Your creditors will not settle with you unless you are late with payments. On time payment history is roughly 30% of how your credit score is factored. This has a major impact on your credit score. If you are already late with payments, your credit is already impaired. Settling the account can then help your credit heal and your score recover.
Many of us will have lower credit scores even if we are current. This is often because we are utilizing too much of our credit limits. Another roughly 30% of your credit score is factored on utilization. Settling debt, for many, will bring your debt to income in line faster, and improve your loan and credit options over a relatively shorter time.