Dividend checks continue to get fatter in corporate America, as more companies jack up their distribution rates.

Readers of the Income Investor newsletter can certainly appreciate that kind of thinking. Let's take a closer look at some of the companies that inched their payouts higher this past week.

Let's start with Best Buy (NYSE: BBY). In a pre-emptive strike to appease its shareholders before the struggling consumer electronics giant's annual meeting, the superstore chain beefed up its stock buyback and juiced up its quarterly dividend by 7% to $0.16 a share.

Medtronic (NYSE: MDT) is also sending more money to its investors through repurchases and distribution hikes. The maker of an array of medical equipment is jacking up its quarterly rate by 8% to $0.2425 a share. Shareholders should be used to this by now, since Medtronic has come through with 34 consecutive years of meatier payouts.

IDT (NYSE: IDT) is also on the move. The provider of phone, gas, and electric services is coming through with a 5% uptick in its disbursements. Shareholders will now be receiving $0.23 a share every three months.

Finally, we have Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK) fueling fatter dividend checks. The Fortune 500 utility may be splitting pennies to upgrade its quarterly distributions by 2% to $0.25 a share, but it's still moving in the right direction. 

These stocks join pet supplies retailer PetSmart (Nasdaq: PETM) and water utility American Water Works (NYSE: AWK) in recently bumping their rates higher.

Subscribers to the Income Investor newsletter can appreciate the companies sending more and more money to their investors. The newsletter singles out companies that are committed to growing their distributions with market-thumping results.

Want to see what is being recommended these days? Go ahead and give the newsletter service a shot with a 30-day trial subscription. Who knows? Maybe the next thing that will get hiked will be your interest.

Do higher dividends matter to you? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.

The Motley Fool owns shares of Medtronic and Best Buy. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Best Buy and PetSmart. They also formerly recommended Best Buy. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz pays attention to yield signs. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.