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While it can have a negative impact on your credit, it is not nearly as bad as a bankruptcy. Understanding the differences between the different settlement options, will let you understand the impact that it may have on your credit.
Debt management is one solution that can be potentially damaging to your credit. Debt management takes over paying your debts. They do not normally try to lower your debts, other than your interest rates. This service takes a monthly fee and takes its own pay as well as pays your debts for you. This service is for those people who have the money to pay, but not the discipline. It does not effect your credit score, because your creditors are still getting paid, but many creditors view it as bad as a bankruptcy. This is because you have shown you do not have the discipline to handle your own finances.