Visa U.S.A. Inc., formerly called Bank Americard and one of the country's two principal bank credit card companies, plans to establish a head-quarters in Northern Virginia for the Eastern half of the U.S. as well as Canada and Latin America.

By the middle of next year, according to a Visa spokesman, the credit card company will be hiring between 60 and 80 persons to staff the new office. A site in the McLean area has been selected. The company declined said Visa's name will not be on the building, apparently for security reasons.

San Francisco-based Visa also said it will locate an international headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland. The officers here and in the Swiss city are part of a program designed to accelerate Visa's growth, according to president Dee W. Hock.

A full computer center will be constructed in McLean to support all credit transactions using Visa cards for half of the country. 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The area center will authorize charges and will be capable of taking over worldwide operations for the credit card firm in the event of computer failure at similar centers in San Mateo, Calif., and Swtizerland.

Worldwide Visa volume in the second quarter of 1977 was a record $4.5 billion, up more than 26 per cent from a year earlier. Hock said he expects this growth rate to increase in the next two or three years.

Visa is owned and operated by more than 9,000 member financial institutions and is accepted at 2.2 million merchant establishments aroundthe globe. The credit card's strength traditionally has been in the West but expanision in the Eastern states helped spur a decision for a new headquarters here, officials said.