Here are 2 top ASX 200 shares I'd buy now for passive income

These ASX 200 stocks sit at the top of my passive income play list.

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When it comes to reliable passive income, Aussie investors have a large field of quality dividend stocks to choose from.

In narrowing the field down to just two, I've limited myself to S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) dividend stocks.

That's because the bigger companies tend to have less volatile share price moves. And their dividend payouts tend to be more reliable than some of their smaller peers.

I've also drilled down to ASX 200 companies that pay fully franked dividends. This should see me holding onto more of my passive income at tax time. In the long term, those franking credits can make a particularly big difference in retirement.

And while two stocks aren't enough to offer proper diversification, I do want to ensure that both ASX 200 shares I'd buy now for passive income operate in distinctly different markets.

Finally, I need to keep in mind that future yields may be higher or lower than past yields, depending on a range of company-specific and macroeconomic factors.

With that out of the way…

Two ASX 200 stocks for outsized passive income

The first company I'd buy now for passive income is ASX 200 mining stock Fortescue Metals Group Ltd (ASX: FMG).

Fortescue enjoyed a strong first half of FY 2024.

For the six months ending 31 December, the company reported a 41% year on year increase in net profit after tax (NPAT) to US$3.3 billion.

In light of the profit surge, management boosted the interim dividend by 44% from the prior year to $1.08 per share. Eligible investors will have received that payout on 27 March.

Fortescue also paid a final dividend of $1.00 per share on 28 September.

That brings the full year's passive income payout from the ASX 200 miner to $2.08 per share.

At Friday's closing price of $26.21 a share, this dividend gem trades on a fully franked trailing yield of 7.9%.

Which brings us to the second company I'd buy now for outsized passive income, ASX 200 bank share Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC).

Westpac reported its half-year results this past week.

Despite the big four bank's net profit before one-offs declining 8% year on year to $3.51 billion, management declared an interim dividend of 75 cents per share as well as a 15 cents per share special dividend, both fully franked.

At 90 cents per share, that's up almost 29% from last year's interim dividend. This is the kind of growth I like to see. It's too late to snag that payout, but investors who owned shares at market close on Tuesday 7 May, can expect to be paid on 25 June.

Westpac shares also delivered a final dividend of 72 cents a share, paid on 19 December.

That brings the bank's full-year passive income payout to $1.62 a share.

At Friday's closing price of $26.66, Westpac shares trade on a fully franked trailing yield of 5.5%.

Motley Fool contributor Bernd Struben has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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