll be able to find something that’s relevant to your customers’ unique needs. 

Custom connector

Similar to Paragon’s custom integration builder, Cyclr also provides a way for their users to build custom connectors to third party applications. Again, this is a leg up against Merge and the other unified APIs on the list.

Whitelabeled experience

While Cyclr does not provide a headless implementation for the end-user experience, they do provide a white-labeled, out of the box UI similar to what Merge and Paragon both provide.

All the basics

While Cyclr is one of the cheaper embedded iPaaS solutions (due to reasons we’ll share below), they do cover basic functionality such as custom field mapping that the unified APIs cannot support.


Connector limitations

Cyclr limits users to its pre-built actions for each of the

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