Dividends can be paid monthly, quarterly, semiannually or annually. Most companies that pay dividends pay them out quarterly. Dividends are paid on the dividend pay date. You can find out what the dividend pay date is by going to Yahoo Finance and searching for any stock, then scroll down a little and on the right under key statistics and you will see the dividend date. That is the date you will receive payment.
So how do you actually receive the dividend payment? Well that part is easy. If you have a online stock trading account (I recommend TradeKing.com.) the dividend will be automatically deposited into your account. You don’t have to do anything, its all taken care of as long as you owned the shares on the day before the ex-dividend date. The ex-dividend date is also published in yahoo finance right under the dividend date.
That’s really all there is to it. If you own a stock that pays dividends the dividends will be automatically deposited into your trading account. You can look into your account history to see that they were deposited.