As long as the transaction is processed through the Visa or MasterCard systems (AKA, don't use a PIN for the transaction), the transaction is protected by Visa or MasterCard, just like any other "real" credit card. If you use your PIN during the transaction, is doesn't go through the CC system and it's up to what the government/bank covers.
And these payment system process the transactions as credit card transactions so your protected, I don't think I ever use my debit card as a debit card with the pin number, unless I go to the ATM.
So the protection is just as good as credit cards in the vast majority of cases. A thief is going to try to use it as a credit card instead of trying to guess my pin, and I've never told anyone my pin number.