We study numerically the nonlinear interactions between chemical reaction and convective fingering in a diffusive boundary layer in a porous medium. The reaction enhances stability by consuming a solute that is unstably distributed in a gravitational field. We show that chemical reaction profoundly changes the dynamics of the system, by introducing a steady state, shortening the evolution time, and altering the spatial patterns of velocity and concentration of solute. In the presence of weak reaction, finger growth and merger occur effectively, driving strong convective currents in a thick layer of solute. However, as the reaction becomes stronger, finger growth is inhibited, tip-splitting is enhanced and the layer of solute becomes much thinner. Convection enhances the mass flux of solute consumed by reaction in the boundary layer but has a diminishing effect as reaction strength increases. This nonlinear behavior has striking differences to the density fingering of traveling reaction fronts, for which stronger chemical kinetics result in more effective finger merger owing to an increase in the speed of the front. In a boundary layer, a strong stabilizing effect of reaction can maintain a long-term state of convection in isolated fingers of wavelength comparable to that at onset of instability.