Telstra Corporation Ltd (ASX: TLS) is famous for its dividends. With market dominance, defensive demand for its services and a reliable income, investors have counted it a valuable part of their portfolio for over a decade.

However, its 5.5% fully franked dividend certainly isn’t the be-all and end-all, with a number of ASX-listed businesses offering bigger yields.

G8 Education Ltd (ASX: GEM) is a childcare centre operator that benefits both from reliable demand in a world where both parents often work, as well as from certain government subsidies. The industry isn’t going anywhere, and as shares are still a way off their historical highs they pay a relatively high yield of 6.3%, fully franked.

Better yet, the dividend cheques come quarterly and the company’s earnings comfortably cover the cost of operations and dividends, with some left over. There were hints of ‘same-centre’ growth in occupancy at the latest report, meaning G8’s financial situation and dividends may even improve.

Thorn Group Ltd‘s (ASX: TGA) whopping 9.5% dividend is a function of its beaten-up share price, as a result of a recent closure and write-down of underperforming businesses, combined with investor nervousness over a regulatory investigation into the business. The closing of underperforming businesses will allow Thorn to redirect capital and staff into higher-returning segments, which should be a net positive.

A higher risk investment than G8 or Telstra, Thorn grew its cash profits last year and makes enough money to cover its expenses and dividend payments with some leftover, and if it can continue to grow its core rental business investors could expect higher profits and dividends over time.

Alternatively, those wanting the high yield with less regulatory risk could take a look at FlexiGroup Limited (ASX: FXL) whose share price is also pretty beaten up, yielding 8.2% fully franked. Flexi’s struggling share price comes from investor worries over a closure of underperforming businesses as well as an increase in impairments. As I wrote here, FlexiGroup looks cheap even if we assume the business is going nowhere, but it’s not suitable for investors without a tolerance for risk.

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Motley Fool contributor Sean O'Neill owns shares of G8 Education Limited and Thorn Group Limited. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. 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. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.