Saatchis, which has held the business in the European Union for the past 12 years, was handed the UK account without a formal pitch. It has been briefed to create a through-the-line campaign, to break in the autumn.
The move, which is part of a three-year commitment to the brand in the UK, will see Visa advertised nationally for the first time.
In September 2000, Visa ran a test-market TV ad campaign in the Granada region as part of a research programme. Created by Saatchis, the campaign used the strapline: "Whatever the future holds, the future takes Visa." Ads showed people using futuristic payment methods to portray the brand as something more than a credit card.
The "future takes Visa" positioning was also rolled out across 14 European markets.
In 2002, Saatchis was tasked with creating Visa's pan-European interactive strategy.
The Visa business is divided into two parts and Grey won the Visa International account in February 2003. This includes the central and eastern European regions as well as the Middle East and Africa.
Media planning and buying for the whole account is handled by Mediaedge:cia.
No-one from Visa or Saatchis was available for comment as Campaign went to press.